Delisting an ebook from Draft2Digital or Smashwords is necessary if you want to enrol your title with Amazon KDP Select.
I have written before about Draft2Digital and Smashwords and how both platforms have advantages when it comes to open publishing.
While Draft2Digital shines with its interface and automatic end-matter, Smashwords has a far wider distribution network and its own ebook store.
For self-publishers, it’s a matter of choosing the platform that suits their needs the best.
While both platforms can help you publish high-quality ebooks and offer fast publishing to their main ebook retailers such as Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble, there is one aspect of their service which you may rarely need but is very important when the need does arise.
No matter the rights or wrongs, fair or unfair, Amazon’s KDP Select rules demand ebook exclusivity and this can cause real problems for self-publishers when they want to enrol an ebook after having a title open-published.
The problem came to a head for Smashwords when it had to end its association with Flipkart.
The problem was that Flipkart did not respect title delist notifications from Smashwords and many authors were punished at the time by Amazon when they enrolled in KDP Select in the belief that they had delisted their ebooks correctly.
Having used Smashwords over the years, I know how hard Mark Coker has worked to fit Smashwords into an Amazon dominated ebook market.
That he took such strong action against Flipkart showed how important he believes it is for self-publishing authors to be able to trust the delisting process.
But what about delisting an ebook on Smashwords or Draft2Digital?
I have been using Draft2Digital for about two years now, and I have been impressed with all aspects of their service. However, one aspect I haven’t had the opportunity to test is its delisting process.
While I am a proponent of open-publishing for ebooks, the reality of the ebook market is that from time to time it can be beneficial to enrol a title in Amazon KDP Select.
For me, this time arrived recently, because I wanted to see the other side of the coin so to speak.
While I am an author, I am also writing about self-publishing, and as I have been open-publishing for over two years, I wanted to update my first-hand knowledge of the pros and cons of KDP Select, and especially the effect of Kindle Unlimited.
With that decision made, I, of course, had to delist some of my ebooks from Draft2Digital before I could enrol in KDP Select. As I hadn’t done this for so long, my expectation was that it would take a few days to a week to fully complete the process.
Well, I can happily report that my expectations were clearly very much outdated. The delisting process on Draft2Digital was a lot faster than I expected.
Apple, Nook and Kobo were confirmed as delisted within only a few hours. Page Foundry, Scribd and Tolino took a little longer but were confirmed as delisted in less than twelve hours. 24Symbols took the longest to delist, but it was just a little over 24 hours, which was fine.
I recall that a few years ago, I would have been happy if the delisting process took five days, but I can happily report that Draft2Digital are now extremely prompt in delisting titles.
Why does it have to be like this?
The reality of today’s ebook market is that Amazon makes its rules, and if you want to gain access to KDP Select, it means following the Amazon exclusivity rules.
As there are some benefits to be gained, it is sometimes worth enrolling in KDP Select for one or two 90 day terms. To be able to do this though, titles must be removed from all other retailers and ebook subscription services.
It’s all a pain for sure, and while it would be much easier if Amazon relaxed its demand for exclusivity, don’t expect Amazon to change its mind anytime soon. It’s something self-publishing authors, Smashwords and Draft2Digital just have to live with, and negotiate.
However, it is most reassuring to know that both Smashwords and Draft2Digital have accepted the reality, and are assisting self-publishing authors to be able to enrol in KDP Select without any difficulty.
Of course, returning an ebook listing is very easy, and I believe both aggregators work on the principle that their authors will, like me, return to open-publishing soon enough.