Got this e-mail (below) today from Amazon. Looks like they're trying to accomplish three things:
1) Get authors to be exclusive with Amazon (I think this is short-sighted, I wouldn't sign an exclusive agreement with anyone)
2) Boost participation in a Lending Library that pays based on how often a title is borrowed.
3) Take out competitors' share of authors using 1) and 2)
Because of 1), my eligible titles won't be participating. It serves me better to have my titles available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple, Smashwords, Diesel and all the other e-book retailers - including my own website. This agreement would limit me to only Amazon. Sure, it has the lion's share of the market, but why stop there? Aim for the entire market, not just the biggest piece.
And even though that exclusivity only lasts at a minimum 90 days, unless I plan to make a killing off 2), I'm really not gaining anything. Those are 90 days I'm not selling e-books at my full potential. My e-books are already approved for lending on the Kindle. Why take a step backward?
Still, I do find 2) interesting. If there wasn't 1), I'd probably jump on it. What do you think, readers and authors?
Here's the e-mail itself:
Hello from KDP!
We're excited to introduce KDP Select - a new option dedicated to KDP authors and publishers worldwide, featuring a fund of $500,000 in December 2011 and at least $6 million in total for 2012! KDP Select gives you a new way to earn royalties, reach a broader audience, and use a new set of promotional tools.
Here's how KDP Select works:
When you make any of your titles exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, those with US rights will automatically be included in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and can earn a share of a monthly fund. The monthly fund for December 2011 is $500,000 and will total at least $6 million in 2012. If you haven't checked it out already, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a collection of books that eligible US Amazon Prime members can borrow for free once a month with no due dates.
You'll also now have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to promote your KDP Select-enrolled titles for FREE for up to 5 days every 90 days.
How your share of the monthly fund is calculated:
Your share of the monthly fund is based on your enrolled titles' share of the total number of borrows across all participating KDP titles in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. For example, if total borrows of all participating KDP titles are 100,000 in December and your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn $7,500 in additional royalties from KDP Select in December. Enrolled titles will remain available for sale to any customer in the Kindle Store and you will continue to earn your regular royalties on those sales.
What this means to you:
KDP Select gives you access to a whole new source of royalties and readers- you not only benefit from a new way of making money, but you also get the chance to reach even more readers by getting your book in front of a growing number of US Amazon Prime customers: readers and future fans of your books that you may have not had a chance to reach before! Additionally, the ability to offer your book for free will help expand your worldwide reader base.
How to enroll:
KDP Select is available for titles participating in both the 70% and 35% royalty options. You can immediately start by enrolling a single title, your whole catalog, or anything in between.
If you're interested in enrolling a title that's already uploaded, simply click "Enroll" next to the book in your Bookshelf. To enroll multiple titles that are already uploaded, select the boxes next to any number of titles, then click "Actions" and choose "Enroll these books in KDP Select." The titles you choose will be enrolled immediately.
If you're interested in enrolling a new title, simply check the "Enroll this book in KDP Select" box while submitting details about your book and proceed to publish the book as you normally would. For new titles, enrollment takes effect once the book is available for sale on our website.
To learn more about KDP Select, visit: http://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect
To learn more about the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, visit:
Thanks again for choosing KDP to publish your work.
Kindle Direct Publishing
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Yes, I got the nnouncement and directed my agency to go for it for my historical trilogy. We're also doing the freeby thing with one of the books. Amazon's promotions have a good reputation, so we'll see.
As for exclusivity, I have taken that route with the Akitada novels. They give me a bit of promotion, not impressive. I may rethink it in the future. Still, they have the largest share of the market. For me, all of this is still an experiment, and I won't know what is what until a year from now.
Keep us posted about how that exclusivity agreement works out with Akitada, I.J. It's a gamble that hinges on promotion, but you might prove wrong after all. (And for your sake, I hope you do!)
I have readers who have Nooks, so I can't see going exclusive.
Ditto. I own a Nook, so I wouldn't be able to read my own work outside of side-loading it myself.
On that note, yes, I buy my own stuff when it comes out. Helps with the rankings and I get most of the money back anyway.
I also have readers who have Nooks, but most have Kindle. As I said, I'll probably abandon the exclusivity at the end of the year. Trouble is, I'll have to reformat because the Kindle exclusive was made through my agency, and they have massive formatting problems. I need to do this myself.
I have a notion that the exclusive promotions worked much better this past summer. Sales were excellent. This seems to have leveled off. There are probably way too many books by now to rise above the crowd.
The only thing that attracted me was the ability to control when I wish to promote via free book giveaways. Today I had one of my ebooks free for the first time: over 4,400 downloads (and #28 on the Kindle store free list at the moment). How many sales that will lead to for my other titles I don't know and I suppose depends on how many actually read my freebie and enjoy it. My other book sales were up slightly today is all.
But now that it's so easy to make your books free for a limited time I think that eventually so many authors will do it that no one is going to see 4 thousand plus downloads per day anymore.
Plus, Joe Konrath's been warning that free or very low-priced books may make readers think that's all they're worth.
Pricing is a very tricky business.
Very true, Mr. Parker.
Here is my account of Amazon KDP Select and their Free for 5 Days promotion.
I published a book called "Living with Bin Ladens". The post shows how KDP Select worked (or didn't) with screenshots.
I think Amazon's moves require that you carefully evaluate your market - who is it, how are they shopping, what is their geography, and what is the dominant seller in that market.
This points, to me, something a lot of self-publishing authors don't want - to conduct real market analysis.
If you sign an exclusive with Amazon, you'll have dominance in the US market, and some others. Amazon of course continues to grow, but you will eliminate major platforms like B&N, which is still a $4 billion+ company, and Kobo, which is increasing its market share in the U.S.
Kobo is interesting as they are the largest ebook retailer in Canada with about half the market (and experiencing double-digit growth there) and have about half the French market. They are also growing in England, and while they took a hard hit in the US with the collapse of Borders. However, their purchase by Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce giant, positions them to continue growth in many markets - some of which may be under served by Amazon. They are also launching their own self-publishing.
The other market consideration is Apps.
When I first purchased an e-reader, it was a Kobo ereader. Loved it. Now, I've moved on to an iPad. I have the Kobo App, so I can read my Kobo-purchased books. I also have the Kindle app, so I can read books from Amazon. Wait, I also have an iBooks app and I know there is one for Barnes and Noble.
Other players are entering the scene. I think the world is ripe for a niche online bookseller to carve out his or her own territory.
Amazon controls the market is too simple of a statement (and in plenty of markets, too inaccurate) upon which to base a self-publishing business.
Makes sense, Clay. Thanks. I will keep that in mind.
In theory, this will keep shifting as technology changes. But I have to go where the money is. Amazon sells more than 10 times what the next competitor sells (Nook).
However, my question is this. Does Amazon outsell Nook to the point that it is worth an exclusive with Amazon? Or eliminating the Canadian market via Kobo (I believe you once had a strong Canadian following)?