In And Out Of Amazon KDP Select, Smashwords and Draft2Digital

In And Out Of KDP Select

Self-publishing ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords or Draft2Digital is logical.

All of them offer different distribution channels, which is ideal for getting your ebook to as many ebook retailers as possible.

If you publish with Amazon KDP, there is no restriction at all on publishing and selling your ebooks elsewhere.

But what happens if you want to enroll your ebooks in KDP Select?

Moving in and out of Amazon ebook exclusivity

For many self-published authors, having ebooks available on both Amazon and Smashwords or Draft2Digital makes perfect sense.

It is often referred to as open publishing and is one approach to finding as many readers as possible.

However, the fly in the ointment is when you would like to enroll your ebook in Amazon KDP Select.

There are benefits, including listing in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and extra promotional tools.

To use it, you need to make the difficult decision to grant Amazon exclusivity.

It means that you cannot have your ebook available on both Amazon and Smashwords or Draft2Digital at the same time.

That’s why it’s called exclusive publishing.

But if you want to enroll in KDP Select, you will need to plan ahead.

Delisting an ebook from either aggregator can take a little while.

When you delist and unpublish an ebook, you will be removing it from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and all of your other distribution channels.


There are benefits to Amazon KDP Select

Most self-published authors have probably tried Amazon KDP Select. It is beneficial for many indie authors. It can help boost both sales and ranking during the 90 days of enrollment.

You can use Kindle Countdown Deals, free book promotion, and have your book listed in Kindle Unlimited.

If you have more than a few ebook titles, a strategy of having one or two ebooks in KDP Select at any one time can be a good sales and book marketing move.

This strategy involves making sure that when you enroll your book in KDP Select, you remove your title from other retailers. Not only Smashwords or Draft2Digital but also all of the downstream retailers where your book is available for sale.

You will also have to make sure that you remove it from your book promotion sites if you use a universal book link.

To comply with the KDP Select terms, it means you must deactivate ALL your distribution channels other than Amazon.


Delisting an ebook on Smashwords and Draft2digital

Both Smashwords and Draft2digital start the delisting process immediately.

But as many authors and publishers have had problems. When you delist an ebook, it does not necessarily mean that down the line book retailers, and distributors react quickly.

It can result in receiving a nasty email from Amazon stating that your Kindle ebook is not available exclusively on Amazon.

It could result in your ebook being disqualified from KDP Select.

If you receive an email notice, you need to start working to solve the problem as quickly as possible. Smashwords ended their ebook distribution agreement with Flipkart due to the inability of Flipkart to remove titles in a timely manner.

This delay by Flipkart resulted in many authors being notified by Amazon that their ebooks would be removed from KDP Select.

Although I have usually had very few problems over the years, I recently had difficulty delisting my ebooks from Bibliotheca.

It took many emails to Draft2Digital and a frustrating wait of one month before my books were finally delisted.


How to check your ebook is delisted correctly

How can you solve the problem of slow delisting?

You need to make sure that your ebooks will be removed promptly from Smashwords and Draft2Digital and their distributors when you wish to enroll in Amazon KDP Select.

Many authors like to use Amazon KDP Select from time to time to help increase sales to customers.

But for some, this can cause problems.

The best way to make sure that an ebook will be exclusive to Amazon is to make a small adjustment to the ebook’s distribution settings.

You can do this on Smashwords or Draft2Digital well in advance.

From my own experience, when I un-publish a title on Smashwords in readiness to enroll in KDP Select, I have had no problem at all with Smashwords’ three leading retailers.

Apple removes a title within 24 hours. Kobo in less than 48 hours. Barnes and Noble is a little slower at 3 to 4 days.

The same goes for Draft2Digital.

It is worth considering that these three retailers probably make up around 90% or more of total ebook sales.

My advice is to restrict your aggregator distribution to these three retailers if your marketing plan involves going ‘in and out’ of Amazon KDP Select.


Carefully select your ebook retailers

From your Smashwords Dashboard, go to the Channel Manager, and change your distribution settings on each published book.

Amazon and Smashwords Opt Out

There is not enough room in the image above to show all of the distributors.

You can opt-out of all retailers except for Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

In my experience, libraries are often the slowest to delist books.

Because they rarely add much to your income, it might be wise to remove your books from them well in advance.

Better still, don’t publish with libraries or very small down-chain ebook retailers when you publish a new title.

Then you can be confident that when it comes time to remove your title, your delisting will happen quickly and efficiently.

One other vital point to remember when enrolling in KDP Select is to deactivate automatic renewal.

Once you have enrolled, make sure you un-tick the auto-renewal option. Then click Save if you only wish to enroll your ebook for one period of 90 days.

