Why I’m Not Joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program

monopolistic

[Image from a cached page of Entrepreneur Watch]

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Amazon recently introduced the KDP Select program to entice authors in making their ebooks available through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (to earn a percentage of the $500,000 pool for the month of Dec 2011 — C. D. Reimer).

I personally chose not to enroll any of my eBooks in the program because I try not to support monopolistic tactics, though I understand many other authors/individuals may feel differently.

This post isn’t meant to bash Amazon — I’m thankful for the opportunity to sell my work on their website, and that Amazon’s Kindle was the device that sparked the eBook revolution.

This post just reflects my (polite, but firm) decision to not participate in Amazon KDP Select.

We are all in this together. Think about who really benefits from the exclusivity (see email below for more info), and why Amazon is appealing to individual self-interests instead of collective self-interest (“how much I could potentially make if I participated in KDP Select” versus “what’s really best for readers/customers/independent writers”).

It’s in all our interests to encourage a thriving, competitive market. We have to realize (now, before it’s “oops, too late”) that when Amazon’s the only game in town, they’ll start pulling more of these maneuvers on everyone that shops/sells there. This is the case with all big businesses that start becoming monopolistic (Amazon is in no way an exclusive case in point).

I’ve included an official reply from Amazon below, along with some links for more information on the matter.

AMAZON.COM REPLY (to an author re: KDP Select):

Hello xxx,

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP.

During the period of your book’s enrollment in KDP Select, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.

Similarly, you cannot offer a sample or teaser on any platforms. With this in mind, you may certainly link to your Amazon detail page from other websites; a sample of your book will be available there.

Be sure to take a look at the KDP Select Terms & Conditions here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=APILE934L348N#Select

If you have additional questions about KDP Select, check out our Help pages:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=200798990

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

P.S. Thanks to Joel Kirkpatrick, Maria Savva, Keta Diablo, Darcia Helle, J. Michael Radcliffe, Stephen Goldin, James Sophi (apologies to anyone else I missed out) for the heads up re: KDP Select (members of BestsellerBound).

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* UPDATE (9 May 2012): Emailed KDP to clarify a couple of points.

AMAZON.COM REPLY (re: KDP Select exclusivity):

Hello Jess,

. . .Every term of KDP Select is 90 days long. Your digital content would have to be exclusively available on Amazon.com as long as the book is enrolled in KDP Select.

You may offer a sample, excerpt or teaser of your KDP Select-enrolled book on your website, as long as it doesn’t include a substantial portion of your book’s content. Up to about 10% of the book’s content is a reasonable amount.

Keep in mind that a sample of your book is also available on your Amazon.com detail page, and we recommend linking to your detail page from your other sites.

You may also put similar samples on other websites. We strongly recommend you clearly indicate in the title of your sample that it is a sample, so that there won’t be confusion regarding availability of your book on another sales channel.

I may try out a couple of promotional eBook items with KDP Select (to stay competitive), though I’ll keep my backlist on other retailers’ sites for now.

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More Links:

1. Amazon Aims to Empty Competitor Shelves of Indie Ebooks (Mark Coker @ Huffington Report)

2. Amazon Shows Predatory Spots with KDP Select (Mark Coker @ Smashwords Blog)

3. Avoid Getting Banned from Amazon as an Author! – Part 1

About Jess C Scott

Writer/Blogger/Activist @ www.jessINK.com View all posts by Jess C Scott

2 responses to “Why I’m Not Joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program

  • Bob Mayer

    There are many roads to Oz and Oz even means different things for different people. Your tags actually say a lot, more than the words of the post and actually belie them.
    I remember when there was an indie bookstore on 18th in NYC called Barnes and Noble and going there when I was a kid growing up in NY.
    I remember when writers railed against Borders; the same writers who last year railed again the demise of Borders. Now those same people support B&N vs Amazon. And then Apple requires a lot of restrictions.
    Interestingly, what I don’t see on your web site is your own store where you sell your own books. Surely that would be the ultimate way to fight a monopoly? Just something to consider.

    • Jess C Scott

      Hi Bob,

      Yes, I think it’s imperative each person define what “Oz” means to them!

      Glad you noticed the tags in the post — I think the picture, textual content, and tags are quite synchronized (though the textual content is open to individual interpretation).

      I was selling via e-junkie/PayPal on my website in early 2011, though some of my content apparently violated PayPal’s terms of service (more info @ http://jesscscott.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/paypal-censorship/)

      I might sell directly from my website sometime in future again — it is probably the ultimate/best way to fight monopolistic tactics.

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