I’ve decided to take the plunge.
|Creative Commons. No, this is not me. |
Thanks for asking, though.
I’ve resisted this for some time. In fact, the first time I heard of Kindle Select, I objected to it. At the same time, though, I understood why Amazon structured it the way it did.
KDP Select is a marketing program, as well as a method for Amazon to reinforce its dominance of the digital book market. An author or a publisher who has published a book on Amazon’s Kindle store can choose to enroll it in the KDP Select program, which gets the book included in Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library. This allows member of Amazon Prime to borrow the book, free of charge. The author/publisher gets a share of the fund that Amazon sets aside to reimburse them for these free book loans. Lately, that fund has been around $600,000 per month, divided among all authors in the program according to how many times their books get borrowed.
Authors can also set five days out of every 90 during which their books can be downloaded for free. Otherwise, you cannot set your book for a free download on Amazon, unless you go through some tricks by setting your book for free on other sites (like Smashwords, Apple’s iBookstore,Kobo, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, the Sony e-bookstore or Diesel, to name the few that I know of) and hoping that Amazon matches their price. This has not always worked for me.
The catchThe downside to KDP Select is that Amazon demands exclusivity. If you enroll your e-book in Select and the Lending Library, you cannot distribute it through any other retailer, paid or not. If you do, and Amazon finds out, they’ll not only refuse to pay you any royalties on that book, they may withhold your royalties on all your other title sold through Amazon. They may even bar you from the Kindle digital publishing system entirely.
This exclusivity applies only the digital books. Authors and publishers that have joined Select can still sell printed books any way they wish — or can.
I can understand why Amazon did this. It dominates the e-book market, and it’s not a charity. It’s a business. I’m not a lawyer, but I doubt this qualifies as an anticompetitive tactic. No one has to join the Select program. You can still sell books through the KDP system as well as every other digital channel you can find, and Amazon will still sell your e-books for you. And Amazon still provides lots of free tools for making e-books in the first place.
A large number of authors have signed up for KDP Select, including several that I know through social media and some that have even written guest posts on this blog. Obviously, they’re not that worried about the exclusivity clause — or they feel that the benefits of lending royalties plus increased sales more than offset the downside.
Many have written that the majority of their sales have been through Amazon, anyway, so they weren’t really losing much.
For my part, Amazon accounts for about half my sales; the other half is mostly through Smashwords, with a few other sales from the other e-retailers.
|Rob Guthrie's magnumopus is now out!|
In February, author Russell Blake (who guested here in December) reported on his blog:
So, it does work. Of course, both Guthrie and Blake outsell me by orders of magnitude. But the potential is there.
|At time of writing,|
number 6,554 Paid in
Kindle Store — not shabby at all.
Do I really want to give my books away for free?
Also, there are some multi-author book giveaway promotions that I’d like to participate in — but again, you have to be a member of Kindle Select.
Mostly, I want to experience that paid sales spike after the free promos. I understand that it’s only a temporary spike. At this point, I’ll take temporary.
|As of July 12, ##431,700 Paid in Kindle Store. Let's see if we can boost that to the low hundred thousands, at least.|