Since I just wrote about marketing my writing, I thought I'd throw in this article. I know I have a lot of readers who are writers, would like to be, or have the potential to be. This is an issue much discussed among writers in the groups to which I belong.
If you aren't into the various systems Amazon offers, you may not know about this or how it works. Basically all Amazon authors are offered joining this group. As an author, the price you pay, unless you are a very well known author, is to pull all your books out of the other available on-line sellers. Since I have my books in most of the other available sites (Rainy Day Romances), I'd have to delete them and then take the lower fees that Amazon offers through their unlimited reading KU. This was similar to Prime, which I left when I decided it wasn't smart to only have one vendor selling indie books. Sometimes you do things not just to benefit yourself but also for the good of others. This was one of those cases where I looked at how healthy can this be long-term for small writers.
What I have read, and not just in the NY Times article, is that writers have been hurting after this went into place. Whether they offered their books at KU or did not, their sales dropped. The only writers who did not suffer were either very well-known or had a sizable fan base.
It's not hard to see why readers like KU. A book at almost no cost and on demand. Choices that look to be unlimited. After years of finding books for free on Amazon, readers aren't willing to pay for what they read-- or if they pay, not much. Amazon is virtually offering them a library at $120 a year. Of course, they won't get all the books they might like as some won't be in it, but enough are to make it very appealing.
Who it is hurting the most are writers who need to make a living at their work. It would also hurt those writers who believed the hype that they must pay a professional editor to edit their books, pay another professional to create their covers, and then maybe pay a publicist. By the time they did all that, they better sell many thousands of copies. But if there are 3 million books out there (not sure how many are in KU), once again, how likely is that to happen? Anyway it's all part of this Wild West of indie publishing.
There is another option for writers. If they find Amazon sets up their algorithms to make their books look worse than those in KU, they can sell other places (and I do get some sales those other places), or even sell direct. It can be done, but it is more work for the writer. Amazon has been a great system for writers to get their work out to the public without having to force it to match the requirements of corporate publishing houses, which can mean censorship of many sorts.
Even things like this blog though may not always remain free or reasonable in cost. We have seen an explosion of online connection, but there may yet be a cost we have not seen. I think it's both an exciting time to be out there but one with a lot of uncertainty as to the future.