UK Amazon Kindle Forum discussion

Author Zone - Readers Welcome! > KDP Select - What do you think?

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message 1: by Darren (new)

Darren Humphries (Darrenhf) | 6736 comments For self-publishing authors, Amazon have just offered a new service. KDP select is a service that has $6 million dollars set aside for authors who enrol in the Kindle Lending Library for their Select Members program.

This apparently allows people to 'borrow' books for their kindles at a monthly rate. The author gets a share of the fund (the aforementioned 6 million in 2012) relative to how often their books are borrowed.

There is free advertising of the books offered as part of the package, but there is also one big limitation.

Any book entered into the program cannot be sold on any other ebook platform other than kindle.

So, is this a widening of the kindle offering or a move to exclusivity? Is it a good thing for an author to have a chance to earn more money or restricting by locking them into an exclusive kindle contract.

Does anyone sell enough through the likes of Smashwords not to take up this offer?

The discussion is open.

message 2: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2710 comments Hmmm, interesting. I've never had much luck with any other platform than Kindle but, to be honest, I've never really tried that hard. Philosophically, I'm against this sort of exclusivity but from a practical point of view, I would have to think about it.

Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4697 comments Thinking about this purely as a statistician, if there is a fixed pot, for this option to be viable for the big sellers it must by definition be piddly for low volume sales. As generally returns are on an escalate with volume I would expect low sales items to take the smallest return. I should Think it will be attractive to authors with a large but stagnant back list.

Of course I could be miles out.

message 4: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (ShaunJeffrey) | 2467 comments I guess it would depend how much an author could make by going exclusive with them. If Amazon actively promote the books, then it could be worth it as their customer base is enormous.

message 5: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2710 comments Shaun wrote: "I guess it would depend how much an author could make by going exclusive with them. If Amazon actively promote the books, then it could be worth it as their customer base is enormous."

Yes, that was the only tempting point about it. The main problem for any Indie author is marketing and this could, potentially, be a real solution to that. This opinion is, of course, based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever in the time-honoured tradition of tabloid journalism ;-)

message 6: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (ShaunJeffrey) | 2467 comments My only problem with joining is that my books are all out there available through multiple venues and it would be too difficult to withdraw them.

message 7: by Steve (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments I publish across all eBook platforms. I can't see what's selling anywhere other than on Amazon or books bought directly from Smashwords, so it's difficult to tell what sales are like elsewhere until the various payments come in. I imagine sales outside of Amazon are going to be comparatively small, though.

That said, I don't like the idea of giving exclusive rights to anyone and it certainly seems like Amazon's motives in offering this is purely to make readers buy Kindles if they want to read certain books/authors. I'm not keen on that idea, morally. As a writer, my main driver is to be read as widely as possible, and I don't like the idea that someone with a non Kindle reader can't read my book if they want to unless they switch to Kindle. They just wouldn't read my book, and who knows who might read your work someday who might otherwise never get to see it because they went with Kobo?

It also seems a bit of a gamble at present as no one knows what the exclusive deal and the advertising that goes with it might do for your work. Will they only push the big names and the books with all the great reviews? Will other books just sit in the system and largely go unnoticed?

I think that whatever your decision, it's one not to be taken lightly.

message 8: by Darren (new)

Darren Humphries (Darrenhf) | 6736 comments One thing is that you don't have to put all your books in there, so I might try this with the next one and see what happens, leaving all the others out there on whatever format.

Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 59579 comments Can you remove the book at some point or are you locked into it forever?
Just curious as I think you mean the second book in a series, Darren? My gut reaction is that the whole e-book thing is still so new and with so many new alternatives coming one might not want to be locked in forever.

I've marked this thread as important for now as I think it's ...well...important. I'll unstick it again at some point...

message 10: by Steve (last edited Dec 08, 2011 08:29AM) (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments You can opt out at any time, Patti.

I've just read through all the FAQs and they do make it sound appealing. I think it would be great for writers with a few books out who want to introduce new readers to their back catalogue. I also think that this could be a death knell for other readers unless Kobo for example has a very good plan to counter it. Amazon are likely to scoop up most of the indie market with this because it does seem like a very good deal, especially as the Kindle is the source of most if not every indie author's revenue.

The problem for someone with one book out there like myself is that to find out if it's any good for me, I'd have to remove that book from distribution elsewhere to find out. They say they'll be publishing author's revenue from the system each month at some point. It will be interesting to see how lesser known/reviewed titles fair.