Amazon and Smashwords select

Of course, if you want to stay enrolled indefinitely, don’t select this option.



Open publishing would be the number one preference for most self-published authors.

But the reality of ebook sales is that Amazon and KDP Select with its Kindle Unlimited option, is leading the market in ebook sales and subscription royalties.

Whether you agree, disagree, like it or not, Amazon has the largest ebook market share by a very long distance.

Self-published authors can’t ignore the real and potential income that Amazon can generate for them.

But it means balancing your ebook distribution between Amazon and Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

Then you have to chop and change from time to time by having titles going in and out of Amazon KDP Select.

Change your distribution settings with your aggregator in advance. It will make this process faster and more reliable to enroll an ebook title in KDP Select.


Update to this article

Update Note. It came as a surprise to many authors, but Draft2digital is to acquire Smashwords. You can read more details in the announcement notice.


Related Reading: Use Print To PDF For Your Print On Demand Book Covers

25 thoughts on “In And Out Of Amazon KDP Select, Smashwords and Draft2Digital”

  1. Hi Derek
    Thank you for this informative and thought provoking read. Can you please confirm if ebooks signed up to KDPS must be included in Kindle Unlimited, or is there the option to opt out of KU when in KDPS?
    I’m not at all keen on the page views aspect of KDPS, but I do need all the help I can get with marketing and promotion.
    Sadly, I suspect there’s no choice to opt out, in which case when I publish my first book in a month or so I’m inclined to start with KDP and would only consider KDPS if sales were not going as well as I’d like.

    1. You’re right. There is no opt-out option from Kindle Unlimited, Ess. But I have read that you can try contacting Amazon and ask about the possibility. It might be worth a try.

  2. Hi Derek,
    Love your site, very informative.
    I am a first time author and my book (non-fiction aviation book) is just about done and will be ready for publication by August 20. I do have my own ISBNs for the EPUB, & printed book.

    It is very difficult to decide, through the maze of confusion, that is the self-publishing industry, which is the best way to go. Nevertheless I need to decide, and as you recommended I am inclined to go via KDP Select. I will also choose and an aggregator (either Draft2Digital or PublishDrive) for the printed book.

    I do have 2 questions: If I sign up for KDP select, can I only have the ebook version in the program, and keep the Print book out of KDP Select? Or, it wouldn’t matter, as it would not affect it in regard to exclusivity, as it would the ebooks? (ie. I can sell the printed book on Amazon Select, & other sellers at the same time).

    My other question is: I am debating going with PublishDrive for my printed book (as well as having it placed in Amazon’s KDP ). Is that wise? If not, would you have a suggestion for a good printed book distributor? I’d like to hear it.

    I will say, I am not a fan of IngramSpark due to their 49$ fees, un-tracked book deliveries, and “highly recommended” 55% retail customer discounts, so I won’t be going there.

    1. In answer to your first question, Theo, KDP Select is only for Kindle ebooks. It has no affect on your print book, or audiobook versions. You are free to do as you wish.
      As for a print book distributor, you might want to investigate Blurb and Lulu as possible options. Both offer distribution via Amazon.

  3. If you are with KDPS, you cannot publish with another platform. All book formats must have their own ISBN
    When i registered my ISBN’s….i have one number assigned to my print book and a different to my ebook, if i decide to do an audiobook then it will require another and then a hardback needs its own.
    I wouldnt advise having several different ISBN’s for the same format but different platforms

  4. Hi,

    I am an author with two nonfictions and one Children’s fiction to my credit, being published by reputed publishers from New Delhi and Mumbai, but without earning a single penny as royalty from them. Though they have even reprinted my books, when I enquire about the status of the book, they would say they all are lying with them without sale. Can I get my published works upload with KDP? If so, could you kindly give me your valuable guidelines.

  5. Avatar for Patricia Farrell
    Patricia Farrell

    Can I publish on both PublishDrive and Amazon at the same time? I don’t think I’ll go the KDP Select route just now. PublishDrive has just signed with the major book distributor in China and I don’t think Amazon has that market distribution.

  6. I am a publisher of mainly nonfictional technical books. I had enrolled all my books on kdp select, all are Amazon only. Some of them I move them out of the program because they contain technical knowledge I think is worth publishing in multiple sites, not only Amazon (KU/KOLL is not an option for my books, are relatively short). My question is: do I need to be exclusive to kdp publishing even when I withdraw from the kdp select program? If they had assigned me the ISBN… is that a limitation to publish in other sites? can I use my original designs (cover, abstract, etc) out of Amazon? I had published for some time now Please let me know if it’s possible to expand my distribution (Smashwords).

