Saw a recent post / question about Kindle Unlimited and I thought I’d share some of my own experience.

Kindle Unlimited Explained

Firstly, an explanation of Kindle Unlimited (KU).  Main things worth noting are:

  • readers pay a fixed fee per month to read unlimited number of books in the KU program
  • authors get paid a per page fee.  That per page fee varies depending on the number of pages read and the KU fund.  It used to be $0.0058 per page.  It is now hovering around $0.004 per page.
  • Kindle Unlimited Pages are not equal to ‘published’ pages.  Amazon uses a formula that takes into account a bunch of things so a 200 page book might be a KU 400 page book.
  • Multiple reads of the same book do not count.  Purchases of the same book within the same month do not count.
  • KU is an exclusive program.  If you are enrolled in KU, you cannot publish anywhere else.

The Experiment

I have 2 series right now, both of which have done okay.  The System Apocalypse series is on Kindle Unlimited while the Tales on Brad series is not and thus available on iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Overdrive and more.

I purposely chose to do this so that I could understand the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Word of caution.  Take any of these results with a grain of salt.  There’s significant differences involved here.   Including:

  • A Healer’s Gift was my first book.  LitN might have benefited from loyal readers finding my next book (maybe. Unlikely.)
  • Differences in pricing.  A Healer’s Gift is priced at $3.99.  Life in the North is $4.99
  • aHG is a fantasy setting LitRPG while LitN is a post-apocalypse LitRPG.  So definitely differences in audience that might appeal to.
  • They were released a month apart (June & July respectively)

The Results

Here’s some charts I created based off 1 month’s sales.  I’ll probably do a revised chart in 3 months.


Sales by channel

That’s right. 0 sales from Kobo, 1% of all other sales from iBooks. Amazon dominates my sales here.

2/3 of all books read are from KU

1/3 of my sales are paid. 2/3 are Kindle Unlimited (calculated no. of books based off a full read. Obviously people who don’t read to the end change the numbers but this is the best I can do)

Further notes:

  •  I sold 23% more books for A Healer’s Gift than I did Life in the North.  That’s right – LitN actually had less ‘sold’ books than A Healer’s Gift.
  • Revenue wise, I made slightly less from KU than my paid books for LitN.
  • Due to the increased number of books A Heealer’s Gift sold, I actually made nearly the same as I did (in terms of purchased books) as I did for LitN.


There really isn’t much that you can conclude from so little data.  Here’s some thoughts from me though:

  • Kindle Unlimited is great for visibility on Amazon.  I got more ‘sales’ and visibility on Amazon because of it for LitN than if I didn’t use it I’m sure.
  • If my numbers hold true, then if I loss more than 20% of my potential purchases to KU , I would have made less being on KU than if I just sold the books.   So yes, you get more readers and a large number of them might never have bought your book otherwise.  However, this might not translate to actual loyal fans and better profits.
  • Other channels currently lag behind SIGNIFICANTLY in terms of sales.  I would be interested in seeing the effects once I’ve released more books since I expect part of the reason I see so little flow-through is due to my lack of visibility.   More books = higher visibility.
  • The marginal increase in marketing from being on multiple platforms for a beginner writer at the beginning is minimal.  Again, no clue if it makes a difference in the future.

Personally, I am happy to continue this experiment.  If I was only writing 1 series, I’d stick to KU for the additional exposure on Amazon.  Since I am writing 2 series and I don’t like the idea of being dependent on Amazon only, I’m happy to spread them across both options and increase my exposure.