03 Feb 2012

KDP Select is becoming a hot topic for self published authors. The decision to commit your eBook to Amazon on an exclusive basis, can have an effect on both sales, and sales ranking elsewhere, and therefore needs careful consideration.

So, here are some basic facts, and links to more information, including blog posts from participating authors.

What is KDP Select? Who can borrow books for free?

Amazon customers in the USA, who subscribe to Prime membership, have access to the Kindle Lending Library, and can borrow participating eBooks for free. Authors who enrol their books into the programme (via Amazon’s KDP Select scheme) will be paid if their eBook is borrowed, but the rate is not fixed.

From the Amazon website, KDP Select section:

How is my share of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library fund calculated?

Your share of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Fund is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles. For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000, the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000, and your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 for that month.

If my books are distributed in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, can customers still buy it?

Yes, your books will still be available for anyone to buy in the Kindle Store, like they’ve always been, and you will continue to earn royalties from those sales like you do today.

What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle?

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During the period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for more information.

Amazon KDP Select FAQ’s link : http://bit.ly/kdpselectfaqs


Although there is no published figure for the total number of Prime Members for Amazon.com, the estimate most recently seen is 5 million members. How many of these own a Kindle, is not known, but Amazon shared this information about December activity, in a press release on Jan 12 2012.

“The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is off to a strong start: customers borrowed 295,000 KDP Select titles in December alone, and KDP Select has helped grow total library selection to over 75,000 books. With the $500,000 December fund, KDP authors have earned $1.70 per borrow. In response to strong customer adoption of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (as well as seasonal, post-holiday use of new Kindles), Amazon.com, Inc. has added a $200,000 bonus to the January KDP Select fund, raising the total pool from $500,000 to $700,000.”

More about the Amazon Press Release here: http://bit.ly/JanKDPpr

How are participating authors doing?

Reports are appearing, as writers share their thoughts on the process, and results.

Carolyn McCray is a grateful recipient, but presents an objective view in her excellent post;

“Utilizing KDP Select’s tools has worked for me. I leapt into five-figure monthly royalties and was announced as one of the top ten authors in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for the month of December.

I could sing the praises of the program all day long, but it would not help you decide if the program was right for you.”

More at www.publishingperspectives.com

Update from Carolyn McCray March 27. 2012 on the Digital Book World website:  ” Does Leveraging “Free” Give-Aways Increase Royalties?”

The Short Answer: Yes.

The Long Answer: Only if you know what you are doing.

I am not going to wade into the esoteric debate of whether or not you should give a book you have worked on for months and months (sometimes years and years) away for free. I’m just not that kind of esoteric girl.

To me, “free” is simply one more price point available, especially through KDP Select, to help increase my royalties.

So now the only question we must answer is…Does free work? Does it generate more royalties?

For me and everyone else I work with, yes.

Since I love math and real numbers so much, let me give you some examples.

This month I participated in a Free Par-Tay where several dozen authors banded together and pooled resources. I gave away (across eight books) 100,000 copies.

See the whole post here..

GE Johnson posts:

“The honest truth is that you may see a decline in sales. WAIT! DON’T PANIC! Just take a moment to consider some basics of supply and demand by asking yourself one question: why would a reader pay for my book with so many free books available? Now, let’s think about a few things…”

More on 90 Days in the Machine – My Journey through the KDP Select Program

David Gaughran, author of the excellent book Let’s Get Digital, gives his own views and hosts a couple of guest posts on the subject;

Patrice Fitzgerald is one of the guest authors, she says..

“Dave asked me to share my wildly successful experience with the KDP Select program and my judicious use of free days – five such days being allowed during the 90-day period of exclusivity required when signing up for KDP Select. I have to confess that I have suddenly become very popular amongst fellow writers who are dying to know the secret of my high sales numbers, and the lunch and dinner invitations are pouring in along with requests to pick my brain.

And why are they asking me? I made my political thriller, RUNNING, free on December 23rd, and since then this single title has seen 12,000+ free downloads, 1,600+ sales (many at $7.99), and 750+ borrows.”

More at davidgaughran.wordpress.com

Karen Baney gives some excellent practical advice for writers who are thinking of enrolling books on KDP Select, on her website;

“I recently gave Kindle Select a try and enjoyed some pretty amazing results.  I offered my new romance novel, Nickels, free for a Wed. and Thurs.  During those days, it had over 29,500 downloads in 6 countries.  It ranked #3 on overall Kindle Free best seller list, #1 in Kindle Free Fiction, #1 in Religious Fiction, and #1 in Contemporary Romance.”

More at http://www.karenbaney.com/archives/1519

We would be very interested to hear your comments.

Are you thinking of trying out one or more of your books on KDP Select?

We will update this post, when more information starts to come in about 2012 performance.

2 Responses

  1. Postscript… There are lots of blog posts talking about this subject, here is another view from @alanbaxter which was tweeted by @TheCreativePenn

    “Amazon are forcing exclusivity and using sweet, sweet cookies to lure authors into snubbing every other retailer. Then you find out that the cookie is made of mud and dog crap” more here http://bit.ly/ycDlv3