My Thoughts On KDP Select

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.

2 thoughts on “My Thoughts On KDP Select”

  1. I would agree with you, I like Amazon but the way they handle digital books leaves something to be desired. I looked at many different e-Readers and went with the Sony one because of the open support for it. The Sony book store was the first to migrate their entire store to the EPUB format, the inclusion of Google books and public library’s made it much more appealing. I like the fact that I can get a book from almost any publisher that supports EPUB and read it on my device.

    When you published your first book, I saw in your list Smashwords was one of the places you made your book available, I didn’t hear of that site until then. Now having exposure to that site, I have been looking at other authors I might have not seen before, so I thank you for that.

    Keep up the good work and the good fight!!!

  2. I have problems with all of the vendors, to be honest. Searchability, DRM that keeps you from switching vendors. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to buy a book on Barnes & Noble to use on my Kindle, or my Kobo Reader.

    There’s a reason I don’t put DRM on my books. I’m hoping, sometime in the future, to sell them from my site so that you get both ePub and mobi formats in one package. I’ve just been too lazy/busy to do it.

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