The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity

Amazon KDP Select The 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. 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.

 

Your choices

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.

 

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.

Then 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 teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

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

  • July 27, 2020 at 2:28 am
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    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
    • July 27, 2020 at 8:56 am
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      Yes. Once your KDP Select enrollment expires, you are free to sell your ebook anywhere.

      Reply
  • May 31, 2020 at 2:07 am
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    Can I build a facebook page to promote my books if I am in KDP Select? I have paperback and ebook. I would like to provide the link to my Author page on Facebook. Is that acceptable under the terms of KDP Select. I would not be posting any content, just cover photos and links.

    Reply
  • May 28, 2020 at 7:16 pm
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    Great information!
    You warned that you cannot opt out of Kindle Unlimited. Is that a part of Select only and what are the ramifications of not being able to opt out of Kindle Unlimited? Thank you!

    Reply
  • April 15, 2020 at 11:06 pm
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    Are there file size constraints with select? I’m writing non-fiction with a lot of photos and the file size will likely be well above average.

    Reply
  • January 21, 2020 at 7:42 pm
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    L.C.Metzner
    My historical work is complete. I wish to Open Publish on KDP. Would like to be contacted by KDP reps.
    Contact info : lonametzner at verizon.net

    I’m self-publishing, not looking for a publisher. My historical work provides the reader the Prehistory of Planet Earth and the life lived upon it, the Ice Ages, the Upper and Lower Paleolithic eras, the Neolithic era, the Bronze and Iron Ages, the early civilization of Sumer (Iraq), Babylon, Egypt, and Chinese, Indian, African, Minoan and Mycenean civilization, and Meso-American civilization. It provides the world’s human beings with their Human History from the beginning of History and on into our modern era. My manuscript contains 2,390 pages, 1,119,000 words. And I’m too limited on space here to adequately describe this complete, comprehensive Human History. My fully proofread, fully edited manuscript is ready to
    be launched. (The early Greeks and Etruscans, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and all the Roman Emperors, the Egyptian Pharaohs, beginning with Menes (3150 – 3050 BC) and ending with the last Egyptian Pharaoh, Queen Cleopatra VII, who, along with Mark Antony committed suicide in 30 BC. The Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, and the Fall of Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire) on Tuesday, May 29, 1453, when Ottoman Sultan Mehmet entered Constantinople and turned the main cathedral, St Sophia, into a Muslim mosque. I could go on, but I believe you get the idea……

    Reply
  • October 23, 2019 at 10:51 pm
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    I published my ebook through amazon.com KDP Select program. I know I fall under the 90 day restriction for my ebook.

    However, can I publish my book in Paperback with another publisher while enrolled in KDP Select?

    Thank you,

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 1:34 pm
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    so…question. First off, im thinking of publishing my crack fic on kindle. Reason why is I was contacted by someone at Webnovel.com saying they enjoyed it and wanted to contract it. Thing is, i hear they can “suggest” what i write, hire someone else to write it for me if i dont comply, have the rights to sell the story anywhere they want, delay my pay up to 3 months, and if the contract is terminated i have to pay back all earnings i made during the contract. So not ideal. Which is why im here. Now, for my question, i want to know if i can put only a “first volume” on kindle? I read here that i cant sell or publish anywhere else while under contract, but what extent does that apply to? Does the exclusivity apply to the “story” or the “title”? And if only the latter, can i continue the latter volumes under different titles, therefore not having the entire story under the exclusivity deal? I want old readers to be able to continue the story for free as i write it, while after finishing a volume put it up on kindle and only have new readers pay if they want to.

    It’ll be essentially the same “series” but different “books.” So if i go with kindle does it mean they get exclusivity to the whole story or just whatever “book” i chose?

    Reply
    • October 4, 2019 at 3:20 pm
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      KDP Select exclusivity only applies the individual ebook title. It does not apply to a series unless you enrol each book.

      Reply
  • August 26, 2019 at 8:01 am
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    Can i publish two or more e-books at a time on KDP select? If so, will my royalties be treated separately?

    Reply
  • August 2, 2019 at 3:02 am
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    Excellent article! Useful info provided in a concise, easy-to-understand text. Thank you.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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    I think this was slightly touched on already but I need clarification. I’ve had the WORSE time getting KDP to accept my paperback layout. Continually having to make changes to margins over and over. They accepted the ebook version right away. My question is, can I have my paperback version printed by a different publisher? If so, which one would you recommend? I no longer am interested in Amazon.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm
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    Hello,
    I have a question and hope someone may help me. I am ready to upload a book written by myself on Amazon KDPS. I wonder if I have chosen to use KDP Select, may I also have the freedom to publish my book in form of paper if in case a publisher wold like to publish it in normal printed book? Am I only supposed to give the copyright of e-book to Amazon KDPS but not other copyrights?

