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.

Before we start, it is very important that you should not confuse Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDPS) with the standard Amazon Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Although only one word is different, the Select (S) suffix makes an enormous difference to how you can publish, market and sell your Kindle book.

When you publish a Kindle ebook, and now print on demand paperback as well with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), there are no restrictions on where or how you can make your ebook or printed books available for sale.

This is often now called open publishing. This is the model most traditional publishing houses use. You are free to market, promote and sell your ebooks and books anywhere you like.

You can use any promotional tools you like such as free ebooks, giveaways or contest prizes for any version of your book.

It means that you can open publish with Amazon KDP and also independently publish with Draft2Digital, Smashwords or any other self-publishing service and have your ebooks on sale through 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, of course, as well as any other ebook retailer such as Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble plus many more.

There are no restrictions on 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 own website or blog.

With Amazon KDP Select, however, there are restrictions and many considerations to take into account before you click one little tick box and enrol for 90 days when you publish your ebook from your KDP Bookshelf.

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

 

Amazon KDP Select Pros and Cons

 

Major Pros of KDPS

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 select 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 KU, you will earn royalties under the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read program. However, the royalty rate is almost always lower than what you would receive for a regular 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 on Amazon stores 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.

The enrollment period is for only 90 days, so you can opt out very easily if you change your mind.

 

Major Cons of KDPS

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

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

You cannot offer your book for free in any form or on any platform whatsoever, other than on Amazon stores during your 5 free ebook days that 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 may 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.

This can be a long and tedious process if retailers are slow to act on an aggregator’s request to remove your ebooks from sale.

Your earnings from Kindle Unlimited will be from a monthly pot determined by Amazon, so you will have no control at all over the pricing and royalty return for your ebook on Kindle Unlimited (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 Amazon KDP Select authors being accidentally penalised, 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.

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 next renewal date.

 

Conclusion

For some authors, Amazon KDP Select is a good choice, especially for a new title. It also makes book marketing easier, because you only have one sales channel that you need to promote.

Amazon has the largest ebook market share by a long distance due in part to the popularity of the Kindle device. 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. Many Kindle authors choose this option.

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.

Another advantage is that you can experiment. Perhaps you would like to try a different cover design on other retailers.

Also, if you want to be in full control of your ebook promotion, promotional tools and selling prices, and avoid a reduced royalty rate from KU 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, such as dedicated indie authors, 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.

 

Related reading: How To Find Amazon Keywords For Kindle Ebooks And Books

 

For writers: Free Writing Software And The Best Free Writing Apps

 

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

37 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
    • Where would you recommend getting the paper and hardback books made?

      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
  • Since Kindle Select applies only to eBooks, how does Amazon know that a purchaser that downloads a book is from Mexico or any other country? My market is primarily Mexico for English speaking foreign nationals. The do not have an .mx email address

    Reply
    • Amazon tracks sales and downloads using geo-targeting. As there is an Amazon site for Mexico, https://www.amazon.com.mx, it is very easy. If there is no Amazon site for a country, sales are recorded to Amazon.com. Or in some cases, like in Europe, to the nearest site.

      Reply
  • The paperback my friend and I wrote has two authors. Is there an option to include both authors names on KDP?

    Reply
  • I have gone wide with publishing my debut novel, after a year exclusively with Amazon. However, I am also writing a series in a different genre and am wondering about trying this exclusively with Amazon in the first instance whilst still leaving my first novel wide. Can I do this?

    Reply
    • Yes, you can do that. Trying exclusive for 90 days is often a good idea for a new title. It might help get you some reviews and KU page reads.

      Reply
  • So if we try “Select” for 3 months, and then leave, we retain all rights? Sounds like zero downside to giving it a try for a newbie like myself. Also, if we set up our manuscript for paperback printing is the Kindle e-book different formatting that I myself need to take care of?
    Thank you!
    Debra

    Reply
  • Reasons not to use KDP from personal experience:
    1) 60 day delay imposed on former CreateSpace authors who were migrated, while CS had a 30d royalty payment delay
    2) KDP has shipped my book with an old cover on multiple occasions via Amazon
    3) Authors cannot create a “branded cover” and sell the book themselves, books must be published through Amazon, which effectively eliminated this personal revenue stream
    4) KDP reporting has little to no granularity past a 90d threshold.

    Reply
  • Hi. I’d like to reiterate the question from Debra W.
    If I leave KDP Select after the 90 day period, are all book rights restored to me?
    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • You don’t lose your book rights to KDP Select, Liam. Only the right to sell your book anywhere other than Amazon. Once you are out of KDP Select, you are free to sell your book using other retailers.

      Reply
  • This is the worst of the worst. I have been using CreateSpace for ten years without a problem, and now that they have so called merged with KDP, it is a nightmare. I have tried for weeks to get several covers through their poor system, and still to no avail. When an earlier one went through, it was skewed terribly, and so was the interior pdf file. I have gone to Ingram Spark.

    Reply
  • More reasons from DonM:
    1) I had people order books from AMZN in Jan 2019. They received books w/ covers from 2.2 yrs ago.
    2) I had people order books from AMZN in Jan 2019. They received AN OLD INTERIOR file.
    3) I had a significant deposit in Dec 2018. It STILL hasn’t appeared on my KDP account page, 40d later, and a several “where is the deposit” info please emails.
    4) Emails go unanswered for days at a time.

    I will say one nice thing -> depending on how you work through the “help” page, you can find a “call me” button. I did actually receive a phone call, talked to someone who sounded over seas, and when he could not answer my question he did route me to the state side support queue. I did end up talking to at least a knowledgable person in one of the Carolina’s (I asked her, she was cololcated w/ the print facility on the east coast).

    Reply
  • Apart from sharing the royalty, do I have to pay anything to anyone if I opt for KDP/KDP Select?

    Reply

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