The Flaw of Exclusives

The most appealing game in town when it comes to ebook publishing is Kindle Direct Publishing Select.  They have the biggest operation of those who publish ebooks, the biggest distribution, the biggest, well, everything.

Now, I won’t lie, more people buy Vitamin F on Kindle than they do on Nook.  I work at Barnes & Noble, just like a lot of people who have bought the book already, but the fact still remains. is the biggest game in town.

I’m not bitter toward Amazon at all.  As I said, I get more sales from them than I get from Barnes & Noble.  My problem is the Select program, and all its benefits, require the writer/publisher to cut off all other ebook avenues.

I’m a fair guy, so let’s take a look at the benefits of the Select program.

  • Amazon promotes your book.  For a self-published, ebook writer, this is gold.  Getting anyone to promote your book is a bonus.  Getting a powerful group to promote your book, that’s pretty damn appealing.
  • Free promotion days.  For every 90-day enrollment term, you the author get to make your ebook free for five days.  You pick the days.  And, yes, having days where your book is free is a great way to pull in fresh sets of eyes to read your work.
  • Lending a book counts as a sale.  This is something that defies standard thinking.  If someone has a Nook and loans your ebook out, you might get another reader, but you don’t get another sale.  Makes sense seeing how it’s one copy that gets borrowed.  In KDP Select, Amazon pays the writer for that loan, as though it’s another sale.

Those are some appealing tools.  Those are some great elements and well worth the price of admission for anyone willing to take Amazon up on the program.

Of course, it’s good to know that price of admission.

  • You can only sell through Amazon.  During each ninety day term, you can’t sell your ebook anywhere else.  It’s fairly simple.
  • If you sold your book elsewhere before, previous sales still stand.  I still have my Nook versions of Ania Ahlborn’s Seed and Blake Northcott’s VS Reality, and AE Marling’s Brood of Bones, even though all three books are now under KDP Select.
  • It is a term, not a permanent condition.  Each KDP Select term is ninety days.  You can start at any time.  You can opt out at the end of any term.  You can come and go as much as you like under those conditions.

Those are the basic pros and cons.  For me, there’s something more personal to consider.

My Mom got a Nook just a few months ago.  She’s been enjoying a book on there, but switched to reading Vitamin F when my friends told her about it.  So far, she loves my quality of writing and is caught up in enough of the tension that she’s afraid to turn the page.

I wouldn’t get that if Vitamin F was enrolled in KDP Select.

What if I was talking with someone at work and convinced them to readVitamin F?  If I was enrolled in KDP Select, I would be out of luck.  By using more than one service to release Vitamin F, I get a wider range of audience, simply because not everyone has a Kindle.  Not everyone has a Nook either.

I should release Vitamin F in more places, but I’m doing this all myself.  I’m still learning how to do this and, so far, it’s been educational.

I’ve learned that KDP Select isn’t for me, at least not at this time.  What about all of you?  What do you think of KDP Select–or any other exclusive program?



4 thoughts on “The Flaw of Exclusives

  1. I’m not keen on the whole ‘you can’t sell it anywhere else’ thing. Yes, Amazon is a big thing. It’s most likely the biggest e-book retailer but as a newbie, someone without an established name it makes sense to get your book out to the widest audience possible.

    1. That’s a really good point, Shen. If I had done that, I would miss out on a lot of sales. My distant relatives are Nook people, not just my Mom. I would have almost no chance of selling it to people I know.

      I’m not saying I’d never use KDP Select, I’m just saying, right now, I would be cutting out a big chunk of my potential audience.

  2. I wasn’t aware that Amazon was so restrictive. I understand why they are, though. Exclusivity helps them make money, and that’s their goal. And I agree with Shen; getting the book out to the widest audience possible for a newbie author makes a load of sense. But, as in your case, you know that you have people who need it in a different format. Is there anything to prevent you from selling it to people on an individual basis?

    Use Calibre to create different formats. If your mom needs an epub format, then create one and sell her a copy. Uncle Joe has a Sony Reader? Create one in that format. All while still keeping it alive on Amazon.

    Just a thought.

    (@Bishqualki on twitter)

    1. It’s an idea, but there’s a geographical distance involved as well. Also, I have other friends who I see irregularly planning to buy it. Even if I wanted to go KDP, I couldn’t yet because I would be knowingly shutting the door on upcoming sales from people on my contacts list.

      Still, good food for thought.

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