Using KDP Select And Avoiding Ebook Retailer Problems

kdp select problems

Almost all self-publishing authors use Amazon KDP Select, either regularly or periodically to take advantage of the extra promotional services Amazon offers in return for exclusivity.

While for some authors, they are happy to leave their ebooks permanently enrolled in Amazon KDP Select.

However, many authors like to get the best of both worlds and opt for a mix of open publishing and Select exclusivity. To do this, however, requires a little forward planning and attention to a few details that can cause problems.

Amazon applies its KDP Select exclusivity rules vigorously, so to avoid getting its nasty enforcement emails, switching an ebook from open publishing to Select needs to be carefully planned and implemented.



Slow acting ebook retailers when you want to enrol in Amazon KDP Select

By far, the biggest problem lies with other ebook retailers. If you have published your ebooks through Smashwords or Draft2Digital, delisting your ebook on either site does not necessarily mean that your ebook has been removed from sale.

This problem caused Smashwords to end its agreement with Flipkart, and from my recent experience, there is a similar problem now with Page Foundry.

In a previous post, I wrote about how pleased I was with the publishing options offered by Draft2Digital, and I still am. However, after a couple of months now, I have discovered repeated issues with publishing and delisting ebooks to Page Foundry, or Inktera, as it is also known.

After delisting two of my ebooks on Draft2Digital in readiness to enrol them into Amazon KDP Select, I waited a week or more, and while all the other retailers had removed my two ebooks, Page Foundry had not.

This causes a lot of problems, as until Page Foundry delists my ebooks, I cannot enter Amazon KDP Select, and in addition, my ebooks are not now available on Apple, B&N and Kobo. As Smashwords also distribute to Page Foundry, I would imagine that the same problem may exist there as well.

As I like to rotate my ebooks in and out of Amazon KDP Select through the year, this issue with Page Foundry causes a lot of problems.


Only use the fastest reacting retailers and forget the rest

The only ebook retailers that delist promptly are Apple and Kobo, while B&N takes a few days. These are also the only three retailers that regularly sell ebooks. In my case, most of my ebook sales apart from Amazon, come from Apple iBooks and B&N.

So the best solution for me in light of this Page Foundry issue is to delist all my titles from all other retailers, other than Apple, Kobo and B&N. It would be nice to distribute wider, but the lack of sales, on top of the hassles these small retailers can cause, is not worth all the problems.

If you are already open published through Smashwords or Draft2Digital and plan on using Amazon KDP Select in the near future, I would suggest delisting your ebooks from Page Foundry now, or at least well in advance.

It might also be a good time also to review the number of sales you are getting from other small retailers. If they haven’t been delivering any sales at all, is it really worth publishing with them?

This may seem harsh on these smaller retailers, but it is worth noting that if you un-publish an ebook on KDP, it happens immediately. So if Amazon can act promptly, there is no excuse for other retailers.

If you plan on using Amazon KDP Select, save yourself a lot of headaches by only publishing to ebook retailers that react to your needs in a timely manner.



More reading: The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity


Derek Haines

A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all forms. I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business. Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.

5 thoughts on “Using KDP Select And Avoiding Ebook Retailer Problems

  • June 9, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    One question: if you delist with Draft2Digital or Smashwords can you then later relist the same book?

    Thanks for this article. I’m in the same boat as DJ, with precisely zero sales on Draft2Digital.

  • June 28, 2018 at 2:52 am

    I am going to try to delist one of my books and put it back on KDP for 90 days. Sales in Daft to Digital are zero, can’t hurt. Thanks for all this advice. If I see sales grow, I will pull the other books, too. Launching two books at the end of the year, so want to be sure what I plan to do for them.
    Any other advice is always helpful. Thanks for yours.

  • January 13, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Great advice. I never even checked to confirm the delisting when I unpublished st Smashwords. Did you confirm on the Smadhword’s distribution page where you opt out at? Just wondering if this is the best place check for future reference. By the way, watch out for KDP’s “auto Sign up. You can end up committed for an additional 90 days if you’re not careful.

    • January 13, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Yes, Charm. I always check the distribution lists to confirm removal. And also, yes. The KDP Select auto renewal is a big trap for new authors. Always make sure the box is unchecked.


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