Amazon’s KDP Select Program: dancing With The Devil?

So Amazon has dealt a new hand and produced a very enticing offer that only helps to solidify them as the player in the book sales market. It is a very tempting offer, but will it deliver the goods? Should I go with them?

What it offers:

This is what it offers:

  • Reach a new audience – Distribute books through the  Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and reach the growing number of  US Amazon Prime members.
  • Earn a whole new source of royalties – Earn your  share of $500,000 in December and at least $6 million throughout 2012 when readers borrow your books from the Kindle          Owners’ Lending Library.
  • Promote your book for free to readers worldwide – The newly launched Promotions Manager tool will allow you to directly control the promotion of free books.
  • Instant feedback – Check real-time performance of your books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The draw back?

What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle?

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 exclusivity, 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. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for more information.

Jeff Bennington writes Why I’m Joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program

Amazon is playing games and they’re changing the rules again. They’re changing the game, and they’re doing it in time for Christmas. Most Amazon authors and publishers have received an email from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Got mine today. If you haven’t, check your email, check your KDP account and check it fast.

What are they doing? They are playing the Monopoly card, hoping to sway authors to publish solely with them, forsaking all others. And as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to play too. Essentially, Amazon’s Kindle store has set up a program called, Amazon Prime. This program costs kindle owners $79 a year, but once they are a member, they can access kindle books from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library FOR FREE.

Authors who publish on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform have the option to “opt-in” to the KDP Select program that will make their books available to Amazon Prime members. If an author chooses to do this, he or she will receive part of the $500,000 cash available in the program for December 2011, and the estimated $12 Million in 2012 as an additional source of royalties.

Is there a catch? Yes. You have to make your ebooks available EXCLUSIVELY through the Kindle store. You can still sell your print books anywhere, just not your ebooks. You can no longer sell them on Barnes & Noble, iBook Store, Goodreads, Smashwords, etc.

Will authors get paid for their books? No; not with traditional royalties anyway. The royalties, from what I understand, are based on the number of books borrowed divided by the amount of money in the fund. They hope to loan 100K ebooks by the end of 2011. If they reach that goal, authors whose books were borrowed will receive a proportional amount. For example: if your book is loaned 1,500 times before the end of December, and they reach their goal of 100K total books loaned, you will get 1.5% (or $7,500) of the $500,000.

Sound complicated? It sort of is. Sound risky? Yes. Could it be worth it? I think so. The way I understand it, Amazon is doing what Netflix did in the movie rental business; only with Amazon it’s Pay a yearly fee and get free books all year. I think it’s a great idea and a model that Libraries should follow.

Jeff makes some good points as do those who comment on the post.