According to an anonymous source, Amazon is inviting self-published authors to make their works available in Amazon’s Kindle Prime lending library, for checkout to owners of Kindle devices who subscribe to Kindle Prime. The invitations are going out to individual authors now, but Amazon will reportedly go public with the offer on December 1.

Here’s their offer: If I agree to make my ebooks available exclusively in the Kindle store and participate in the Kindle Lending Library, I will earn fees from a fund they have set aside ($500,000 for the first five months).

Though this might seem like a good idea at first glance, the author worried that almost nobody would want to spend their one checkout per month on his $2.99 title when they could get a more expensive book free instead, and making it available would mean cutting off any and all revenue from other stores—B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc. And exactly how that $500,000 would be apportioned is hazy, to say the least.

The offer would have the benefit to Amazon of making a lot more books available for the lending library that the Authors Guild couldn’t kick up a fuss over. The question is whether it would benefit the authors. Self-publishing author Joe Konrath, who has his own publishing deals with Amazon, hinted in a comment to the story that the tipster had left out a few key points, and that “Amazon wants very much to make this a good deal for both customers and authors.” But he’s not at liberty to say how.

Perhaps we’ll know more on December 1.

(Found via PaidContent.)