TO KDPS, OR NOT TO KDPS

Posted By on January 10, 2013

For me, this was a good question.

For the unaware, KDP Select is Amazon.com’s digital distribution program where an author can publish his/her ebook directly to Kindle, under the condition that Amazon has exclusivity in distributing said ebook for a 90-day period. (You can renew enrollment in the program for subsequent 90-day periods at your discretion.) That means no selling your ebook on B & N, or in the iBooks store, or even on your own website (though you can link to your book’s page on Amazon). Physical books are not included in this, so you can continue selling those anywhere you want.

I had read many pros and more than a few cons about the KDPS program. Ultimately, I chose to enroll in it upon my book’s release.

Why? The KDPS Program has some cool benefits:

—Your ebook is added to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, available to Amazon Prime Members, and, based on how many borrows your book gets, you’ll receive a (small) cut of a pre-determined fund that Amazon sets aside for borrowed ebooks. Your ebook will still be available to purchase for people who are not Prime Members.
—During the enrollment period, you can give your book away for free for 5 days (either consecutively, or in segments). This seems like a great promotional tool for authors to gain more readers (and, ideally, more positive reviews).
—KDP *may* publically announce the top ebooks borrowed, including the author, publisher, and number of borrows.
—Your KDPS book earns 70% royalty for sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, and India. (It’s 35% if you’re not in the program.) This is particularly advantageous if you have a lot of fans in Brazil, Japan, or India.

My research showed most authors derive the bulk of their ebook sales from Amazon — up to 85% — so it really is a powerhouse of a retailer.

That said, when I launched my book on Amazon and announced it on Facebook and Twitter, I received more than a few responses telling me they didn’t own a Kindle. All I could tell them was wait three months and it should be available on all the other digital platforms. (NOTE: there’s this free Kindle Reader app for iPad, so iPad users can also buy your book off Amazon for their reading pleasure.)

I figured the time to try KDP Select was at the initial release of my book. If I were to choose to enroll later, after I had already made my book available on other formats, I would’ve had to pull my book off of ALL other distribution sites in order to be eligible for the program. That seemed like a hassle to me, and I thought I didn’t have much to lose by giving KDPS a shot right out of the gate.

After my first 90-day KDPS enrollment period ends, I will let everybody here know how successful my trial run was.

About the author

Sawney Hatton is the author of the Dark Comedy novel DEAD SIZE, the YA novella UGLYVILLE, and the offbeat short story collection DARK SPACES, and the editor of the Sci-Fi Horror anthology WHAT HAS TWO HEADS, TEN EYES, AND TERRIFYING TABLE MANNERS?

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