Over a year ago, I got the following email from someone at Amazon explaining that my book, Don’t Reply All, was selected for an Amazon program called “Great on Kindle.”
Although the email stated that “no action is needed on your end to participate,” I actually did have to opt-in by selecting a royalty plan (at the time the email was sent, the program was still in beta, and that changed shortly afterward).
It’s now been over a year since I signed up, and in this post, I explain if Great on Kindle is worth it for authors.
I’ll share with you some detailed information that includes two years’ worth of data (12 months before and after I enrolled), and a breakdown of the numbers.
What is Great on Kindle?
Great on Kindle is a program by Amazon that helps customers find high-quality nonfiction books.
As an author, your book is selected by invite only (and it’s on a book-by-book basis, so not all of your books would qualify).
Some of the benefits include getting a detail page message that identifies the book as “Great on Kindle” (which helps with social proof), and promotional credit offers for customers.
To qualify, your book should meet several requirements (e.g., free of typos, formatting, and quality issues) and should also available for sale on Amazon.com and submitted in certain file types.
You can read more about the program requirements here.
What’s Different About Great on Kindle?
The main difference that I noticed was that the royalty structure of Great on Kindle is different from regular books.
When you publish an ebook on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and want to set the price, you have two main royalty plans: 35% or 70%
Under the 35% royalty plan, your price point should be greater than $9.99 or less than $2.99 (with the lowest price being $0.99).
Uner the 70% royalty plan, your price point should be between $2.99 and $9.99.
So in a way, Amazon wants to persuade you to price your book between $2.99 and $9.99 through their 70% royalty incentive. That’s because, based on their data, that’s apparently a sweet spot for book sales that maximizes profits.
To show you how this looks like, here’s an example from my “Influencing Virtual Teams” book pricing page (this book was not selected for Great on Kindle).
However, my “Don’t Reply All” book, which was selected for Great on Kindle, had a third royalty plan show up on the pricing page.
This plan was set at 50%, and the pricing had to be between $4.99 and $19.99, which is a higher range than that of the 70% royalty plan.
Here’s how it looked like for “Don’t Reply All.”
Clicking on the “What’s This?” drop-down reveals a pop-up that states that “This plan is only available for Great on Kindle eBooks.“
And the only thing I needed to do to enroll in Great on Kindle was to select that 50% royalty plan and enter a price (I entered $4.99).
What happened after Enrolling in Great on Kindle
A few days after I opted in, I noticed a surge in sales. It wasn’t a huge spike, but it was enough to get the book on the Amazon No. 1 Bestseller list.
Note: I’ve discussed how to become an Amazon No. 1 Bestseller in my previous podcast episode (it’s not that hard).
I also noticed a blue “Great on Kindle” banner that showed up on my book’s page. The text underneath stated that if customers buy the book, they get a 10% credit back to spend on their next Great on Kindle book, which is an additional incentive for people to buy.
Here’s how it looked like:
For the next few weeks and months, I didn’t really see a major swing in sales, so it was hard to tell whether it was worth it.
Analyzing the Data
I downloaded all my historical sales from my Amazon KDP dashboard to analyze the data for two years (one year before and one year after I opted in).
Hare a few things you should know before I share the results:
- I enrolled in the Great on Kindle program in mid-March 2019
- For the 12 months prior to March 2019, the price of the book was set at $2.99 (i.e., the minimum price point of the 70% royalty plan)
- For the 12 months after March 2019, the price of the book was set at $4.99 (i.e., the minimum price point of the 50% royalty plan that allowed me to be enrolled in the Great on Kindle program)
- I didn’t include any of the March 2019 sales in the analysis to avoid skewing the results.
I also didn’t do any special marketing events or spend money on ads that generated any additional sales.
Results for “Don’t Reply All”
Here’s a table that shows you the results of 12 months of sales before and 12 months of sales after I enrolled my Don’t Reply All book in the Great on Kindle program:
- KENP = Kindle Edition Normalized Pages, which is the number of pages read through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library programs
- US Royalties include all royalties (including paperback, ebook, and KENP) from the Amazon.com website in USD
- International Royalties include all royalties (including paperback, ebook, and KENP) from all other Amazon sites (e.g., Amazon India, UK, etc.). The currency exchange rates obviously changed over those months, but only one exchange rate per currency was used for simplicity.
Here are the takeaways:
- All numbers increased as a result of the Great on Kindle program except for the number of ebook units sold. That actually decreased by 13%, probably because of the fact that the price of the book increased from $2.99 to $4.99. Although readers earned a 10% credit to buy at the higher price point, that apparently wasn’t much of an incentive.
- What’s interesting is that the number of paperback units sold increased by 59%, even though the Great on Kindle program is geared toward the ebook version and not the paperback one (the price of the paperback version did not change during those two years).
- Even though my royalty cut decreased (from 70% to 50%), enrolling in the program resulted in a net increase of 43% in total royalties.
Conclusion: Is Great on Kindle worth it for authors?
The short answer is yes.
The net result is that I made an additional $1,590 in the year since I enrolled in the program (a 43% increase in royalties), so I will continue to be enrolled in it.
However, if your focus is exclusively on sales (and not profits/ royalties), and you want to maximize the number of ebook units sold, then this might not be for you based on the data.
My next step is to increase the price of the kindle version of Don’t Reply All from $4.99 to $6.99 (at the 50% royalty plan) to see how that might affect sales and net royalties.
Stay tuned for more!