Enrolling in Amazon KDP Select means you must grant exclusive selling rights to Amazon.
Before I start my Kindle Direct Publishing review (KDP), you need to know that there are two different Amazon publishing options.
Although only one word is different, the Select (S) suffix makes an enormous difference to how you can publish, promote, and sell your Kindle book.
What is the difference between KDP and KDP Select?
When you publish a Kindle ebook or a print on demand paperback with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), there are no restrictions.
You can sell your ebooks anywhere you like with other ebook retailers or from social media and your website.
This is often called open publishing. It is the model most traditional publishing houses use. You are free to market, promote, and sell your ebooks or books anywhere you wish.
You can use any book promotion tools you like, such as free ebooks, giveaways, or contest prizes for any version of your ebook.
You can self-publish your books on Amazon KDP and also independently publish with Draft2Digital, Smashwords, or any other self-publishing service. You can have your ebooks on sale through any other online retailers.
With Amazon KDP, there are no restrictions.
You are free to make your ebook available for sale on all Amazon Kindle stores, as well as any other ebook retailer such as Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, plus many more.
There are no restrictions on your list price other than KDP’s minimum ebook price of $0.99. But if you want to, you can offer your ebook for free, in part or in full, on any retailer or your website or blog.
With Amazon KDP Select, however, there are several restrictions.
There are many considerations you need to think about before you click one little tick box and enroll for 90 days when you publish your ebook from your KDP Bookshelf.
Before you do, you should consider the following self-publishing on Amazon pros and cons. Then you can decide which selection is best for you and for your ebook sales.
Amazon KDP Select Self-Publishing Pros and Cons
Major Pros of KDP Select
A small potential increase in royalties because your book will be eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales made to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
Once you upload and publish your ebook and enroll your book in KDP Select, your book will be automatically available to Amazon Kindle readers who are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited (KU) in the US, UK, Germany, and France.
With your ebooks in Kindle Unlimited, you will earn royalties under the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read program.
You will be paid royalties from the Select Global Fund based on the number of pages customers read.
But, the royalty rate is usually lower than what you would receive for regular Kindle ebook sales to customers.
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 on Amazon stores for 5 days in each 90 day enrollment period. This can help you with your book promotion.
You don’t have to be concerned with maintaining different versions of your manuscript for different publishing platforms because your ebook is exclusively available for sale on Amazon.
The enrollment period is for only 90 days. So you can opt-out very easily if you change your mind.
Major Cons of KDP Select
You cannot publish or offer your ebook title for sale with any other retailer or publishing service provider. Amazon demands a strict 100% exclusivity to your ebook title.
You cannot offer more than 10% of your book’s content anywhere. This even includes social media and your own website or blog.
You cannot offer your book for free in any form or on any other platform. You can only do it on Amazon stores during your 5 free ebook days. These are part of your 90 days Amazon KDP Select enrollment.
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 could make to the program or rules during your enrollment period.
If you are already open published, you will have to completely remove your ebooks from sale from all other ebook retailers.
Removing your books listed on other ebook retailers can be a long and tedious process. Some retailers can be slow to act on an aggregator’s request to remove your ebooks from sale.
Amazon KDP reviews other online retailers for new titles enrolled in Select. If it finds your title on another retailer, you will receive a strongly worded warning email.
If you have this problem, you will have to contact your aggregator or the ebook retailer direct to try to solve the problem as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your ebook could be removed from Select, or worse, your account could be suspended.
Your earnings from Kindle Unlimited will be from a monthly pot determined by Amazon. You will have no control at all over the pricing and royalty return for your ebook on Kindle Unlimited (KU). But, you will still receive 70% royalty for ebook sales.
Scammers are still rife on KU. As soon as Amazon closes one door, the scammers find another way to profit. At the same time, it can cast a shadow over reputable authors.
Sometimes, Amazon’s efforts to solve the problem of scammers have resulted in legitimate Amazon KDP Select authors being accidentally penalized. Or worse, having their titles removed or their KDP account suspended.
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.
You have all your eggs in one basket, and you are locked in for 3 months.
If you enroll in KDP Select, your enrollment will automatically renew for a further 90 days.
Be alert and uncheck the auto-renew tick box well before the next renewal date if you do not want to continue.
If you understand the pros and cons of self-publishing on Amazon’s two KDP platforms, you can make an informed decision. Each service or feature needs to suit your book marketing plan.
For some authors, Amazon KDP Select with Kindle Unlimited is a good choice. It can work well for a new title. It also makes book marketing easier.
You only have one sales channel that you need to promote and can use Amazon keywords and categories to boost your sales chances.
Amazon has the largest ebook market share by a long-distance due in part to the popularity of the Kindle device.
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. Many Kindle authors choose this option.
One other issue to understand, though, is that you cannot opt-out of Kindle Unlimited. If you want to avoid a reduced royalty rate from KU subscription readers, then KDP Select is definitely not for you.
But be aware that Amazon is a huge company. If you have a problem or need assistance, it can often take some time to get help. Working to solve issues with KDP support can sometimes be slow and frustrating.
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 might want to think about open publishing with Smashwords or Draft2Digital.
You can also consider publishing and distribution of both ebooks and quality trade paperbacks with Blurb.
Another advantage of going wide is that you can experiment. Perhaps you would like to try a different cover design or change your book description on other retailers.
Also, you are in full control of your ebook promotion, promotional tools, and selling prices.
If you want control of your publishing, you need to consider the benefits of going wider with KDP and open publishing
Every self-publishing author and small press has to make the decision to use KDP Select. It will be based on whether it will deliver a definite sales and earnings benefit.
For others, such as dedicated indie authors, publishing independence is a big issue. So granting exclusivity is a step too far.
If you are new to self-publishing, you should read the terms and conditions of KDP Select. Then do your research before deciding if KDP Select serves your publishing needs appropriately.
Then you can make the best choice for you and your publishing needs.