KDP Select?

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

On the back of Amazon’s announcement about Amazon.it (Italy) and Amazon.es (Spain) comes a new Kindle program; the new KDP Select program.

Each month, Amazon will make a “pool” of money – $500,000 in December. To get a cut of the money you have to enroll your book. Each time it is borrowed, you get a “point”. At the end of the month, the total points are counted, the money is divided up by that number (for example if there are 500,000 points from all authors and $500,000,  each “point” is worth $1) and you receive your share of the “pot” which would be X$ x How-many-times-your-book-was-borrowed (not purchased, but borrowed through the kindle Library lending program – which only Amazon Prime members can borrow from.)

So if no one borrows your book, you make 0% of the pot.

In Amazon’s press release, several authors such as J.A. Konrath and C.J. Lyons have gone on record, lauding the program. Meanwhile, Mark Coker has posted, explaining why this is a bad thing,  while Writer Beware has warned authors to “read the fine print”.

And you should. While at first this seems like a way to earn royalties on book borrowing, there is one condition: You must have your book (in digital format) EXCLUSIVELY published with Amazon. This means it can not be on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or even your personal website or blog (blogs and websites are specifically mentioned in the terms).  This further means that if your book is already published elsewhere you must first remove it so that Amazon is the only person who carries it.  (This does not effect paper back/dead tree versions)

Before you take your books down from B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. and enter the program, ask yourself this question, “Is my book likely to be borrowed enough times to make up the money for those lost sales?”

The answer for me is a simple “No”. Your answer may be  different, but as Writer Beware has cautioned, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Will you enroll in KDP Select? Why or why not?

You can read the entire FAQ & terms on Amazon’s site 

EDIT: Check out Kim Wolterman’s blog Amazon: Author Friend or Foe where she explains the Kindle Lending Library.

32 thoughts on “KDP Select?

  1. Lauralynn Elliott December 9, 2011 / 2:16 pm

    I absolutely do NOT plan to enroll in this. When the word “exclusive” appeared in my email, that made my decision right there. I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket. That’s not smart. I’m really surprised that J.A. Konrath, who often gives very good advice, was for this. I expected to see him blog about it, warning people NOT to do it. Most authors I’ve seen talking about it are not going to do it.

    • Joleene Naylor December 9, 2011 / 6:40 pm

      Yeah. same here. I like the indy/self publishing model because I own the work and can do anything I want with it – including put it on my blog.

    • Ruth Ann Nordin December 12, 2011 / 9:54 pm

      I kept waiting to see JA Konrath blog about it, too. I haven’t seen Dean Wesley Smith say boo about it either. I guess I’m not too surprised. Well, I am with Dean, but with JA Konrath’s love for Amazon and them publishing a book with them, I can see why he’d do it. I don’t know if Dean has something similar with Amazon or not. I don’t think so.

      Anyway, “exclusive” scares me to no end. As soon as I saw that, I lost interest.

  2. Linda B Myers December 9, 2011 / 2:34 pm

    I’m going to explore it for Singles only. It’s not so much for the extra readership (not much) as for the chance to have a few days to have the Singles free.

    • Joleene Naylor December 9, 2011 / 6:41 pm

      Let us know how it goes, Linda! 😀

  3. Catana December 9, 2011 / 3:30 pm

    I’ve been debating whether to publish on Amazon at all, in addition to Smashwords. Amazon has been steadily giving me more reasons not to, and this is the final straw. I’ll stick with Smashwords and also work to find other ways of distributing and selling my books.

    • Lauralynn Elliott December 9, 2011 / 3:35 pm

      Catana, the majority of my sales come from Amazon, so I don’t want to cut off that avenue of income. But I think it’s really foolish to publish only with one big company, especially one that’s trying to monopolize the ebook business. And that’s what this move by Amazon looks like it’s working toward.

      • Catana December 9, 2011 / 3:50 pm

        I can understand that if someone’s making significant income from Amazon it would be foolish to turn their back on it. But I’m just getting started as a published writer, and I’m willing to try to make my way without Amazon. There have simply been too many road signs pointing to “Monopoly.” And, although most writers don’t seem to realize it, Amazon has too much control over their books and prices once they publish through KDP. If you’re self-publishing in order to maintain control over your work, Amazon isn’t the place to publish.

        • Lauralynn Elliott December 9, 2011 / 4:05 pm

          I’ve had no problems with control over my pricing on Amazon. I price however I want. But…I do have a problem with the fact that they don’t allow you to publish works for free. I have a short story I want to make free for readers. The way around that is to publish it somewhere else for free and then inform Amazon of a lower price. I know of an author that asked Amazon if that violated their terms of service, and they said that was ok if it was going to be free. I AM disturbed about how they are trying to monopolize the market, though. Hopefully, authors won’t buy into this KDP Select craziness so Amazon won’t get an extra hold on the market.

          • Ruth Ann Nordin December 12, 2011 / 10:00 pm

            Jumping in late, but I’m also watching Amazon closely because I fear this move a lot. At the moment, a significant portion of my income comes from there, so I don’t feel I can get out of it. I am doing everything I can to promote the SW distribution sites. I know there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and I’m thinking if Amazon requires authors to join this thing in order to publish there, that will be it for me. What I’m hoping is that this thing backfires on Amazon. I don’t know why it hasn’t dawned on more people that if Amazon does wipe out other places, it won’t be so generous with royalties or “promoting” authors.

