Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Why I'm Choosing Not To Be On KDP Select

Here is the rub we authors must contend with - to KDP Select or not to KDP Select, that is the question! (with apologies to Shakespeare) For my part, I have chosen NOT to include my debut novel, BLOODGIFTED, in this selective Amazon program even knowing I will be penalised for that decision by receiving only 35% royalties instead of 70% in some lucrative markets - India, Brazil, Mexico and Japan.
But, that's my choice. I live in a democratic nation and I'm used to that.
So, why have I opted out? I have pragmatic as well as ethical reasons.

1. I was always taught never to "put your eggs in the one basket."
Why risk your hard earned book(s) with only one distributor? Should something happen and Amazon comes crashing down - yes, the Titanic can sink! - so would your only market place. It's the same as placing all your money into one investment scheme, which as any stockbroker will tell you, is a risky thing to do.  I don't believe in risk taking.

2. I mistrust exclusivity - there's ALWAYS a catch!
With Amazon's KDP Select the catch is, you must withdraw your book from ALL OTHER distributors, thereby limiting the visibility of your book - and it's selling power. It's literally taking away your choice to have your book visible on every other online retailer - Sony, Apple iTunes, Barnes and Noble, KOBO, Smashwords...etc.
It's a fabulously effective way to destroy their competitors and become the monopoly I believe they're aiming to be.
I don't trust monopolies for the same reason I hate dictatorships.
A democracy is held accountable and responsible by having a firm opposition. The same is true for business. Competition breeds a healthy economy. Limit that in either sphere and you end up with a dictatorship in one, and an avaricious monopoly dictating prices in the other.
So, to increase the selling power of your book, you need to have it with several online retailers, and never in just the one. Put your book on Amazon AND Smashwords. 

3. Readers have their favourite forums from which they choose their books.
Some people prefer to buy their books only from Apple, while others head straight to B&N or KOBO... etc.They wouldn't even look at another retailer. That's customer loyalty. By being exclusively in the KDP Select program, an author is not only limiting their book's exposure, but ignoring more than 60% of the reader population.
Recent stats have shown that Apple is now second only to Amazon in their sale of ebooks. Therefore, you really need to be with both.
So, here's my book on the Smashwords site - BLOODGIFTED, Book 1 of the Danotnville Legacy 

4. I don't like being pressured into opting into a program by threats of lower royalties. 
Such an action usually produces the opposite effect on me. So, call me a rebel!
I figure the lower royalties I earn with Amazon, will be offset by the number of sales I'll receive by keeping my book with Smashwords, and having it distributed to a host of other online retailers.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't distribute with Amazon at all. That wouldn't be productive either. In many ways I think they're excellent. Just click on the link above and you'll see it leads to my book's page on their site. But, don't be exclusively with them, as you won't be doing yourself or your book a favour.

All I can say is,
Long live competition!


M. E. Franco said...

I agree with you Tima. I did KDP Select for a time. It didn't improve my sales, and limited my exposure as you pointed out. Even thought I get the vast majority of my sales on Amazon, it wasn't worth it to pull my book off other sites.

James W. Lewis said...

I also agree. I tried it last year, but ultimately decided wide distribution was best for me. I did a BookBub promotion with my book on multiple channels. Because of wide distribution, I was able to sell 1,000 books in one day (including Amazon, B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc).

Tima Maria said...

Michelle, your experience verifies my decision! My book's only been a week on Amazon, and time will tell if being with other distributors will yield good results.

Tima Maria said...

James, that Bookbub promotion sounds amazing! Congratulations! And being with multiple online retailers is certainly the better decision. Thanks for the feedback.