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?