In And Out Of KDP Select, Smashwords and Draft2Digital

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In And Out Of Amazon KDP Select

Amazon, Smashwords and Draft2Digital all have benefits

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

All 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 elsewhere.

For many self-published authors, having ebooks available on both Amazon and Smashwords or Draft2Digotal makes perfect sense, and this, which is often referred to as ‘open publishing’, is the best approach.

However, the fly in the ointment is when you would like to enrol your ebook in Amazon KDP Select to take advantage of the extra promotional tools that it offers.

To do so, you need to make the difficult decision to grant Amazon exclusivity. This means that you cannot have your ebook available on both Amazon and Smashwords at the same time.

Therefore, you will need to remove your ebook from Smashwords, which will also mean removing your ebook from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and a number of other distribution channels.


There are benefits to Amazon KDP Select

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

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.

This strategy though involves making absolutely sure that when you enrol an ebook in KDP Select that the title has been removed from not only Smashwords or Draft2Digital, but also from ALL their distribution channels.

As many authors have discovered, un-publishing an ebook does not necessarily mean that down the line distributors react quickly.

This can result in receiving a nasty email from Amazon stating that your ebook is not available exclusively on Amazon, and will result in your ebook being disqualified from KDP Select.

Famously, Smashwords ended their ebook distribution agreement with Flipkart due to the inability of Flipkart to remove titles in a timely manner. This tardiness by Flipkart resulted in many authors being notified by Amazon that their ebooks would be removed from KDP Select.


Related reading: What’s The Difference Between Amazon KDP and KDP Select?


How to check your ebook is de-listed

So how can you make sure that your ebooks will be removed in a timely manner from Smashwords and their distributors when you want to enrol in Amazon KDP Select?

There are many authors who wish to use Amazon KDP Select from time to time, but for some, this can cause problems.

The best way to ensure that an ebook will be totally exclusive Amazon is to make a small adjustment to the ebook’s distribution settings on Smashwords or Draft2Digital well in advance.

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

Apple removes a title within 24 hours. Kobo in less than 48 hours. Barnes and Noble are 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 sales, so my advice is to restrict aggregator distribution to these three retailers if your marketing plan involves going ‘in and out’ of Amazon KDP Select.

From your Smashwords Dashboard, go to the ‘Channel Manager’, and change your distribution settings.

Amazon and Smashwords Opt Out

There is not enough room in the image above to show all of the distributors, but by opting out of all except for Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble, you can be certain that when it comes time to remove your title, it will be done 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 and click ‘Save’ if you only wish to enrol your ebook for one period of 90 days.

Amazon and Smashwords select



While open publishing would be the number one preference for most self-published authors, the reality of ebook sales at the moment is that Amazon, and especially KDP Select with its Kindle Unlimited option, is leading the market in ebook sales and now in subscription royalties.

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

This means that self-published authors cannot ignore the real and potential income that Amazon can generate for them.

So this means balancing ebook distribution between Amazon and Smashwords or Draft2Digital and having to chop and change from time to time, by having titles going in and out of Amazon KDP Select.

By changing your distribution settings with your aggregator, it will make this process more reliable when the next time comes to enrol an ebook title in KDP Select.


Update: Read my review of Draft2Digital, which is another choice of ebook aggregator.


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

11 thoughts on “In And Out Of KDP Select, Smashwords and Draft2Digital

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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,

    • Really sorry, but I can’t help you with this one. Best to contact Smashwords and ask for help.

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

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • You can only enrol in KDP Select when your ebook is not available on any other retailer. So yes. You will have to withdraw your ebook from D2D.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.


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