    Reply
    • July 26, 2019 at 3:47 pm
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      KDP Select does not affect your print book version. You are free to do as you wish. As for your ebook, you are only granting exclusive sales right to Amazon for 90 days. Amazon does not ask for any other rights to your book. When your 90 day period expires, you are free to re-enrol or leave the exclusivity. If you choose to leave, you are then free to do whatever you please with your ebook.

      Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 3:47 am
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    Am I able to promote with select on my website that leads buyers to the amazon link?

    Reply
  • June 20, 2019 at 4:03 pm
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    I am looking into KDP and went to their website and logged in using my Amazon account. I ended up at the agreement terms. As I read through it, it sounded like the Select terms described in this post. How do I know If I’m getting KDP or KDPS without getting tricked into Select?

    Reply
    • June 20, 2019 at 4:10 pm
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      You won’t get tricked, Gordon. When you publish with KDP, there will be a very clear checkbox to enrol in KDP Select. Just don’t click the box that says, Enroll.

      Reply
  • June 13, 2019 at 10:08 pm
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    ‘You cannot offer your book for free in any form or on any other platform.’ Just seeking a clarification with this one. I thought KDP Select authors were permitted to offer free copies of their ebooks in some circumstances such as for review purposes and as promo incentives. Perhaps I am wrong about that?

    Reply
    • June 13, 2019 at 10:24 pm
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      Yes, you can send copies of your ebook direct to reviewers. But you can’t offer more than 10% of your ebook online. This would include promotions on your website or a book promotion site.

      Reply
  • June 11, 2019 at 6:44 am
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    Hi, I’m very new to all of this and opted for KDP Select while I learned the ropes. I’m not sorry about this as it gave me breathing space which I desperately needed. I have a very important question, once I opt out of KDP Select, will my book automatically be enrolled in KDP Direct?

    Reply
    • June 11, 2019 at 7:39 am
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      Yes, Shonah. When you opt out of KDP Select, your book returns automatically to the normal KDP listing.

      Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 8:13 pm
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    Can you publish a box set on Kindle Select even though the books included are published wide?

    Reply
    • May 20, 2019 at 8:29 pm
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      I can’t say for sure, Vic. It used to work, but I haven’t tried for some time now.

      But in my case, I combined two novellas into one new book, so it is not quite the same as a boxed set.

      Reply
  • April 25, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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    Relevant info, thanks! I wasn’t aware that KDP Select was an auto-renewal program. I must have agreed to it and forgotten. Now I’m stuck until June 16 before I can go to Draft2Digital, but that’s fine; the book needs a new cover anyway.

    BTW, great website. I love the look and ease of navigation.

    Reply
  • February 18, 2019 at 1:44 am
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    Apart from sharing the royalty, do I have to pay anything to anyone if I opt for KDP/KDP Select?

    Reply
  • February 1, 2019 at 10:34 pm
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    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
  • February 1, 2019 at 12:19 am
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    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
  • January 30, 2019 at 8:51 am
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    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
    • January 30, 2019 at 8:54 am
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      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
  • January 20, 2019 at 4:13 am
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    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
  • December 12, 2018 at 7:38 pm
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    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
  • November 21, 2018 at 1:00 pm
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    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
    • November 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm
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      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
  • November 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm
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    The paperback my friend and I wrote has two authors. Is there an option to include both authors names on KDP?

    Reply
  • October 30, 2018 at 10:11 pm
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    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
    • October 30, 2018 at 10:23 pm
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      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
  • August 26, 2018 at 5:45 am
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    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
    • August 26, 2018 at 11:48 am
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      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
  • August 18, 2018 at 7:28 pm
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    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
  • June 27, 2018 at 4:59 am
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    Thank you for this article! Very helpful! KDP has some terms written upon signing up, but they were so vague and terse!

    Reply
  • April 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm
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    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
    • April 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm
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      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
  • March 12, 2018 at 10:40 pm
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    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
    • May 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm
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      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
    • June 16, 2018 at 10:42 pm
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      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
  • February 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm
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    Can I sell my hard copy elsewhere after selecting kindle select?

    Reply
      • February 26, 2018 at 4:48 pm
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        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
    • January 8, 2019 at 10:47 pm
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      Where would you recommend getting the paper and hardback books made?

      Reply
  • January 12, 2018 at 3:26 pm
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    It seems since I have listed my ebook with ul my sales have dropped. Is this common?

    Reply
  • October 30, 2017 at 11:12 pm
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    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
  • October 6, 2017 at 5:44 pm
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    Can I offer my Amazon paperback book to my local library for patrons to BORROW if I am enrolled in Kindle Select?

    Reply
    • October 6, 2017 at 5:46 pm
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      Yes you can. KDP Select does not affect paperback books, only books.

      Reply
  • July 18, 2017 at 1:14 am
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    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
  • April 3, 2017 at 1:08 pm
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    Thank you for this very interesting and informative post.

    Reply

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