Thursday, January 12, 2012

KDP Select (Exclusivity or Anonymity?)

When Amazon announced KDP Select a month or two ago, it caused the kind of sensation and intrigue that only Amazon can have in the book world right now. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, let me lay out the pros and cons, with the cons being first:

  1. Increased exposure through promotional efforts by Amazon
  2. Increased exposure through borrows adding "purchases" to move your book up the ranks
  3. Borrows are converted to dollars at the end of the month depending on your share of the number of borrows through the KDP Prime/Select programs

  1. 90 day minimum exclusivity with Amazon for eBooks

Lucifer's Odyssey1 con? Well, yes, but it's a pretty big one if you believe that a free market is important. If you want to support your readers being able to purchase your eBooks from wherever they want, then this is a big deal. Similarly, if we don't want Amazon to monopolize the book market and dictate how books are handled, then exclusivity clauses are the worst way to approach that because it will do just the opposite.

But, from an author perspective, this is a godsend. Lucifer's Odyssey took almost a month of prep work to distribute to all of those markets due to issues with the Smashwords distribution system and the Meatgrinder conversion process. Uploading to Amazon was done the first night. They use a much more standardized and easier-to-prepare HTML-based document, and the conversion was flawless for the table of contents. B&N's process was similarly smooth, and this decision would affect them as well, but the Smashwords process was a real pain. Exclusivity will make this process more streamlined because I'm only preparing one document upload.

The second, and most important aspect, is the exposure. In December and January, KDP Select books are tearing up the charts and reaping thousands of dollars in earnings for authors who use the system. My tally from all vendors of eBooks? Maybe a dozen dollars for December, one of the supposedly best months for book selling was a complete and total dud for me. Despite dozens of good reviews on Amazon and other places readers go, there's no traction for me, and from my point of view, my options are severely limited.

Authors like David Dalglish or others making thousands of dollars on Barnes and Noble, Apple, etc. have a tough decision to make. Losing thousands where their books already have prominence is counterproductive, but for me? The decision seems like a no-brainer. Exclusivity or anonymity? Despite my reservations about monopolies in markets, I think I'll take the former.


  1. Hey, it's only a new book by a new author Rex. Next December is your month! Long term thinking, and all that.

  2. Heh, no doubt. The nice thing about the decision is that it isn't permanent.