By now, you might have heard of Amazon’s new program for Indie authors called KDP Select. It’s a program that allows authors to get their eBooks into the Kindle Lending Library, and also gives them 5 days out of every 90 in which they can give away the book for free.
There’s a catch, though. In order to participate, the author must remove the participating book from every other store that they are selling it in. This means they can’t sell it for the Nook, or for Kobo’s reader, or in Apple’s iBookStore. They can’t even sell it from their own site. Even crazier, they’re not allowed to have excerpts from the book anywhere.
This has led to thousands upon thousands of books being removed from eStores not named Amazon, and to a deluge of free titles on Amazon.
There is no doubt that Amazon is the #1 eBook store. Most indies make far more from Amazon than from other retailers, though for many, this number isn’t really that high. There are lots of stories of people giving away thousands of copies of their book during their free period, and then making significant money once it’s out of the free period because of its new visibility in various lists.
In the short term, this is good for the participating authors. I think that over the long term, it will prove self-defeating.
When you pull your book from every other store except Amazon, and you get more exposure on Amazon, this exposure won’t translate to other platforms. And, when Amazon stumbles, or when they change their algorithms, and your books all of a sudden nose dive in sales on Amazon no matter what you do, you won’t have any other stores in the world where people know your name. You will be screwed and you will cry “woe is me!”
One last thought, Indie Author. In the past, if you were published by a publisher and people couldn’t get your books, you could blame it on the publisher. When YOU are at the helm, you will only be able to tell them that YOU decided their platform of choice wasn’t worth selling on, and by extension, they weren’t worth selling to.
I don’t want to have to write that email, so I won’t be participating in KDP Select.