A review of KENP* read scheme of Kindle:
(Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read)*
Kindle has introduce a new method of payment of royalty to authors who have enrolled their books to Kindle Lenders Library (KLL) and Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) where the readers can borrow and read the books. From this July the authors shall be paid royalty on per read page basis. As to what exactly that means is not clear. If somebody scrolls down a few pages and starts reading after skipping few pages, will that count? There are many similar questions about a computer deciding the meaning of ‘read’. But that part is another matter. Here is a problem that is created on the assumption that people buy books to read from page one to last. The fact is that this proposition is true only of fiction books.
Effect on research books:
Medicine, law and Science are foremost research subject. In research there is a long chain of history and a conclusion. Unlike fiction in which people read to pass time, most people by research book to reach at conclusion. They are not concerned with the process through which conclusion was reached. But as it is, readers pays for entire research. Not just for the page on which conclusion is reached.
About law books:
Law books are reference books. One book deals with hundreds of possible problems and with possible options if not conclusions. At any given moment a reader of law-book (mostly lawyer) would be looking for answer of one problem. Once he finds the answer, the book is useless for him until some other problem arise. Actual lawyers are not very studious people. They buy book, solve problem and consign the book to shelf. Period.
Law books are not read from beginning to end. In fact different people will refer to different sections of the book, al the time. One more reason people buy law books is to deal with future problems as and when those may arrive. A handy book inspires the confidence in a lawyer to accept a brief on a new subject, merely because he is confident of having a good and reliable book on the subject.
My take on Kindle:
I have opted out of Kindle lenders library. All my books. Because it will result in reduced rate of royalty, I may have to increase prices as well. Of course this will hurt the cause of paperless books. But the boot is on other leg. If Kindle thinks it is smart enough to pay per page, it will find a way to compensate or people can buy printed books. Pay for whole book and place it on their shelf and forget it.
In short, it may be commercially efficient idea for Kindle but it will stall the bigger cause of bringing people to ebooks. Which is minuscule especially in case if research books.