I wake up today at the bright and early hour of 10:30 in the morning—perk of writing for a living, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not—and there’s an email in my inbox touting KDP Select, a new initiative to increase the amount of lending titles while also compensating writers in the process. Since releasing The Congregation on Nov. 3, 2011, this option has taken on greater significance for me. I have a dog in the hunt, so to speak.
It took me several minutes to figure out the Overdrive option at my local library, and I must say, I didn’t like it. The cover art didn’t come through, there was a due date, and a waiting list. All these things affect my enjoyment of the reading experience in a negative way. Presumably, Amazon’s system will be as simple as making a purchase. Presumably, the cover art will transfer as well. Presumably, the only “due date” will be the one-month option, and if your book is not read in that month, the reader can always re-up it the following month without having to wait on someone else’s term to finish.
2. More people own Kindles than any other eReading device.
3. Amazon giving away 5 days of free promotion every 90 days.
I don’t know about you, but I can give up 90 days of my book’s sales life on other outlets if it means exposure and awareness for my titles increase. Granting Amazon the required 90-day exclusivity clause is an excellent way to jumpstart sales and carry the positive buzz over to other eReader platforms.
5. Not everyone will be eligible to participate, which means it won’t kill your sales.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is essentially a second revenue stream that you can earn through Amazon. It appeals to a different group of readers (the mostly rabid). Prime members are the only ones eligible. There are many, many more Amazon book customers than Amazon Prime members. Your promotional efforts can reach the widest possible base of Amazon customers, and you could earn 50 cents to $5 per borrow or 35 cents to set-your-own-price per sale. Users of the iPad will still be able to read your book through the Kindle App. Prime owners of a Kindle product will be able to borrow as a perk of their membership.
1. Competing against the big boys. Publishers have some hostility towards Amazon, so there is the possibility that you won’t have to fight Stephen King or Dean Koontz or insert-bestselling-author-name-here for a piece of the pie. However, it’s possible since print copies may continue to be distributed at one’s leisure from any outlet. Should publishers embrace this concept, then it could shrink the royalty pie for newbies considerably.
2. Lack of information regarding promotional tools. Just looking at the KDP Select web page, it’s difficult to determine how effective the “free marketing for 5 days every 90” will be. I do wish the company would give a more involved accounting, so you know what to expect before clicking “enroll.”
3. No grandfathering. The Congregation is on sale at Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, and virtually everywhere eBooks are sold. Had I known about this option ahead of the publication date, I would have likely not hesitated to give Amazon the 90-day head start. If I want to do that now, it looks like I’ll have to unpublish from Smashwords and wait for the title to disappear on the other sites before becoming eligible. Then, after 90 days, I’ll have to do that crap all over again if I want to have the widest possible reach to electronic readers.
What do you guys think of KDP Select? You can read the details here and the legalese here. Please feel free to let me know if I’m confused on something. I think this is a good overview of the pros and cons, but getting the facts about it out there is my first priority.