The per-page payout was very grim.
I did look with a lot of interest at the All-Star numbers. I thought that it would require about 3 million page reads to get spot #100. I was wrong.
From a compilation on kboards
KU All-Stars AUTHORS August 2015 *Based on July 2015 Page Reads*
Top 1-10 Author; Pages Read: 14,600,000+
Top 1-10 Author; Pages Read: 12,950,000+
Top 1-10 Author; Pages Read: 8,600,000+
Top 11-20 Author; Pages Read: 7,740,000+
Top 11-20 Author; Pages Read; 7,000,000+
Top 31-50 Author; Pages Read: 4,700,000+
Top 31-50 Author; Pages Read: 4,100,000+
Top 31-50 Author; Pages Read: 3,800,000+'
Top 51-100 Author; Pages Read: 3,100,000+
Top 51-100 Author; Pages Read: 2,745,000+
Top 51-100 Author; Pages Read: 2,100,000+
Top 1-10 Authors; Pages Read: 2,090,000+
Top 1-10 Authors; Pages Read: 1,700,000+
Top 11-20 Authors; Pages Read: 930,000+
Top 31-100 Authors; Pages Read: 603,000+
Top 31-100 Authors; Pages Read: 510,000+
Top 31-100 Authors; Pages Read: 450,000+
Top 31-100 Authors; Pages Read: 400,000+
Top 31-100 Authors; Pages Read: 279,000+
KU All-Stars TITLES August 2015
Top 1-10 Titles; Pages Read: 8,170,000+
Top 1-10 Titles; Pages Read: 4,700,000+
Top 11-50 Titles; Pages Read: 1,713,000+
Top 51-100 Titles; Pages Read: 1,400,000+
Top 51-100 Titles; Pages Read: 1,332,000+
Top 51-100 Titles; Pages Read: 1,276,000+
Top 51-100 Titles; Pages Read: 1,133,000+
Top 11-50 Titles; Pages Read: 670,000+
Top 11-50 Titles; Pages Read: 512,000+
Top 11-50 Titles; Pages Read: 500,000+
Rosalind James, who is exactly the kind of author who is poised to do the best in the new system, reported 4.5 million pages
in July. Not all of her titles were in there for the entire month.
She's said that her 100k (actually ranging between 90k-120k) books clock in around 500 KENP apiece. She has 17 works in KU. Three of them are three-novel box sets. One of them is a 36k novella. 13*500+3*3*500+180 if she's getting 200 words per page = 11,180 KENP
In order to get 4.5 million pages in August, now that everything that she can put in is in, she would need ~402 people to read all of her published works from cover to cover per month.
1) 4500 of her total KENP are repeats of other books available in box sets
2) Romances get completed 62% of the time according to Kobo stats for North America, if we're focusing on the American market. Does the fact that Canadians are included in a Canada-based company (cough, excluding and ignoring the acquisition by Japanese Rakuten) skew the data too much? I don't think so. I mean, we're talking about ballpark figures here.
In Italy, 74 percent of romance novels purchased via Kobo were finished — the best completion rate of any genre across Kobo’s markets — compared with 62 percent in North America and 60 percent in Australia and New Zealand.
3) I am ignoring the idea that people only partially complete stories, because it's impossible to get statistics on that. Amazon has those details, but they are not available to the rest of us.
If those 402 people who read represent 62% of her downloads from KU, then she needs 648 new people to download all of her books per month. That's completely, absolutely, 100% do-able.
You don't build that catalogue overnight. It represents several years of work on her part.
We've also seen the top earners in KU earn a bit less. In May, 56k KU borrows (representing $75,488 in KU borrows without any bonuses) wasn't enough to hit the top 10. Now, someone in the top 10 in the US is making around $50k off of borrows. All the people who had novels where people didn't read past the 10% mark are getting more money now. As soon as readers open your book, you are earning the pitiful per-page amount.
It hasn't cut down on scammers, either. Scammers are just completely taking stories from other people, bundling them, and putting them into KU.
It HAS increased the length of stories in KU, though, which I am sure that they were going for. The top 10 in romance has been hit by several well-established authors popping in the previous 2 novels into their third release's ebook file. It is possible to make an incredible amount of money when your book is in the top 5 total on Amazon, meaning that you are getting 4k borrows and sales per day. That's a lot of money if your file is three 100k novels long.
At the same time, less prominent people who padded their ebook files with their other stories have gotten really nasty reviews from people who hit the 50% mark and discover that the novel is done and the rest is filler. Even when the author has a little note at the end of the first story (Hey, there've been some changes, so I'm including some bonus material), reviewers have been brutal because their expectations have been violated. There were so many angry reviewers when there were very short pieces like Hannah Ford's. Now there are angry reviewers because they are given very long pieces where the story that they thought they were picking up only is half of the total file.
I think that it's hard for Amazon to come up with a policy that's better than the one that they have, though. They wanted longer books, and they got mega-bundled files.