Background: This. Tl;dr, Amazon changed the payment algorithm behind Kindle Unlimited, such that it now pays authors $0.006, i.e. a bit less than half a cent, per page read. There’s a bunch of angst going around about whether this is “fair” or not–and to whom–to which I will refer you to the linked TechCrunch article.

Thought #1: Pro rates for short stories are $0.06 per word. The average novel page has about 250-300 words. That means about $15-18 per page. So, Amazon is paying authors of short fiction in KU roughly 0.0004% of what they’d be getting from a conventional paid market.

In other words, an author’s short story needs to be read somewhere over 2,600 times to hit the equivalent to industry pro rates.

Thought #2: Minimum advances for professional qualifying markets are about $2,000 a novel, or $0.025 per word, assuming an average novel length of 80,000. So say about 320 pages, or $1.92 per novel at KU rates.

In other words, an average novel-length novel will need to be read through something like 1,000 times to “break even” against the lowest professional advance.

Question: Just how viable are these numbers? Discuss.

EtA: I just realised I’ve made the same error in this that annoys me in every other article abut selfpub, which is to say I’ve assumed the cost of a self published work is zero. Which it usually isn’t. So, yanno. There’s also that.