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