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, market and sell your Kindle book.

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 enrol 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. 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.

This 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.

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.

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 has 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.

You have 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. 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 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.

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 must 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.


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


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


Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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

  • February 18, 2019 at 1:44 am

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

  • February 1, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    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).

  • February 1, 2019 at 12:19 am

    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.

  • January 30, 2019 at 8:51 am

    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.

    • January 30, 2019 at 8:54 am

      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.

  • January 20, 2019 at 4:13 am

    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.

  • December 12, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    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!

  • November 21, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    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?

    • November 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      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.

  • November 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm

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

  • October 30, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    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

    • October 30, 2018 at 10:23 pm

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

  • August 26, 2018 at 5:45 am

    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.

    • August 26, 2018 at 11:48 am

      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.


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