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Amazon General Session



Speaker: Dan Slater, Amazon.

Dan Slater divided his workshop into three major topics: Kindle Today, Kindle Promotional Programs, and Tools to Help Authors Reach Readers.

Beginning with the Kindle Today overview, Mr. Slater mentioned Amazon’s desire to have consumers read on their Kindle, smart phones, other readers, and the free reading app. Customers who purchase a Kindle also purchase 4.62 times more books after that purchase, and they are not all digital. Twenty-seven of the top 100 titles for 2012 were in the Kindle Direct Program (KDP).

Amazon has a new Kindle Singles program which sold 2.5 million units. These include fiction and nonfiction, essays and work that is shorter than novella length. Amazon is experimenting with Kindle Serials.

They have a new Kindle Free-Time program which is a kid-friendly, child safe location so young readers can explore digital reading products. The X-Ray Textbook gives readers the ability to see a cross-section of an entire book on one page. For example a reader could search a specific location in a travel book, see an abridgement of all the pages containing that word and quickly move to any page where they might want to read further. Whispersynch for Voice allows consumers of audio books to save their place from reading device and then move to another device and resume listening at the same place. The Immersion Reading is Amazon’s new international presence in Japan, Italy, France and Spain. These countries are reading English language stories in English, and this market has grown 130% and is still growing. Writers will want to take advantage of this global marketplace when independently publishing.

Slater next spoke about the Kindle Promotional Program (KPP), specifically focusing on the Kindle Daily Deal and the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). The Kindle Daily Deals are Tweeted, emailed to members, and show up on the Amazon homepage. Daily Deal Books sell about 3000 times better than before the Daily Deal listing and then 110 times more the next day. At 30 days out the title still sells more than four times the rate before entry in the Daily Deal. It’s a nice “Halo Effect.” It is units and sales rank. It also boosts the author’s back list.

What are the criteria for getting in? The decision is editorially driven by their sales team. The team looks at the topic and sales while trying to create a mix of genres. Publishers can nominate titles for the Daily Deal, but it is selected by the Amazon sales team. “It is a broad mix,” Slater said. Part of the publishers co-op arrangements goes into this program. Some come from KDP, some from Amazon’s publishing imprints. It is not currently possible for Indie published books to be in Daily Deal.

Slater next spoke about the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). To take advantage of the KOLL, readers must own a Kindle and have a Prime Account at a cost of $79 per year. The KOLL allows readers to borrow one title a month and one title at a time. KDP Members also get free shipping on purchases and access to Amazon’s video library. Mr. Slater’s statistics indicated that Prime Members who borrow a book are more likely to buy other books by that author. Prime Members purchase 30% more books after they try KOLL. Authors are paid a prorated amount for each borrow from a monthly pool. KOLL just launched in November 2011 in the US and October in the UK.

Slater finally spoke on Tools to Help Authors Reach Readers which include their digital publishing programs: Encore (re-release), Crossing (foreign language titles translated to English), Montlake (romance), Thomas & Mercer (mystery), 4 North (science fiction), and Amazon Publishing New York (commercial fiction). Amazon’s CreateSpace provides free tools and professional services to help authors independently publish their digital books. The ACX program allows authors who own their audio rights to convert their print books into audio versions by either paying a flat fee or by entering into a 50-50 split with the recording artist.   

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