This Select service was brought to my attention by GoodReads’ Jane Friedman blog, specifically a guest post by CJ Lyons (I’d recommend reading it here).
KDP is simply Amazon’s self-publishing service (Amazon is also affiliated with CreateSpace, and probably even more who I’m not aware of), and KDP Select is a special program offered to users of KDP to promote their books. Here’s the lowdown on what KDP Select does and its stipulations:
1. The author gives Amazon EXCLUSIVE digital rights (though none of the print rights) to his or her book for a 90-day period
2. The book is made available in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library for sharing between customers and earns a small royalty for each “borrow”
3. The author is able to offer the book in a free promotion for a total of 5 days (consecutive or not, author’s choice) during the 90-day period
To tell the truth, when I read this I thought it was really strange and sort of a bad deal for authors since their books might only be downloaded during the free days (if they used any) and/or lent out by customers for a smaller royalty. After reading Lyons’ post, I still have a similar opinion, though I also see the benefits to KDP Select. After reading through (almost) the entire KDP Select user terms of service, I got a fairly good idea of what the service really offered to authors.
Based on my research, here’s the pros and cons of each stipulation of KDP Select:
1. KDP Select 90 days of exclusivity:
PROS: if you aren’t trying to distribute anywhere else, Amazon’s Kindle is a great platform to start on
CONS: you’re stuck with Kindle, so no Kobo, no Nook, no nothing! You also wouldn’t be allowed to provide excerpts/chapters on your blog or website because that would also be a breach of contract
2. Kindle Owner’s Lending Library
PROS: great for word-of-mouth marketing, and you do get paid for it
CONS: people who might buy your book borrow it instead, and the payout for lending is dependent on the total amount of books that are lent within a particular month–the more books borrowed overall (even if they have nothing to do with your book or genre), the less money you make
3. Free-Promotion Days (5 total)
PROS: you have total control of when those 5 days occur within your 90-day contract with KDP Select and you can run them concurrently, separately, or not at all. If you do, it’s a good way to introduce people to the first in a series and garner good reviews to encourage purchase of later installations
CONS: anytime a book is offered for free, its intrinsic value also declines, and you may encourage sentiment for the rest of your books to be offered for free as well
Overall, there are some definite advantages to KDP Select, however, I believe it takes a very specific situation for an author to derive great benefit from it. Why not simply use KDP’s regular publishing services? What potential can you see in KDP Select? I can’t claim a perfect understanding of how to sell ebooks, so I’d love to hear what you think!