Morals aside, it's all very tempting - just as Amazon intend it to be.

message 11: by M.A. (last edited Dec 08, 2011 08:06AM) (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) You can opt out within the 90 days but the contract still stands. I'm not doing it. This clause frightens the cr*p out of me.

Your commitment to these terms and conditions is important, and the benefits we provide to you as part of this option are conditioned on your following through on your commitments. If you un-publish your Digital Book, we will remove it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, but you must continue to comply with these commitments, including exclusivity, through the remainder of the Digital Book’s then-current 90-day period of participation in KDP Select. If you don’t comply with these KDP Select terms and conditions, we will not owe you Royalties for that Digital Book earned through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program, and we may offset any of those Royalties that were previously paid against future Royalties, or require you to remit them to us. We may also withhold your Royalty payments on all your Digital Books for a period of up to 90 days while we investigate. This doesn’t limit other remedies we have, such as prohibiting your future participation in KDP Select or KDP generally.

Think it might be Amazon's way of getting rid of the Indies. Yes, I'm cynical but I've seen a lot of cr*p thrown at us this year in one form or another. If I could I'd come away from Amazon with a drop of a hat but...

message 13: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) If those authors books are FREE that means they're going to get most of the proceeds then, doesn't it?

Is it a coincidence that most of those authors signed lucrative contracts with Amazon this year?

Sucks to me!

message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen Lowe | 2192 comments Personally I think my ebooks are cheap enough to buy anyway, so I don't see the point of signing up for such restrictive lending rights. As I'm a v teeny fish in a v large pond, I don't think my decision is going to cause any waves!

message 15: by Maureen (Mews) (new)

Maureen (Mews) (Mews) | 719 comments I wonder if they will ask readers to "sign" up to something to access the lending library. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a small annual fee for readers to use this service.

Can't say it really appeals to me that much right now, as a reader. Most Indie books are under a couple of pounds anyway and the majority of the ones I have read so far are the type of books I would like to keep on my Kindle incase I ever want to re-read them.

message 16: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 1158 comments Bad, bad, bad. A friend had her lawyer look over the Ts & Cs. Exclusivity means any book which could "reasonably" be considered competition. Since most writers write in the same or similar genres/subgenres, this means that a writer could have to take down every single one of their books for sale on other platforms in order to fulfil the exclusivity clause. Personally, wouldn't touch this with a BARGEPOLE.

Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4697 comments And of course lending is only available in the US but it isn't clear if the exclusivity is worldwide but I bet it is. From the la blog it would seem that the big selling authors will clean up and anyone with a small sales base will get diddly squat.

message 18: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) Maureen, as a reader you have to sign up to Amazon Prime, which I think is around $78 per year. I think that Zon is trying to get more readers to sign up to that scheme. What people don't realise is that you can only lend ONE book per month, so why would readers even consider lending an indies book worth 99 cents?

I agree Mhairi, as I stated above when I put that clause up for all to see, if you deem to go against their exclusivity clause and they could KICK you off KDP altogether! ;-(

Gingerlily - The other Stroopwafel Sister! | 35787 comments I can't sign up for Amazon prime. So it would be totally useless for me as a reader.

message 20: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (ShaunJeffrey) | 2467 comments The more people that remove their books from other markets such as Nook means more of those users will be in need of books. I'll stick with selling through all venues possible.

message 21: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (ShaunJeffrey) | 2467 comments And I think my friend, Guido summed it up well:

message 22: by Steve (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments Having considered this carefully, I don't think they're offering enough to demand exclusivity. They offer no direct, regular promotion of any given title - only that you can offer your book for free something like 5 days a month - we can do that anyway through Smashwords. I don't think a title will be borrowed any more than it is currently sold, so whats the point? And they want worldwide exclusivity just to make this available for their lending program in the US market where most UK writer's sales are lower. If they didn't want exclusivity, there would be nothing for the writer to lose as I see it. As it is though, in my opinion, the writer has much to lose with potentially very little or nothing to gain. For that reason, I'm out.

message 23: by Karen (new)

Karen Lowe | 2192 comments Great link, Shaun, thanks.
At the mo it is a US based thing but there's been a bit recently about our own library services lending ebooks so there would be conflict there. What a mess.

message 25: by Steve (last edited Dec 09, 2011 03:15AM) (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments Thanks for posting the link Patti. It's a great article. I also think that Amazon have missed the point of 'independent' authors' and would no doubt like to obliterate the term in favour of 'Amazon authors'.