            • D. R. Bennett December 12, 2011 / 11:44 pm

              I agree with you, Ruth. If Amazon dominates the electronic publishing industry, they will most certainly be motivated to cut our royalties.

              • Joleene Naylor December 14, 2011 / 12:44 pm

                Also so many authors have jumped on it who probably will never see any of the “pool”. The book has to be borrowed for them to get any extra money. The five day free promo only goes so far, too.

        • Joleene Naylor December 9, 2011 / 6:48 pm

          Let us know how it goes Catana! I think Amazon’s monopoly on th eebook market has shifted, which is why they’ve come up with this idea. It used to be that everyone I knew (with an ereader) had a Kindle, not so anymore.

  4. DM December 9, 2011 / 4:28 pm

    How many Indies actually sell well on Nook? That’s my question. It is easier for me to find Indie authors on Amazon. I think if it is just a 90 day at a time, it’s worth a try.

    • Linda B Myers December 9, 2011 / 4:48 pm

      I sell five on Amazon for every one sold on all other ebookstores. Like it or not.

    • Joleene Naylor December 9, 2011 / 6:44 pm

      I actually sell the same number on Nook now as I do Amazon (I was shocked) in fact, last month I sold more through B&N than I did on Amazon. I’m not sure when that started happening – I need to go through all my reports and chart it out.

  5. Chip Anderson December 9, 2011 / 4:58 pm

    Can a writer join the KDP program with ONE book?

    Or do you have to place ALL of your books in the program?

    • Joleene Naylor December 9, 2011 / 6:44 pm

      Chip, from what I understand it is a book by book basis so yes, you could join with only one book and have the others opted out, I believe.

  6. Tracy Falbe December 9, 2011 / 5:43 pm

    In reply to DM’s question, I have roughly $4,000 worth of sales per year for Barnes & Noble’s Nook. My sales through Apple are also increasing and about to match Nook sales. I wouldn’t give up these distribution channels for the big maybe of making money from the Amazon lending “pool” of money. I don’t like to enter into agreements with vague terms and I have no desire to be exclusive to any platform.

    • Joleene Naylor December 9, 2011 / 6:46 pm

      I’m right there with you Tracey! Well, okay, not the $4,000 part (I wish, huh? congrats by the way!) but I don;t like the idea of tying down. I know when I released my last book I had emails asking when it would be out on Nook and I felt bad enough saying “well, it’s through smashwords, so a couple of weeks maybe?” – I can;t imagine saying “Oh, 90 days.” It feels like saying to the Nook owning fans “Sorry, you’re not as important.”

  7. Theresa M Moore December 9, 2011 / 7:29 pm

    I sell my ebooks through a lot of channels, so I’m not going to use KDP Select, either. In fact, thanks to several technical glitches which started back in August, I have steadily lost sales, compared to Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. I’m going to take down my ebooks starting today, against the Amazon “sale” asking customers to use a local bookstore as a “showroom” to select books, then buy them from Amazon. I also sell my books directly from my site, and I refuse to grant exclusivity to Amazon. I offer free shipping without charging for “prime” membership, and I control all rights to my content, so I don’t see any advantage to using Amazon for anything. If you are just starting out, you can use CreateSpace to distribute your printed books to other bookstores, and you can use Calibre to produce your own ebooks to sell direct from your site. Certainly, this event has served as a kick in the pants to decide what I should do with Amazon: remove all my books from their catalog or just keep the paperbacks there. I’m not selling them there anyway. But no more ebooks for them.

    • Joleene Naylor December 10, 2011 / 8:09 pm

      I recently looked into Calibre. Have you had a good experience with them?

  8. Chip Anderson December 10, 2011 / 2:23 am

    Thanks for your reply Joleene.

    I agree with you and Tracy, it sounds to vague.

  9. D. R. Bennett December 10, 2011 / 5:34 pm

    I don’t think I will join in Amazon’s new program for the simple reason that I want control over my work. A few dollars made here or there is not going to change my lifestyle. I am having decent success at Smashwords and B&N as well as Amazon, so I am not going to change my game plan.

    • Joleene Naylor December 10, 2011 / 8:11 pm

      Yeah, same here. I know that there are several authors who think that the self pubbed/indies are only that way because we “couldn’t” get a contract, but I chose the indie way on purpose and I’m not really interested in giving it up unless there are a lot more figures involved 😉

      • D. R. Bennett December 11, 2011 / 12:29 am


  10. Catana December 13, 2011 / 12:27 am

    I don’t think most people realize how many online publishers there are, and there are probably more coming out all the time. If Amazon ever thinks it’s big enough to cut royalties significantly, it will be a bonanza for those publishers. Most online publishers that I’m familiar with produce their books in multiple reading formats. Some of them also put out print editions. There’s a limit to how far one company can dominate the market, even one as seemingly powerful as Amazon.

    • Joleene Naylor December 14, 2011 / 12:46 pm

      I think that’s why they’re doing this; They may be a significant portion of ebook sales, but how long does that last for? I think it’s an effort to snuff out the competition first. Better to play offense than defense and all.

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