KDP Select – Good Idea or Not?

I just saw Amazon’s new program for authors and publishers. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s here.

My first reaction was, uh… no thanks. Why? Because Amazon wants me to grant them exclusive rights to sell my eBook for 90 days. That means that I would somehow have to stop Smashwords (and all of their distribution channels) from selling my book. I don’t even know how to do that, especially on a temporary basis.

Hey, I want my book in as many markets as possible. Why would I pull it out, to compete exclusively with a million other books on Amazon? I’ve already learned that people can’t find my book on Amazon by searching for a general SF time travel story. If I gave them exclusive rights, my book would just disappear to the bottom of Amazon’s giant pile.

Sure, they give you a few chances to promote your book for free. That’s good. But I don’t think it’s good enough. But you know, what do I know? So I was going to investigate it, when almost before I could blink, Writer Beware pops up with this.

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

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7 thoughts on “KDP Select – Good Idea or Not?”

  1. The KDP option sounds like a pretty good deal for someone who hasn’t self published their stuff before and are willing to give this option a “beta” try. However, you point out well that there are other options and still the ability to have your book on Kindle (which is Amazon).

    1. That’s a good idea, Angela. It would be a good first step for a new novel, even if the author has published before, but it still not well known. But for a book that’s already out there in many distribution channels? I just don’t see it.

  2. This is the first that I’ve heard of this program. After reading the conditions, it seems like it could be a good idea if you already have a strong platform for promoting the book, or you have a big backlist that’s available whose sales you want to drive. In that case, you could easily get quite a lot of borrowing on your KDP book, and drive a lot of sales in your backlist during the 90-day exclusive period.

    But if you’re like one of us, with a limited marketing reach and a short backlist, then the serendipitous sales that you get by being on all of the major markets is almost certainly outweighed by whatever benefits the KDP could give you.

  3. Ever since we started having those stimulating self-publishing vs traditional publishing discussions on the list–which apparently have come to a sudden halt the moment it was ‘legalized’ lol, proving some people like to argue for the sake of it–I was wary of Amazon’s actions. I said as much because I realised they were after a monopoly in publishing in the most blatant and ruthless way possible. Nothing they’ve done since the agency model snafu has proved otherwise. Every move they’ve made has been to supposedly ‘support’ the author, but apparently that means digging out the eye of every publisher and brick and mortar store, indie or not.

    Witness their sudden branching out into every genre of publishing, and their new ‘price your items in the store and buy it at Amazon for $5 off’ promotion. Imagine what that will do to brick and mortar bookstores.

    This is just more of the same. Lock authors into a huge slush pile, while depriving other booksellers of content. Misguided Amazon true-believers will only see the dollar signs and never think of how beneficial it is to have to compete with so many other books on Amazon’s terms only. I see a huge organisation on a mission to control the entire industry then settle in and dictate terms once there’s no one else left to dissent. And yet the Feds want to investigate E-book pricing by MacMillian and others in Europe. They should be investigating the rampant loss-leading and monopolistic practices that led to that in the first place.

    I think you’re being very sensible. Let people pay you for their book. Don’t pay extra for Amazon to trap you in a rigid association where only they control the rules of the game. I’d read anything they promise with a magnifying glass and take it with a tub of salt. Especially when they say it’s all about how great things are going to be for the author.

  4. Yep, I think so, too.

    I do think Amazon is a great place to sell your book. But it’s sort of like those cereal commercials, where they say their product is healthy, “when part of a complete breakfast.” Amazon is good, but as part of a larger marketing push.

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