Let me be honest from the get-go: I’m not a huge fan of KDP Select. Sure, I may change my mind down the road. For now, however, i’m keeping a close and doubtful eye on the program. Before I come to a definite conclusion, though, I figured I should test the waters and opt a book or two into it. More on that later.
For those not familiar with KDP Select, this is basically Amazon’s newest toy, or monopoly game, as others call it. It comprises of a “pool of cash” distributed among authors who opt their books into the program. Once opted in, Amazon Prime users can borrow/download your book for free for a period of 90 days. Amazon then distributes the money to your account based on the amount of books readers borrowed. The math behind distribution is still a bit unclear to many, myself included. According to the KDP Select FAQ, each borrow earns the writer $1.70–at least that’s what it was in the month of December. I believe this may change at any time depending on how much money is available to writers. As of January 20th, the pool consists of $700,000.
That said, many users are unhappy with the program. But for now I’ll only focus on some of the good things it could bring to writers.
For starters, it could help you get a book noticed. Some books don’t sell as well as they should, no matter how good they are and how sweet the cover looks. Opting the book into the program could potentially drive users to borrow it many, MANY times, as they have nothing to lose. This will theoretically get your book out of obscurity and hopefully continue to bring you sales once the 90-day period is over.
While the book is freely available to Prime members, non-Primers may still purchase the book at its regular price. This means you will still earn royalties for each purchase, as well as X amount of money each time it’s borrowed. Borrowing a book 1,500 times could potentially bring you over $7,000 on top of your regular sales.
As more and more people borrow your book, your name gets bigger, better and wider recognition. If the book is interesting enough, those readers will likely become your fans and look for other offerings. This will be your chance to give them what they’re looking for.
Finally, Amazon reports that many authors have actually experienced an increase in book sales once they participated in the KDP Select program. If I had to guess, i’d say it had to do with the fact that they gained more recognition, as their names were naturally linked to other published works.
These are just some of the more notable things KDP Select has to offer. Of course, not everything is roses and rainbows, as many other authors are completely against it.