Here's a scary thought: what if this is just the tip of the iceberg and one day they decide only to publish ebooks exclusively.

message 26: by M.A. (last edited Dec 09, 2011 04:25AM) (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) That's what I thought Steve, which is why I went down the paperback route and most of my tweets nowadays direct people AWAY from Amazon. They've used us Indies all year to get the big 6 to drop their prices and now this!

I'm doing anything and everything to get away from them. ;-)

message 27: by Darren (new)

Darren Humphries (Darrenhf) | 6736 comments Steve wrote: "Here's a scary thought: what if this is just the tip of the iceberg and one day they decide only to publish ebooks exclusively."

I don't think that day is far off. The sheer volume of stuff that is uploaded to Amazon every day means that they don't need to worry about keeping Indies happy. They will always have a supply of material and there have been calls for them to quality control what they offer. They are publishing the short stories in the US and it is a short step from there to 'we only publish books that are exclusive to amazon'.

message 28: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Jenkinson | 6 comments I signed up to it because my books are only on Amazon anyway but I was wondering if someone could clarify something for me. Are the free promotion days worldwide or just in America?

message 29: by Steve (last edited Dec 09, 2011 06:19AM) (new)

Steve Robinson (SteveRobinson) | 2930 comments Catherine wrote: "I signed up to it because my books are only on Amazon anyway but I was wondering if someone could clarify something for me. Are the free promotion days worldwide or just in America?"

They say there will be an Amazon Prime icon/tag against those books that qualify for lending. I've not seen any yet, but as Amazon Prime is just for .com customers for now, I think that while that remains true it will only be for .com as that's the only market to which it will currently apply.

message 30: by Alison (new)

Alison  Buck | 1299 comments Hello all

The KDP Select scheme should perhaps be compared with the PLR scheme that's operated for printed books in the UK for years.

Like KDP Select, the PLR scheme gives writers who have registered a share in a pot of money proportional to the number of times their books are borrowed from a representative group of public libraries.

However, the PLR has two particular advantages over A's version:

> The PLR scheme operates an upper pay out limit per writer.
This means that bestselling authors do not take the lions share and leave the rest with pennies. This upper limit safeguard does not seem to be in place with KDP Select and, as Amazon proudly boasts that it has, "...over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers" signed up, I think it inevitable, as Simon pointed out, that the $500,000 pot will be carved up between the big name writers with lesser known writers getting infinitesimal pay outs.

> The PLR aso does not place any restriction on writers.
Members of the PLR scheme can sell their books anywhere else without penalty. Amazon's proposed restrictive practice seems hard to justify except as a means of squeezing smaller online retailers - to Amazon's advantage.

I'm struggling to find anything useful to indie writers and small publishers in any of this. Worryingly, Amazon seems to be aiming for a position of total domination of the e publishing retail world and, in the long run, such a monopoly situation never works to the public good.

message 31: by Alison (new)

Alison  Buck | 1299 comments Catherine wrote: "... Are the free promotion days worldwide or just in America?"

I think there's been some misunderstanding here. The 'free promotion days' are just days when you will sell your books for nothing. Amazon is not offering any unpaid-for publicity to KDP Select writers.

As Amazon's FAQ section points out:

Q. Will I be paid royalty for sales during free promotion days?
A. No. You will not receive any royalties on your digital book during a free promotion."

message 32: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (ShaunJeffrey) | 2467 comments Catherine wrote: "I signed up to it because my books are only on Amazon anyway but I was wondering if someone could clarify something for me. Are the free promotion days worldwide or just in America?"

I presume the free promotion days are on .com only as that is the only place that prime is found on.

message 33: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) It'll be interesting to see what happens when a book comes off free with regard to chart position. Last time my book was Free I was out in the wilderness for ten days! ;-)

message 34: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 212 comments I read through the Smashwords formatting guidelines last night and decided to stick to Amazon and Kindle for the time being, so KS seemed like something worth trying and I signed up.

