As you probably already know an eBook that is part of the KDP Select program cannot be sold through any other store—including your own website—for a 90 day period. Committing to a single store, even if it is Amazon, is a tough decision for many publishers. But for new authors, or those that published an eBook that is not selling well, it can make a lot of sense.
Why? Because Amazon has the best marketing tools for new publishers, and new publishers, especial first book authors, need all the help they can get. Your challenge at this stage is to get read. It is also important to note that more than 85% of small publisher eBook sales come via Amazon.
Innovation is another Amazon strong point. Consider the recent expansion of the KDP Select program, Kindle Countdown Deals. Now publishers don’t have to give away copies of their books for free, they can charge a discounted price instead.
Before you Begin
This is a fast changing industry so I strongly recommend you read your Bookbaby contract and perhaps even double check with Amazon about any current requirements. This is especially important if your book has reviews and a respectable sales rank. (Of course if your book is selling well why rock the apple cart?)
Step 1: Read your contract terms.
Begin by reading and complying with the Bookbaby Terms of Service found in the footer of the Bookbaby website. Currently the key sections are 3. Term and 7. Right to Withdraw Material but you should read the entire document to be certain nothing has changed.
Step 2: Record your selling information.
Go into your Bookbaby listing and copy down all your listing information EXACTLY the way it is entered. This includes: author info, title, subtitle, ISBN (if any), description, category (they call it subject), keywords, publish date and any other details. This is critical (see Step 5).
Step 3: Make sure you have your files.
Be sure you have your eBook files because you’ll need the Mobi file for Amazon. (Click on the downloads link for your title. If AuthorImprints created your EPUB and Mobi files then you already have those.)
Step 4: Email Bookbaby to stop distributing your eBook and monitor the stores.
The necessary email address is in section 3 and they commit in section 7 to cancelling distribution accounts within 5 days. This should not be taken to mean your book will be off those other sites within 5 days. I’ve read that it can take weeks for these other retailers to remove your books from their store.
Step 5: Publish your Kindle eBook with Kindle Direct Publishing.
As soon as your eBook has been removed from the Kindle store, setup your new KDP account. Using the same exact information you copied from your Bookbaby listing and upload the same book cover and the mobi eBook file. Here is what Amazon says:
If you republish a book as a new submission, you'll lose the sales rank for this book, but customer reviews associated with the original submission will transfer to the new submission as long as all of the book details match exactly.
Step 6: When to join KDP Select.
Technically you don’t want join the program until you are sure your book is no longer for sale on any other website. If you do you will receive a notice from Amazon and you could have your eBook removed from their store. They will find out!
But nothing is stopping you from selling your eBook in the Amazon Kindle store!
Bookbaby continues to be a great way to get your eBook(s) into a lot of eBookstores without a lot of effort. In fact it’s the only way for some stores. Some of these stores have a good international presence and if you are a popular author it is important to have your book(s) in as many stores as possible regardless of a store's current market share.
But if you are just starting out, or you decide to return to Bookbaby, I recommend setting up direct distribution arrangements with the big stores and using Bookbaby for the remaining stores. You’ll have faster access to reports and complete control over the all-important metadata used to market your books. You should also watch this video on the difference between direct distribution and using aggregators (like Bookbaby and Smashwords).
photo credit: Gonzalo Merat via photopin cc