What is KDP Select?
KDP Select is a free and optional program available to authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to publish their Kindle eBook. It is available on a book-by-book basis and it does not apply to print books. Kindle eBooks enrolled in KDP Select for the mandatory 90-day term must be exclusive to the Amazon Kindle store and cannot be sold in any other store, nor can they be sold on an author’s website, or given away free by the author.
Is KDP Select worth it?
Our research and experience indicate that books and authors with one or more of these 3 characteristics should consider enrolling their book in KDP Select (again, KDP Select is for individual books—an author does not have to enroll all their Kindle eBooks).
- Books by authors who do not have a large and/or broad existing readership.
- Books by new authors, or authors who publish infrequently.
- Books classified as genre or popular fiction (crime, fantasy, mystery, romance, science fiction, thriller, western, inspirational, historical fiction and horror).
Keep in mind that the exclusivity requirement is 90-days. You can unenroll and sell your eBook in any other store, including your website after this period.
What are the KDP Select pros and cons?
The bottom line is whether the features of KDP Select outweigh the potential for sales in other stores. Amazon is by far the largest eBook retailer in the United States so consider who your book appeals to along with these pros and cons.
Pros—why enroll your eBook in KDP Select
- Most importantly, your eBook is part of Kindle Unlimited (KU), Amazon’s all-you-can-read subscription program (like Netflix, but for books). These are voracious readers, primarily female, who pay a $9.99/month to borrow and read as many books as they like. This is valuable exposure for books that might not be otherwise read since there is no cost or risk to KU subscribers to try new books.
- Your eBook is also part of Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). Kindle and Fire device owners can borrow one eBook for free per month. Payment to the author is handled the same way as it is for Kindle Unlimited.
- As the author, you receive payment for each page someone reads (for details, see KDP Select Global Fund below under Resources).
- You can choose one of two marketing benefits
during each 90-day period.
- Free Book Promotions: Discount your book to free for 5 1-day periods. These can be consecutive or scheduled for individual days.
- Kindle Countdown Deals. A single, limited time discount promotion lasting between one hour and 7 days.
- Your enrolled eBook will be eligible for the 70% royalty when sold to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
Cons—the downsides of enrolling your eBook in KDP Select
- The income from readers borrowing your book may not exceed the income from sales on Amazon.
- Your income from Amazon may not exceed the income from sales in other stores because your book must be exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle store during the 90-day period.
How does KDP Select work?
You can signup for KDP Select at any time. The 90-day clock begins when you signup, or your book becomes available for sale in the Kindle store (if, for example, you enrolled your book during the pre-order period).
There are 2 ways to enroll:
- Enroll when you add your book to the Kindle store.
- Find your book in your account and hover your mouse over the 3 dots to the right of the “actions” button (see below). A menu will pop-up with various options; select Enroll in KDP Select or Promote and Advertise. If enrolled, the options are KDP Select Info and Promote and Advertise.
Strategies and further considerations
KDP Select is a marketing tool and potentially a source of revenue. Many books can make as much or more money for an author by being borrowed by readers rather than purchased.
If you are still deciding, it pays to be aware of a few other points. These are in no specific order:
- You may have readers that prefer other stores, or you might want to sell your eBook directly from your website—at least for a period of time. (Especially true during the initial launch of your book.) Go ahead, do this and then join KDP Select. No one will be left out and you won’t run afoul of Amazon’s rules for exclusivity.
- If you price your book at 99 cents and it’s a long book, you may make more money from a borrow than from a sale if people read the whole book.
- If you have a series of books, treat your first book as a marketing tool and sell it everywhere. Most eBook readers have an Amazon account even if they buy eBooks from Apple or B&N.
- Removing an eBook from other online stores can take longer than you expect. This can take days or weeks so plan ahead. It can be time consuming to switch back and forth.
- KDP Select is pre-configured to auto-renew. Uncheck the renewal box if you are planning to cancel and “go wide” but keep in mind that there are rules requiring enrollment if you plan to use the free marketing programs near the end of your 90-day term.
- More readers means more opportunities to get Amazon customer reviews for your book.
KDP Select Global Fund author payments. Each month Amazon sets aside millions of dollars to be paid to authors whose books are read by members of Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library. Click here to learn how royalties are calculated and reported.
These readers are eligible to borrow and read your books for free:
- Kindle Unlimited (KU)
- Kindle Owners Lending Library (discontinued in 2021)
KDP Select marketing programs:
Carefully study program rules before planning how to use these.
Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions
Click here to read the KDP terms and conditions. See the last section titled: Terms and Conditions for KDP Select Program.
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