    1. It is easy, Alan. As long as you have removed your titles from KDP Select, you are free to publish and sell your books anywhere you choose to do so. Smashwords and Draft2Digital will both assign a new free ISBN when you publish with either. You can use the same cover, book description and manuscript. Amazon holds no rights to your books or its content.

  7. Thanks. It just dawned on me that you might have articles available to help me sort this out. You did! Basically, don’t click “Select”! Don’t think the exclusivity requirement will work for me.

  8. Honestly, I’m confused about the various options for publishing ebooks through Amazon. Is KDP the only way to publish an ebook on Amazon? Sorry if this is a silly question, but the more I read the Amazon site, the more unclear I am.

    1. KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing is the only way to publish on Amazon. But there are two options. Standard KDP and KDP Select. Select requires that you give exclusivity to Amazon. You can then offer you ebook through Kindle Unlimited.

    2. I just published my first children’s book with KDP. I have my own ISBN’s as i read that it is a huge pain when the publisher assigns them, especially if you want to use others as well.
      KDP is a nightmare. Prior to publishing and 8 days after publishing, I spent EVERY DAY on the phone with them, same issues and yet i did not get the same answer from 2 people. My title is live and i paid to direct traffic to my site only to get a message “sorry this title is not available right now”….. I am then told that the books ebook and print are available on 13 marketplaces (amazon) yet my print book is not available in Canada (my home)…but, we ordered one .
      The problem I have with KDP is that as an author wanting to give away books and do promotions, the cost of ONE printed book for ME, the author, is more expensive than a customer ordering from the website.
      1. Authors pay cost for the book but the shipping is absolutely absurd. almost $9.00 US ($12.00 CAD) plus cost of book, AND it takes TWO WEEKS to deliver.
      2. A customer in Canada can get the book for $14.00 CAD …AND get prime shipping – free…AND its delivered in TWO days..

      KDP Select has its benefits yes, but when they choose to lend your book or offer it free, you have no say…. I dont mind offering a discount but having a children’s book that can be read in about 6 minutes or less, lending the book and allowing others to lend as well is not something i am interested in

      Having said all that…….Ingram Sparks, Tablo…Smashwords all publish ebooks AND one of their resellers/platforms IS AMAZON……
      If you dont want to go that route, you can set up your own store, and upload your ebook, but that involces knowing tech stuff (again not my area of expertise)….Its been 3 weeks now and my desk is filled with papers with notes from reviews, blogs, videos, stating the pros and cons of each platform…..

  9. Hi!
    Thanks for this article. I self-published my eBook through D2D in June and I used my own ISBN for that. But then I also self-published my book on Amazon Kindle (no ISBN) and as a paperback (print-on-demand) using a different ISBN. As per D2D – being a wide distributor – authors that publish through their platform cannot participate in the KDP Select program. So I believe it doesn’t matter if you use a different ISBN or not, you will still disqualify for KDPS, is that correct? I am only interested in joining KPDS for the Pen to Publish contest (Nov 10 – Feb 9), ha! Do you recommend to join KPDS early February for 90 days? Oh, and I’ve also published through Ingram Spark’s platform (Print-on-demand), and I believe they’re offering my book in eBook format as well. So I guess – either way – that will affect participating in KDPS, right? And I will have to deactivate all these platforms for KDPS…
    Thanks for your help in advance!

  10. There doesn’t seem to be ANY option to de-select auto renew on the Amazon KDP page. Do you know where it is?

    1. Auto-renew is only for KDP Select, Janice. If you are not enrolled, you will see “Enrol in KDP Select” next to your book on your KDP dashboard. However, if you are enrolled in KDP Select, you will see the option to view your KDP Select status. From there you can select or de-select auto-renew.

  11. Thanks for the useful information.
    There is however one very important topic, you did not refer to.
    How these companies deal with Hebrew books?
    I tried to upload an Hebrew book to Smashwords but it turn out that the alignment was to the left instead the right as Hebrew is written right to left.

    Thanks in advance,

  12. Thanks for this – useful info. It seems to me that for a debut self-publisher, Amazon and KDP Select are a good way to go. You say “If you have more than a few ebook titles, a strategy of having one or two ebooks in KDP Select at any one time can be a good sales and marketing move.”
    Why is that?

    Another question – can your book be free and enrolled in KDP Select?

    1. Thanks for your questions, James.

      Firstly, no your ebook cannot be free in KDP Select. The minimum price is $0.99. However, you can offer the book for free for 5 days each 3 months.

      As for having a ebook or two in Select, this is to take advantage of KU, which can help find new readers.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top