Use Smashwords Ebook Pre-orders While Enrolled In KDP Select

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Using Pre Orders for eBooksUpdate: Amazon appears to have changed their policy in regards to pre-orders on other retailers. While I had no problems, for quite some time, using this method, I received one of  Amazon’s threatening emails for the latest ebook I set-up on pre-order on other retailers before the end of its KDP Select enrollment. 

My emails to Amazon questioning this apparent change to its rules have not resulted in a clear yes or no. I would, therefore, advise caution in using pre-orders before the end of your KDP Select enrollment period.

You can read my new post here regarding the recent changes to KDP Select terms that prohibit pre-orders.

Ebook pre-orders can be used with KDP Select

Ebook pre-orders are always a good marketing decision, as they allow time to create some buzz about your new ebook. However, there is a second use for ebook pre-orders that you may not have considered.

I stumbled upon the notion, as I had an ebook enrolled in KDP Select, and was waiting patiently for the enrollment period to end before publishing it on other retailers.

Then I wondered if I could offer it by using the ebook pre-orders facility on Smashwords. My thinking was that it did not contravene Amazon’s KDPS exclusivity clause, which states:

What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle? 
When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP during the entirety of its enrollment in the program.
All content made exclusive to Amazon in KDP Select must remain for sale on our site only; it cannot be available for free or for purchase in digital format anywhere else, including publishing the content of your book on the web, including on your own website, blog, etc. However, you may choose to make up to 10% of your book available on other sites as a sample, as well as continue to distribute your book in physical format (including print on demand books), or in any format other than digital.

So from this, my understanding was that so long as I only offered a 10% sample read, and that my ebook was not made available for sale until the end of my KDP Select enrollment, then I could offer my ebook under ebook pre-orders on Smashwords for distribution to Apple, B&N and Kobo, while my ebook was still enrolled in KDP Select.

smashwords ebook preordersI was not absolutely certain my assumption was correct, though, so I spent a little time doing some research on Google and came across this article by Thorsten Nesch on Indies Unlimited.

Thorsten confirmed that this could be done, and he included copies of his correspondence with Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords, confirming that ebook pre-orders did not contravene Amazon’s terms and conditions regarding exclusivity.

So the wash-up of this is that it is not only possible, but also a great marketing opportunity to have an ebook enrolled in KDP Select, AND at the same time, have it listed for ebook pre-orders on other retailers.

This gives the best of both worlds, as KDP Select is a great tool to use to launch an ebook, but now you can create a lot of buzz on other retailers while you wait for your KDP Select 90 day exclusivity to expire.

I have an ebook exiting KDP Select exclusivity in around four weeks, so I have now set it up with Smashwords’ ebook pre-orders for distribution to Apple, B&N and Kobo as a trial, and have my fingers crossed that I won’t get a nasty email from Kindle Direct Publishing during this time.

If you don’t see an update on this post over the next few weeks, you will know it all worked out ok!

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “Use Smashwords Ebook Pre-orders While Enrolled In KDP Select

  • The first time I did the preorder thing, Amazon threw a fit. I couldn’t understand why and challenged them on it, and it turned out that even though I had set my KDP Select title not to auto-renew, right after it went live as I always do with exclusives (I even had a screenshot proving I did so, because I’m paranoid about trusting settings a retailer tries to hide), I guess the change didn’t “take” in the system. So when their bot found my book up for preorder on iBooks, they considered it a violation because my term wouldn’t have been over when the book finally went on sale at Apple. Their overzealous bot did me a favor catching that, else I might’ve landed in a second term without realizing it and ended up violating my contract for real.

    Lesson learned: periodically check your books’ auto-renew status if you’ve turned it off, in case Amazon’s system decides to quietly change it back.

    • I must admit that I haven’t had the problem, Dan. But I will certainly check the Select tick box from time to time now.


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