Does anyone have any idea how the free promotion days will work?

message 35: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) I was wondering the same Nell, because the last time my book went FREE it was out in the wilderness for 10 days, no ranking, not listed anywhere, doesn't bode well does it?

message 36: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 212 comments Well Mel, I'm probably currently in the wilderness anyway, so things can only get better. I'm so bad at this promotion business - it goes against all my retiring and solitary inclinations...!

message 37: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) Nell, I've just added an interesting thread about promoting that may help you. ;-)

message 38: by George (new)

George Hamilton | 25 comments My concerns:
1. Will restricting access to an ebook in other formats lead to an increase in piracy in those formats.
2. If readers download your books under the free promotions, it does not seem that those books will qualify for any share of the lending royalties - so why would you want to do this other than to promote the book for a short period. Does anyone know the form these promotions can take? Is there a link to any?
3. The fact that if you opt out before completion of the 90 days, whilst the book is removed from lending you still have to satisfy the other terms of the contract as pointed out above - see point 5 of terms.
4. The restriction on content that is reasonably likely to compete commercially with the book, could cover any other ebook that you have published as pointed out above.

Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 59579 comments I hadn't thought of the first point you made, George. A very good point it is!

message 40: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 212 comments Mel (Lorne's creator, Pete's murderer) wrote: "Nell, I've just added an interesting thread about promoting that may help you. ;-)"

I read it and left a comment on the thread - thanks Mel - very revealing!

message 41: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) Thanks Nell. ;-)

I think the only reason the Zon are doing this is to try and force the other ebook readers out of business and to encourage more readers to sign up to their Prime account for $78 per year.

I also think they fear the new KOBOs and Tablets coming onto the market. I've heard there have been a few problems with the new Kindle Fire. ;-)

message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

There is an annual fee, but readers can only borrow 1 book a month, which isn't much.

I've enrolled my novels in the programme, so I'll see what, if anything, happens.

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Steve, you're asking about tags. I've got them on mine.

Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 59579 comments Joanna, have you started your thread in our 'meet the authors' section?

Just links to your books would be better there as they'll get lost in the discussion here.

message 45: by Harry (new)

Harry Nicholson (HarryNicholson) | 204 comments It seems to me that authors need as broad and varied a marketplace as possible. Amazon is good for us - but we need all the other players to survive and thrive.
I've recently put an Amazon novel through the Smashwords process - it went well. At this stage in my late writing career I'm in need of varied and appreciative readers and not so much an income.

message 46: by Thea (new)

Thea Atkinson (TheaAtkinson) | 55 comments Hmm. I enrolled my short story collection because for some reason, I can't seem to get it passed epub check on Smash. been working at it for 2 months. AND it's not a big seller, so I figure what the heck. I *might* gain a few readers and exposure.

The biggie for me is the 5 free days. If I can go free without the hassle of having to have Smash redistribute, then wonderful.

It does seem to be free in UK because I've 'sold' 14 copies this morning and it's been 0 for two months. grin

But I don't plan to add my other titles.

message 47: by Nell (new)

Nell Gavin (nellgavin) | 13 comments When I first saw the KDP changes, I read the contract and had a bad feeling. I took a pass. Now, reading through this, and seeing that someone's lawyer (thank you for that, Mhairi) thinks it's too scary, I'm glad I followed my gut.

I make reasonable sales on non-Amazon sites. They aren't great, but I always get a nice Smashwords check. I think that the exodus of authors from those sites might improve my sales there.

However, it will probably tank my Amazon sales rank. David Dalglish (I think it was him) signed up for the three day trial period, then tracked his sales from the moment he joined to the moment he pulled out. His sales rank on is around 300-1000, so he sells enough to enable us to immediately see the impact on his ranking. As soon as he began lending, his rank shot up. Two hours after he pulled from the program, his rank went down. He confirmed with Amazon that borrowed books affect sales rank the same as sales.

So that's one way Amazon can pressure us into walking in step with them. It's kind of scary, how this could shape things over time. I think the "good old days" may be behind us.

message 48: by M.A. (new)

M.A. Comley (Melcom) It's unfair to have the borrowed books in the sales chart. The Free books are shown in a separate chart.

Linda Prather has demanded an answer on this issue, we'll see what happens. ;-)

message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Patti (Totally Bananas) wrote: "Joanna, have you started your thread in our 'meet the authors' section?

Just links to your books would be better there as they'll get lost in the discussion here."

Thanks, Patti.

message 50: by Willie (new)

Willie (WillieWit) | 130 comments I have put my book on cos if nobody else bothers they will give me $500,000 !


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