The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity

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Amazon KDP Select The Pros and Cons

Enrolling in Amazon KDP Select means you must grant exclusive selling rights to Amazon.

Amazon KDP Select should not be confused with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Although only one word is different, the Select appendage makes an enormous difference to how you can publish, market and sell your ebook.

When you publish with Kindle ebook, and now paperback as well with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), there are no restrictions on where or how your book is made available for sale.

This is often now called open publishing.

You can open publish with KDP and also publish with either Draft2Digital, Smashwords or any other self-publishing service.

With KDP you can make your ebook available for sale with Amazon Kindle, of course, as well as any other ebook retailer such as Apple, Kobo, B&N plus many more.

There are no restrictions on price other than KDP’s minimum price of $0.99. But if you want to, you can offer your ebook for free on any retailer or your own website.

With KDP Select, however, there are many considerations to make before clicking one little tick box and enrolling.

Before you do, you should consider the following pros and cons and decide which is the best for you.

Amazon KDP Select Pros and Cons

Major Pros

A small potential increase in royalties as your book will be eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.

Your book will be automatically available to Amazon Kindle readers who are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited (KU).

You will earn royalties under the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read program. However, the royalty is almost always lower than what you would receive for a Kindle ebook sale.

Your book will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) program.

You can participate in Kindle Countdown Deals.

You can offer your ebook for free for 5 days in each 90 day enrollment period.

You don’t have to be concerned with maintaining different versions of your manuscript for different publishing platforms as your ebook is exclusively available for sale on Amazon.

Major Cons

You cannot publish, or offer your ebook title for sale with any other retailer or service provider. Amazon demands 100% exclusivity.

You cannot offer more than 10% of your book’s content anywhere, including on your own website.

You cannot offer your book for free in any form, other than during your 5 days with Amazon Kindle.

Readers and book buyers who use retailers other than Amazon will not be able to purchase your ebook.

You will be at the whim of any changes Amazon may make to the program or rules.

If you are already open published, you will have to completely remove your ebook from sale from all other ebook retailers.

This can be a long and tedious process if retailers are slow to act on an aggregators request.

Your earnings from Kindle Unlimited will be from a monthly pot determined by Amazon, so you will have no control at all over your pricing for your ebook on KU.

Scammers are still rife on KU. As soon as Amazon closes one door, the scammers find another way to profit, and at the same time cast a shadow over reputable authors.

On some occasions, Amazon’s efforts to stop scammers have resulted in legitimate authors being accidentally penalised, or worse, having their titles removed.

This was well reported when authors had their books removed from sale for putting their table of contents at the end of the book instead of at the front.

All your eggs are in one basket, and you are locked in for 3 months.

If you enrol in KDP Select, your enrollment will automatically renew for a further 90 days, unless you are alert enough to uncheck the auto-renew tick box well before the renewal date.

Conclusion

For some authors, KDP Select is a good choice, especially for a new title.

Amazon has the largest ebook market share by a long distance, so if you want a simple way of self-publishing and selling your title, KDP Select is a quick, easy and effective way to do so.

However, if you want your ebook to be available to potential readers on other retailers, and in countries where Amazon Kindle does not have a store, you may want to consider open publishing with Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

Also, if you want to be in control of your ebook promotion, selling prices, and especially your royalty from subscription readers, KDP Select is definitely not for you.

You should really consider the benefits of going wider with open publishing.

In the end, every self-publishing author and small press must make the decision to use KDP Select based on whether it will deliver a sales and earnings benefit.

For others, publishing independence is the key issue, so granting exclusivity is a step too far.

If you are new to self-publishing, read the terms and conditions of KDP Select carefully and do your research before deciding if it serves your publishing needs appropriately.

 

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

22 thoughts on “The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity

  • Thank you for this very interesting and informative post.

    Reply
  • EXCELLENT guidance. As a newbie(2novels & looking at self pub), your article allowed me to conclude DO NOT DO Amazon select, yet–but rather find and proceed with a hired, self publishing expert. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • Can I offer my Amazon paperback book to my local library for patrons to BORROW if I am enrolled in Kindle Select?

    Reply
    • Yes you can. KDP Select does not affect paperback books, only books.

      Reply
  • Would you consider boycotting Amazon’s bookstore to save the publishing industry? I pose the question here because one more big “Con” that was not mentioned was the fact that giving Amazon exclusivity increases their power bringing them closer to monopoly. Indeed, as far as ebooks are concerned they are effectively a monopoly now. Here is a five question survey. Let us know what you think: https://aalbc.com/blog/index.php/2017/10/25/stop-buying-books-amazon-com/

    Reply
  • It seems since I have listed my ebook with ul my sales have dropped. Is this common?

    Reply
  • Can I sell my hard copy elsewhere after selecting kindle select?

    Reply
      • Thanks a lot man for your pronto reply :), I have one more question though, the 90 days period you have mentioned, after that period can I change it back to normal KDP and then publish it on other platforms?

        Reply
  • In cases where the author has no Bank Account, (e.g. When the author comes from a 3rd world country like Uganda in which the Banks therein are not approved) does KDP uses Western Union or Paypal as a means of payment to the author?

    Reply
    • I have three books on amazon and I know there selling because I had people buy them right in front of me but still haven’t seen a single payment yet?
      To whom it may concern

      Ozellis Miller

      Reply
    • If you can’t give an acceptable bank account number, Amazon accrues your royalties until they reach $100 US (or equivalent) then they post you a check. By snail mail. Madness, but there you go. They haven’t yet taken to using Paypal like any intelligent international company would.

      Reply
  • Hi I have published my first book recently it’s doing fine so far but I wish to keep my book free on kindle how should go about it .
    Also can I publish my already published book through Amazon kindle ?

    Reply
    • No, you can’t keep your ebook free on Kindle. When you enrol in KDP Select, you can only offer your ebook for free for five days during each 90 day enrollment period. As for a previously published book, it can be published again on Amazon Kindle. But you must be sure that you have all the necessary rights to do so.

      Reply
  • Thank you for this article! Very helpful! KDP has some terms written upon signing up, but they were so vague and terse!

    Reply
  • I have three books that I published with CreateSpace and they are selling in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon. First of all, I think that Amazon and CreateSpace treats their authors pretty well. I have no complaints. But regardless how one feels about Amazon, you can play with them, or starve trying to sell your books elsewhere, Amazon is the biggest outlet for selling books by far and away. I just enrolled in Kindle select and it has been going well. People are reading a lot of my pages. I will have to wait and see how much of the pot I get before I know how profitable it is, but getting people to read my books is the name of the game. I did not enroll right away when I first started publishing my books and held out for many of the reasons that the author has stated, but in the real world most of them were not keeping me from selling books. Anyway, ninety days is worth a try for me. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll go back to how I was doing it before.

    Reply
  • Quite informative although this seems incorrect where you state. “so you will have no control at all over your pricing for your ebook on KU”

    Being in Kindle Unlimited for my Dragon’s Gap series I have found I have all the control I desire over the pricing of my books. I assume everyone on KU have the same freedom to change their books pricing as it suits them also.

    Reply
    • You can change your ebook price in KDP but that doesn’t control your KU royalty. That depends on how much Amazon allocates to the KU pot each month. But yes, your ebook price will show to KU readers, but that is not what they will pay to read your book.

      Reply

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