Making the Switch to Amazon KDP Select: Why I’m Doing It

The Internet is in stitches over Amazon’s announcement and implementation of Kindle Unlimited. What does this mean for the publishing industry? Libraries? Authors? Will readers jump on the bandwagon and spend the $9.99 a month for access to thousands of books every month?

The truth is, we don’t know yet.

Pieces of it All has previously been available on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The book has only been out since May, and while I wish the response would have been much more than it was, I’m not disappointed. I’ve sold books on Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble. Nada on Kobo. However, I haven’t sold enough on iBooks and Barnes and Noble for them to even cut me a check.

When Kindle Unlimited first was announced, I was irate. I already was fairly irritated by Oyster Books. “The Netflix for Books” it was called. Guess what? There’s also a little something called a library in your local community you can support. And guess what? They have books you can take home for free. On top of that, they offer educational programs for free or at a minimal cost. The fact people would support a monthly book program and compete with libraries upset me greatly.

I got to thinking. Most people who buy books every month don’t use their library as often as others, probably. Those people that will invest in Oyster Books or Kindle Unlimited may or may not have been supporting their library, anyway. Whether they are or aren’t, it’s not my business, and it’s not my business to judge how they want to receive their books either. I’m sure many people don’t know you can actually borrow e-books from your local library.

As an author, I want as many people as possible to read my books. This means I should have my book available on as many vendor sites as possible. Growing my readership among Nook, Kobo, and iBooks readers is important. However, the return is not there. It’s just not. There is a threshold of royalties that must be earned before you can see payment from the vendors, and I’m not close on those other sites. Amazon has been my best seller – as it is for most.

I’m self-published. I don’t have a large publishing company, or even an agent, backing me. I’m not a large seller. The lowest ranking I’ve achieved on Amazon was in the 24K range, and that was for a day. My books are not in demand. I hope one day, that will change. Until then, I need to think about what works for me right now.

Amazon is awesome. Amazon sucks. It’s a love/hate relationship. They are easy to buy from, and I’ve always been successful with their customer service, but they don’t support authors necessarily as much as they think they do. In order to get your book really out there, they want you to enroll in KDP Select – their author program which commits you to sell your book through Amazon exclusively. Those in KDP tend to have their books pop up more for recommendations, and therefore, more visibility. Amazon is forever playing with their algorithms and this affects sales rank and everything. Once an author thinks they figured it out, they change it again (much like Facebook and their irritating refusal to allow people to like your page to actually see your posts).

The thing that a lot of authors despise about Amazon is their return policy for e-books. There pretty much isn’t one. I believe it’s 7 days. This means that someone can buy a book, read it in a day or two, and return it for a refund. Authors have been trying for quite a long time to get Amazon to implement a certain percentage read point before returns are not allowed. If someone buys a book and reads to a pre-determined percentage read, that person can no longer return the book. This seems more than fair. If someone wants to “borrow” a book, then go to the damn library.

With the Kindle Unlimited program, once a book is read through a certain point, the author sees royalty. That’s great! But, wait … if they can determine this, can’t they also determine someone who purchased a book, has read the entire book before allowing a return? Or, in the case of accidental pressing the progress bar and pushing the mark to the end point of the book, allow only one return every six months if the entire book has been read? Clearly, Amazon has the capability.

All this is a little bit off the subject, but important just the same. So, why am I making the switch? While I’m not getting added exposure on the other vendor sites, hopefully I will have more opportunities to be seen on the site, therefore gaining more readers. The initial sign on is 90 days. If I don’t see any difference in sales, I can simply not renew my KDP Select and move back to the other vendors in addition to Amazon. Also, it may or may not work for Pieces of it All, but it may for another one. Each book will perform differently and I may need to change up the marketing for each individual release. Only time will tell.

Today is the last day to get Pieces of it All  on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Monday morning, or late this evening, I will begin removing the book from the other platforms. If you would like to purchase through one of these other avenues, do it now. If you know someone who reads only with Nook, iBooks, or Kobo and wants to read it, let that person know, or gift it to them!

Happy Reading!