My Month of Amazon KDP Select

It is just over a month since Amazon announced KDP Select, opening their Kindle Owners Lending Library to independent publishers.  After deliberating the pros and cons, I took the plunge, giving the program a try.  It has certainly been interesting!

Today, Amazon announced the results of the program so far.  First, I’ll share my experience with the program during this month.

After I signed up my techno thriller Counting from Zero, reluctantly saying goodbye to Smashwords, I didn’t have long to wait – the borrows started happening immediately.  After Christmas, I saw another wave of borrows, presumably new Kindle owners.  Then, in the first few days of the month, another surge.  (I presume this means that borrows are done on a calendar month rather than 30 day periods.  If this is true, we will often see lots of borrows at the start of the month.)

In the 3 weeks of December KDP Select was active, for my eBook, borrows represented 18% of Amazon activity (sales plus borrows).  For January so far, the percentage is about 16%, but with higher numbers of both sales and borrows.  I’d estimate overall sales seem to be up about 25% since Christmas.  Since my sales have increased but my sales ranking has not, this seems to be a general trend, at least in my category.  So, looking at my numbers, since the non-Amazon eBooks sales I gave up to participate in KDP Select only accounted for 5% of my total sales, I appear to be ahead of the game, at least in terms of numbers.  But the question was what would publishers get paid for borrows?  Amazon did not commit to any royalty rate when the program was launched, instead saying authors would share a $500,000 pot of money based on borrowing numbers.

Amazon answered that question today in announcing that KDP Select authors will receive $1.70 for each borrow in December, based on 295,000 borrows in December.  For my relatively low-priced eBook of $2.99, this isn’t much lower than my normal royalty for a sale, which is about $2.  I have yet to try out a free book giveaway day, so I can’t share my experience with this aspect of KDP Select, but I hope to soon.

So, one month in, I do not regret my decision to give KDP Select a try.  I see no reason why I won’t renew (re-enlist?) in two more months. However, I am still unhappy about the exclusivity requirement, as are many other independent publishers.  Amazon, if you are paying attention, this requirement just stinks and you should drop it.

How was your month with KDP Select?

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  1. #1 by impactbooksandart on January 16, 2012 - 11:35 pm

    The KDP Select program should be tweaked some-as I am sure it will be, meanwhile, I am glad to know it appears to be working for authors!
    Thank you for the information.

    Sara Niles

    • #2 by Alan B. Johnston on January 17, 2012 - 5:45 pm

      Hi Sara! Yes, the program isn’t perfect, but it is interesting, and so far it is working for me. Of course, everyone’s situation is unique, and I can certainly see how it would not be a good fit for some indie authors. It will be very interesting to see how it develops and grows. The exclusivity requirement is most troublesome – it would be great if Amazon would fix this.

  2. #3 by impactbooksandart on January 19, 2012 - 2:28 pm

    I suppose from Amazon’s point of view-they are giving millions of dollars worth of promotion value to the KDP authors in exchange for the promise that the book will only be on Amazon-at least for 90 days….and within that 90 days many indie authors have been launched….from what I have read on the Kindle boards-a large percentage of authors are ‘reenlisting’ 2 and 3 times just for the promotional exposure benefits.

    Now, with that being said, the exclusivity may hurt some authors who already are doing a lot of busines with other outlets or off their own websites and if they only have one book then the Amazon KDP program may not be for them.
    I just joined the program with a few of my new releases-here is the latest one:
    Free for 3 more days

    I will see for myself, smile

  3. #4 by Alan B. Johnston on January 19, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    You make some valid points about the exclusivity – it isn’t forever, and if it doesn’t work for an author, they can jump ship then. Good luck with your book – hope the free promotion is successful for you!

  4. #5 by Sara Niles on January 20, 2012 - 2:09 am

    Thank you!
    I will report on it later.

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