The New KDP Select

Remember when iPhones first came out. They were sold only to AT&T. As a business person, you have to wonder why just AT&T. Why not sell them at every cell phone store? Now they are at most service providers because their exclusive contract is expired.

At the time iPhones began, AT&T was not doing well. They were struggling to compete with companies such as TMobile and Sprint. Now they are one of the leading companies because of iPhone’s exclusivity agreement. Does that make AT&T a better company because it has the iPhone? Not at all! Their service is no better than it was before. Compared to my Sprint Phone, it is always dropping calls and losing service. Do you know the last time I had a dropped call? Well, I don’t know either.

Although I don’t have the iPhone, friends and family do. I can tell you that my HTC EVO is much better. It has been doing things the new iPhone has only started doing. I didn’t need the latest EVO. Mine is 2 years old. I will be willing to bet the iPhone 5 will introduce features that my 2 year old EVO has. What is my point? My point is that just because someone does it first, doesn’t mean someone else can’t do it better.  The thing is though I would have probably jumped on the iPhone bandwagon a long time ago if they were at SPRINT. I would have bought every iPhone to date and assumed nothing could possibly be better.

So, this brings me to Amazon and their new program KDP Select. As quoted from the LA Times blog:

 Amazon has announced KDP Select, a program that will use a new funding scheme to compensate authors who make their e-books exclusive to Amazon Kindle for at least 90 days.
The company has announced that in the first year, it expects to put $6 million into a fund that will be paid out to authors when their exclusive e-books are checked out of Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library. The authors will receive a share of the fund calculated by the proportion their books were borrowed compared to the number of borrows overall.

An author must make their book exclusive to Kindle for 90 days to be eligible for this. Why are they doing this? Easy. To encourage more Kindle sales. 

Kindle was the first of its kind. Does it make it better than other products? If you have a Nook Color or a Nook Tablet, the answer to that is no. When Amazon introduced Kindle, bookstores suffered. An already suffering Borders closed up shop. I would imagine mom & pop bookstores are also suffering. I’m not going to lie. When Kindle first came out, I didn’t jump on that bandwagon. I LOVE books. If you know me, then you know I read all the time and giving me a book is like giving me a diamond ring. Well, okay a little extreme, but only a little. After I got my Nook, it is hard for me to read any other way. It’s so easy.

The Nook Tablet is now out. It is doing really well, so Amazon needs to make a move. The move was to get exclusive rights on ebooks. Some people might be thinking it’s to encourage the Lending Library. In a small way it is, but the Lending Library was created in the first place because all other ereaders can borrow books directly from their city libraries. Having exclusive rights on ebooks ensures to Amazon that they will have more books than the other ereaders. Plain and simple. They are AT&T. The Kindle was no longer better, so they needed a new strategy. Is it wrong? No, it’s business. They are enticing author’s exclusivity for an unguaranteed, seemingly large amount of money. Is it worth it? Maybe. It won’t guarantee you money. It may give you more exposure, but what about the lost sales from B&N or iPad. Perhaps for book releases, this might be something to entertain. A new release comes out 3 months early just on Kindle and then put it for sale elsewhere. To me though, there are other ways to get free marketing without sacrificing the availability of my ebook to all platforms. My fans are more than just on the Kindle. I couldn't say, "Well, you can read my new release just because you have a Kindle." Even more so, I wouldn't want to tell another fan,  "Even though you are a loyal fan, you can't read my new release until three months from now because you don't have a Kindle." But these are just my thoughts. What's yours?
Lots of <3,
P.S. For more views on this, check out author Elizabeth Ann West's blog.


  1. Hi Jessica! Thanks for tweeting me your blog link. Signing up for KDP is an easy no brainer choice for me because Amazon consists of 99% of my book's sales. I only have sold a handful on B&N and Itunes. Because of this fact, I immediately signed up because of the exposure Amazon provides. :)

    I think you bring up a great idea for other authors who are on the fence with a potential new release. - to release it 90 days with Amazon exclusively, then other book stores.

  2. If that much of your sales comes from Amazon, then that was an easy call for you. :o) My numbers don't lean as heavy on Amazon, so for me to take it off through other channels is not an easy decision.
    Also, I don't believe it would be lucrative for me either. My ebook is not expensive. Kindle Owners only get to borrow one book a month. If I were a Kindle owner, I'd be borrowing those books that are normally $9.99 or around that and read those for free. If that's the case, then my book wouldn't be in those numbers, and I risked sales on other platforms for that.
    I guess it's all just a wait-and-see game. Who knows? Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  3. Jessica, you and I are of a similar mind! :) I wrote about many issues on my blog as well. I will happily trade links to put at the bottom.

    I already see far too many authors wearing Amazon blinders. In reality, it's such a small percentage of English speakers who read ebook even have access to Kindle and Amazon. Not to mention, the Big 6 said "No." three weeks ago to the lending program. That's extremely telling to me that there might be some flaws. I wanted to join it three weeks ago when it was first announced. Instead, Amazon just moved titles in there without the publisher's permission, and now they're getting backlash against that as well.

    The iPhone is a great analogy. I am a Nook person. I love my Nook Touch. First is not always better, and in the iPhone argument one could argue the iPhone is the Nook and the Kindle is the Blackberry... (ooooooh, remember a time when NO ONE thought the Blackberry could possibly lose top dog in the smart phone economy?)

    All of my eggs won't ever be in one basket...

  4. Elizabeth,
    You bring up some great points. Even though it seems ebook is "where the money's at". The majority of people still do not have ereaders. The majority of my overall sales is print books, especially at this time of year. My print book is being sold as Christmas gifts right now. I would imagine ebooks will get a boost after Christmas when people have received ereaders as gifts. The Nook tablet is among this year's hottest gifts, and although you can get a Kindle App, they make it so easy to buy from b&n. As you stated, having all your eggs in one basket may equal huge losses.

    You could certainly argue between the blackberry and iphone, but I was referring mostly to the touch screen phenomena. :o) But you are correct with the Blackberry. My hubby's company always used Blackberry and now everyone has iPhones and they don't do what they needed them to do. It's funny.

    I would be happy to trade links with you. Gonna go update my post now. :o)

  5. I admire your analagy. Unfortunately, I don't have anything up at Amazon yet. My ebook was offered free through Smashword's premium chanel. Now, I'm waiting for two outlets to note that I'm now charging for the book before I can upload to Amazon. But once I can go ahead and publish there, I doubt I'll opt into the lending library program. I, like you, think readers will borrow the more expensive books.

    P.S. I'm willing to swap links, too, if you'd like.