Amazon is overhauling the way it pays royalties to self-published authors on its e-book platform, by rewarding them based on the number of pages of their book that have been read.
The e-commerce giant's move applies to books published via the Kindle Direct Publishing service –which allows authors to set prices and make changes to their work at any time – and follows the pay-per-track model of music streaming services like Spotify.
Previously, self-published authors would be paid by the number of times their book was borrowed from Amazon's e-book store. Amazon's latest change to its policies applies to e-books read by people signed up to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited service and will come into force from July 1.
"We're making this switch in response to great feedback we received from authors who asked us to better align payout with the length of books and how much customers read," Amazon said in a statement on its website.
To ensure authors get paid an appropriate amount, Amazon is using a complex calculation to work out royalty payments. Authors won't be able to cheat either by making books with huge fonts. Amazon has developed something called the "Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count" – an algorithm that standardizes elements of a book such as font size and line spacing.
The page counting begins from the first chapter rather than the contents pages.
But some authors have expressed concern over the plans.
Hari Kunzru, the author of The Impressionist said the Amazon model "feels like the thin end of a wedge".
"Now Amazon want to pay writers only for pages read. Feel like I'd be best off retraining now, before the rush," Kunzru said in a tweet.
The ability to self-publish books has changed the industry and many independent authors have embraced platforms like Amazon's. But the e-commerce giant has had a tough relationship with larger publishers.
Last year, Amazon clashed with Hachette over who had control of the pricing of the publisher's e-books on Amazon. Both companies eventually reached an agreement in November.