The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity For New Authors

Amazon KDP Select Pros and Cons

What are the KDP Select pros and cons? 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.

You can use Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDPS) or the standard Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

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. It allows you 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. Then 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 your ebook sales.

 

Amazon KDP Select pros and cons to consider

 

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 cannot exit 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.

 

It’s your choice

If you understand the KDP Select pros and cons of self-publishing ebooks on Amazon, you can make an informed decision. It’s a choice between exclusive or unrestricted 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 you 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.

 

Going wide

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.

As long as you understand the KDP Select pros and cons, you can make the best choice for you and your publishing needs.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

74 thoughts on “The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity For New Authors

  • Avatar for Noemia & Lane Poole
    July 14, 2021 at 6:05 am
    Permalink

    Hi,
    We are new to KDP. We just translated a book written by our pastor to Portuguese. It seems that most markets give 70% for eBooks, but Brazil only gives 35%. We are considering KDP Select to increase our royalty to 70% for Brazil. We have also published a paperback translation on KDP for the same book. Does enrollment in KDP Select place any restrictions on our paperback edition? Also, do you know if KDP publishes paperback books in Brazil?
    Thanks,
    Noemia and Lane

    Reply
    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      July 14, 2021 at 8:09 am
      Permalink

      No, KDP Select does not affect print books. It’s only for ebooks.

      As for paperback sales to Brazil, I’m not sure. Perhaps you should contact KDP support and ask.

      Reply
      • Avatar for Noemia & Lane Poole
        July 14, 2021 at 6:28 pm
        Permalink

        Hi Derek,
        Thank you for your response. This information is very helpful.
        Noemia and Lane

        Reply
  • Avatar for Mark King
    June 27, 2021 at 1:26 am
    Permalink

    In the sign up process; giving bank information, SS # a safe process?
    Should I have any concerns with giving them this. I understand it is for tax and deposit but skeptical of everything these days. This is my first attempt at this. Many questions. Thanks for your insight on the different KDP accounts

    Reply
    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      June 27, 2021 at 8:23 am
      Permalink

      Amazon needs your bank information to pay you for your book sales. So yes, it’s necessary. Amazon pays into my bank account every month and I have had no problems at all over many years.

      Reply
  • Avatar for Karen Copeland
    November 2, 2020 at 5:59 pm
    Permalink

    I have published three books with Amazon and the paperback versions were always available on ‘Amazon.ca’ within 24-48 hours. However, with my most recent book, on the ‘Amazon.ca’ website it is listed at “Temporarily out of Stock”. When I questioned Amazon, they first told me it normally takes 5-7 days to be available. Well, after 8 days of waiting, I queried again and was told that it would take 30 days. I was also told that they could not guarantee that my book would be available on their Global Store site.

    While on the ‘Amazon.ca’ site, I noticed that many books are also listed as “Temporarily out of Stock” and wondered what is going on. I realize that your advice is targeted mainly toward KDP versus KDP Select, but wondered if you might happen to know what might be causing this delay in publication.

    I find that Amazon is quite helpful if you have issues with book formatting etc. but they have been quite unhelpful on this issue. I get the feeling they’ve changed their policy on foreign authors but don’t want to come right out and say it.

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Reply
    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      November 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm
      Permalink

      I’m sorry Karen, but I can’t really help you with this issue. It sounds like a specific problem with ‘Amazon.ca’ but I’m not familiar with how it works compared to the US site. I know there are differences in each region, and with Amazon UK in particular.
      All I can suggest is keep in touch with Amazon, and hopefully, it will get its act together for you.

      Reply
      • Avatar for KAREN COPELAND
        November 2, 2020 at 6:44 pm
        Permalink

        Derek, thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I really appreciate it.

        Reply
  • Avatar for Meredith
    July 27, 2020 at 2:28 am
    Permalink

    Thank you for this article. Amazon “suppressed” my ebook so I just cancelled the enrollment in KDP Select. It expires in a month. That means after the expiration date of the KDP Select period, then I can then sell my ebook on my website and with the same ISBN?

    Reply
    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      July 27, 2020 at 8:56 am
      Permalink

      Yes. Once your KDP Select enrollment expires, you are free to sell your ebook anywhere.

      Reply

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