Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author


I … am thinking … of going with KDP select

KDP select means

a) my books would be available solely on Amazon.

b) my books could be borrowed and royalties paid on a pages-read basis.

(a) is a disadvantage, but I switched Black Dog to KDP select in order to make it free for five days back in December. And you know what? (b) is very decidedly making up for (a). Sales through all other channels have never been at all high. Pages-read in January and February was a lot more noticeable in terms of income.

I know I have one reader who comments here who buys from Kobo. No doubt there are a scattering of others. But … those pages-read royalties are definitely something to think about.

Comment, please. How many of you would even notice if I switched everything to Amazon exclusively?

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25 Comments I … am thinking … of going with KDP select

  1. Van

    I guess I’m a weirdo. I read WOIAI as a paper book. It’s this thing about the size of a Kindle, but it’s made out of paper.

    But I do have to admit, these days most of my new nook discoveries are in the Kindle bookstore.

  2. Mary Beth

    I use Amazon exclusively as well, and have frequently borrowed books through the Unlimited program. But I’ll buy whatever you write, so not exactly a test case. :)

  3. Hanneke

    I’m not in the Amazon or Kindle ecosystem, so that would mean I can’t get your new books anymore.
    I would miss them, but as you say, if it’s only one sale and more than offset by the extra income it makes economic sense to go with the Amazon option.

    I truly abhor the monopsonist power Amazon is gathering, how they use that power to ruin other businesses so the only option left is them, and the way they then treat their warehouse workers. But they do take care that their business model looks attractive to consumers and content producers, so it’s very logical that people choose to go with Amazon. I can’t expect my European abhorrence of monopolists and monopsonists to weigh in that balance.

  4. Pete Mack

    I have mostly moved to BN/Nook for my ebook purchases, partially because kindle Apps have too many bells and whistles that don’t quite work, and partly because BN’s bricks and mortar stores are much better than Amazon’s (which only sell various styles of bestseller in a too-hip-for-you environment.) Bottom line: I don’t like monopolies, and I would at the very least delay any purchases that use them.

  5. Irina

    If your books become Amazon-only I won’t be able to read them. I’m avoiding Amazon like the plague until they stop abusing their workers.

  6. Evelyn M. Hill

    Hanneke & Irina — If it’s in KDP select, only the ebook is exclusive. The paperback would still be available for purchase elsewhere.

    I put my second book in KDP Select the month after my first book was traditionally published, in the hope that maybe it might ride on the Trad book’s coat tails (or also boughts). It’s not setting the world on fire in terms of sales, but it’s been slowly gathering momentum (and page reads) in KDP Select.

  7. Rachel

    Hanneke, I was definitely thinking of you in particular as a reason to hesitate with this move.

    After reading all your comments, I’m thinking of using 2018 to try it both ways — three months on Kindle Select, three months off, and repeat. That should give me a much better idea of how my income flow looks each way.

    I don’t want to exclude any potential readers and I REALLY don’t want to throw obstacles in the way of current readers. Evidently it is against the terms of service to give free ebook copies to anyone but professional reviewers if your book is enrolled in Kindle Select. One potential solution is either to routinely take books out of Kindle Select for part of each year. Another possible solution … once again I’m thinking of you, Hanneke … is to invite established commenters to pay me the ebook price directly, send them a paper copy, and eat the price difference. If the royalties are much better with Kindle Select, I may choose to do that.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one Big Tech firm gets hit with antitrust proceedings and broken up, one of these days. But … not sure I can personally afford to get on that particular high horse.

    Thanks for your feedback! I am pretty sure I will do an on-again-off-again thing this year and see what kind of data that gives me.

  8. Katy K.

    189 of the 222 books I read last year came from the library, though working at the library, I can also make sure they buy the books I want to read. If I read ebooks, I read them through Overdrive or Hoopla. If I buy a book, I want it in a format I can share with friends, so if you weren’t available in print, that would be tough for me. But if print access stays the same and this would only affect digital sales, you should definitely go with what will earn you the most.

  9. Rachel

    I think print access would be the same. I was trying out the paper book via the new KDP function for paperbacks, but if it doesn’t turn out to be as widely available, I can certainly go back to CreateSpace immediately.

  10. Hanneke

    If I could buy the paper edition from my bookstore or you, I’d pay the print edition price (plus postage, if I have to buy from you) – I don’t want you to have to subsidize me because I love reading your books; it’s your livelyhood (well, beside the teaching). But I’d try buying it through the ABC bookstore in Amsterdam first, as otherwise postage would be more than the book itself.

    Would sending an e-ARC (of your own files, before uploading to Amazon) to a few established commenters as beta-readers be prohibited by Amazon, if the reader donated something for it directly to you through PayPal or something like that? I’d be willing to provide an additional proofreading-pass to make it aboveboard.

  11. Andrea

    When KDP Select came in I chose not to go with it and noticed an immediate drop in sales. On a sales/monetary basis, it’s definitely the smarter short-term decision. Or, at the least, starting off in Select, and then going wide after a couple of months.

    I don’t use it because I know there are places where readers literally are not able to buy from Amazon, and because long-term I’d rather have more than one ebook vendor surviving.

  12. Evie

    I pretty much only buy ebooks from Amazon now. Honestly KD will be a good model to get people to try your books. I try a lot of books I normally wouldn’t bc I have kindle unlimited… if I don’t like it, I stop.

  13. Rachel

    Hanneke, that is brilliant. Sending out “beta copies” before releasing the ebook ought to avoid any possible problem with the terms of service. Also, there is no such thing as too many proofreading passes.

    Andrea, do you think it would work differently to start in Select for three months and then go broad for the next three months, versus the other way around? I was thinking of going broad first and then Select, but I’m not sure. I will definitely switching back and forth this year to see how it looks each way.

    Evie, thanks for your feedback.

  14. Bianca

    I also buy from kobo and ebook.de rather than amazon (being located in europe but wanting books in english means I prefer ebooks due to ease of buying) also I prefer epub. I would miss your books if you go amazon only but would understand if it makes economic sense. However I wonder if by switching back and forth between wide and amazon only you would lose even more potential non amazon readers as if they don’t find the book when they look while it is amazon only they may not know to check again later for when it reappears.
    I have never commented before but thank you for your books I have enjoyed them.

  15. Pete Mack

    Long tail concept suggests go for the higher profit (like hardcover) first, then add other versions. So KDP first, followed by non-exclusive. The people who are willing to buy KDP will do so. The people who are not at all willing will come around for the second version.

  16. Rachel

    Thanks for your feedback, Bianca. I’m glad you like my books and hope I work something out so that no one needs to miss out. I expect you’re right about some readers giving up or forgetting to check back if a book just doesn’t seem to be available. I can be sure to announce changes in my newsletter, which may help. I can see it’s going to be tricky no matter what.

  17. Andrea

    “Andrea, do you think it would work differently to start in Select for three months and then go broad for the next three months, versus the other way around? I was thinking of going broad first and then Select, but I’m not sure. I will definitely switching back and forth this year to see how it looks each way.”

    Going wide and then exclusive has some difficulties because it can take some time for the other vendors to take down the books, and Amazon can get very shirty about exclusivity. But the long-term benefits of being in the Select lending library does make it more sensible in many ways.

    Swapping back and forth increases the issues of books going up and down, so I generally think it’s best to do the change once, whichever option is chosen.

  18. Rachel

    Thanks for your advice, Andrea. I think this year will be a testing year for me, and then maybe I will be able to make a firm decision. What you say about starting in Select to avoid possible inadvertent violations of KDP’s terms of service makes perfect sense. I would definitely prefer not to have problems of that kind.

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