For those of you already interested in Kindle Publishing, you have probably wondered whether or not enrolling in KDP select is the right course of action for you and your business.
If you have yet to begin the amazing journey that is Kindle Publishing, then you may have never heard of KDP select.
So, What is it?
KDP select is a programme that Amazon put in place, which is meant to benefit both Kindle publishers as well as consumers of Kindle books!
Basically, Kindle customers can opt to pay a monthly fee (which is called Kindle Unlimited) and in exchange they can ‘borrow’ as many books as they like- however, this only applies to books that have been enrolled into the KDP select programme.
For publishers, KDP select is an optional programme, and if you choose to enrol, you will be rewarded in the form of a minimal fee per page read.
The History of KDP Select
When I first began my Kindle publishing journey back in May 2015, the select programme was an entirely different beast than it is to day.
You basically got paid a fee per borrow (usually around $1.40) which was great. However, some of the authors of long, high quality books began to complain that many low quality, short reads were being published and were receiving the same price per download as they were. Fair comment.
This once when Amazon introduced their new system. The pay per page system. This meant that longer books would be rewarded much higher than short books, providing they were high quality enough to keep the reader enthralled until the end of the book.
The trouble was, a lot of short book publishers, children’s authors and image based books such as cookery books, lost a lot of revenue overnight.
This was when the fun and games began!
A lot of these publishers decided to play the system a little, and began stuffing their short 8000 word book, with 30 or 40 bonus books. No problem here, however, they then began to put a link at the front of the book, telling the reader to click to take them to the very end of the book to get yet another bonus. When the reader clicked, the publisher was then credited for every page in between. They called it the 10x method, and in most ways it was GENIUS!
However, as you can imagine, Amazon weren’t keen on this. It was cheating the system, and exposing a loophole that they seemingly hadn’t considered when they set up the system.
All of a sudden, accounts were being closed, left, right and centre! It was a crazy week in the world of Kindle publishing with thousands and thousands lost in royalties.
When something new comes about in publishing, I tend to sit back for a short while and see what happens before I take the plunge, and on this, I am pleased I did. Don’t get me wrong it was tempting, some of the guys I had trained with had made HUGE sums of money in one month, but I had a feeling the bubble may burst on this one, and that it did!
So as it stands right now, people are still stuffing their titles with bonus books. This is not against Amazons terms (for now) and it creates longer borrows, however, links from the front to the back of the book, offering free bonuses are not allowed.
So Should I Enrol in KDP Select?
KDP Select provides some amazing benefits.
Firstly, if you are enrolled in KDP Select, you are able to offer your book on free promotion for 5 days in any three month period.
The more of your books you ‘giveaway’ in this free promotion, the higher in the rankings it becomes when it goes back to paid status. Which means more people can find your book and you earn more money.
I often use the free promotion period to give a book a boost when it starts to drop in ranking. This to me is invaluable, although temporary.
It has been said that if you enrol in KDP Select that you get better exposure when your book first goes live. Now, Amazons algorithms aren’t something I would have a clue about starting to figure out, but from all my own findings I do believe this could be true.
There are also hundreds of Kindle readers that will only ‘borrow’ books if they are paying for Kindle Unlimited. So it opens up a whole other customer base you would not otherwise have access to.
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to KDP Select, and the huge one, is that your book has to be exclusive to Amazon if you enrol.
Kindle is by far the largest platform for ebooks, however, you can still sell on Amazon and not enrol in their ‘kindle borrowing’ system. So now the payout for this service is on a pay page read payout (and less than half a cent per page at present) is it really worth losing the opportunity to sell on other platforms?
Well, that depends. It depends on many factors including the length of your book, how many borrows you get, whether you have any other marketing driven towards your book and whether it works in your niche and market.
It may be that your market is romance, in which case you have a lot of avid readers who devour books and therefore many of them pay the monthly fee to borrow books, however, if you are in non fiction, you may be better with paid sales only.
The only way to truly know if it’s worthwhile for your business, is to test the market.
To do this take two of your books in the same niche, and ideally of a similar length.
The first, publish as normal as you would, enrolling on KDP select.
The second, publish on Kindle, but do not enrol in KDP Select. Instead, list it on Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc.
After a week, take a look at your results. All in all, which book made you the most money. How did you do on the other platforms? Did the sales from the other platforms outweigh the page reads payout from KDP Select. (You can view your page reads in your reports area and then multiply it by last months per page payout from your report to get an idea of this.
You could also think about selling your books via your own website. Long term, this is great, however, in the short term, it can be a little overwhelming maintaining your own website.
Now, if you enrol in KDP select, you cannot sell your books on your own website. You can however, provide links to them on Amazon and use it to advertise your books.
If you don’t enrol you can list your books directly for sale on your website.
Even if you choose not to sell from your own website, I would consider having a blog under your author name where you can talk about what you are up to and what your new releases are, and include links to the Amazon books. (Create a FREE website here)
The great thing about having a website is that you can collect reader email addresses and market your books to them as they are released. This is also an amazing way to get reviews.
Over time, this is very powerful and could replace your KDP Select income once you have an audience in place, but until then, I still believe that KDP Select is a very lucrative programme.
I personally still utilise it, as it’s right for me, but you will need to do some testing to find out if it’s right for you. If you are just starting out especially, its a great help!
I hope this has been of some help.
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