There is a lot of confusion in the indie author community about the 'Amazon KDP Select' program. What is 'Amazon KDP Select' exactly? What are it's pros & cons? What do most indie authors who participate in 'Amazon KDP Select' do in practice?
Are you thinking about signing up for 'Amazon KDP Select' program? Are you already in, but don't quite understand what the program is all about? You should take a moment to read the terms and conditions for the program. They are detailed here:
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What is 'Amazon KDP Select' exactly?
Amazon KDP Select is a 90-day exclusivity program for digital book marketing. You can access additional promotional options, such as using a countdown for up to 7 days, making your eBooks totally free for 5 days and giving away free copies. With this program, you can also use Amazon's advertising tool to set up a budget and pay for the clicks in a Facebook-like manner. Under certain conditions, you can earn relatively higher royalty in select markets.
"2.4 70% Royalty in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India. Digital Books enrolled in KDP Select will be eligible to earn 70% royalty for sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India. The List Prices you set for Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India must also meet the 70% List Price requirements for sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India. If your Digital Book is not enrolled in KDP Select or you do not meet the 70% List Price requirements, you will earn 35% royalty."
The program is only about your eBooks
KDP Select is a digital self-publication and distribution program. Therefore, this is only concerned with your eBooks, NOT your print books or merchandise. Also, you enter the program for 90 days at a time. KDS Select auto-renews unless you opt-out at the end of a given 90-day cycle.
"3 Period of Participation and Automatic Renewal. Once you include a Digital Book in KDP Select, your Digital Book will be in KDP Select for a period of 90 days, unless we remove your Digital Book from KDP Select. Your Digital Book’s participation will automatically renew for additional 90-day periods, unless you opt out through the KDP website before renewal. We can end KDP Select at any time in our discretion; if we do, these terms and conditions will no longer be in effect, except Section 5 will survive. We may allow a customer who accesses your Digital Book through Kindle Subscription Programs or the Kindle Owners' Lending Library to continue to keep it checked out for as long as they want, including after your Digital Book’s participation in KDP Select ends."
KDP Select requires exclusivity. By entering this program, you elect to give away your rights to distribute your own eBooks through any other platforms than Amazon. You cannot even feature your eBooks on your own author website, blog, etc., and you are not allowed to preview more than 10% of the eBooks.
"KDP Select is an option for KDP publishers. While enrolled in KDP Select, your Digital Book must be exclusive to us and will be included in Kindle Unlimited and any substantially equivalent Kindle subscription programs ("Kindle Subscription Programs") and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library where it will be eligible to earn a share of a monthly cash fund ...
Amazon KDP: The best option for most indie authors
The standard KDP publishing option is more appealing to most indie authors. There are no restrictions placed on you as to where you can offer your eBook for sale. You can offer your eBook for free on your website, or offer extended preview reads. Also, you can publish and sell your eBook on any other retailers, even at a lower price. With this option, your eBook is still available for sale on all Amazon Kindle Stores, which really is a great advantage. In addition to Amazon, you get a chance to market through other retailers such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo or any others you choose with your eBook aggregator. To understand some of the pros and cons of using KDP to KDP Select, please check out this short article.
How do most indie authors use KDP Select in practice?
After weighting the pros & cons carefully, most authors enter Amazon KDP Select for the first 90 days following their book release. Enrollment lasts 90 days, after which they pull their titles out of the program (just the program; the books stay on Amazon store). Then, indie authors publish their eBooks wherever else they want, such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Lulu and Smashwords.
As indie authors, we chose to have more control over the way our creative stories are told and marketed. We want to seize every good avenues available out there to share our work with the world. Amazon being the biggest marketplace out there, it makes sense for us to have our books listed on their platform. That said, the fundamental privileges that accrue to being indie authors seem to be directly at odds with entering any form of exclusive deals in marketing our creative work.
All members of the Red Clover Reader community are encouraged to do a thorough pros & cons analysis before signing up for marketing contracts. A forewarned is a forearmed!