Which is right for you? A Quick Guide to KDP vs. KDP Select

By Naomi Blackburn | Blog

Aug 30

KDP, KDP Select, RachelintheOC.com, Rachel Thompson The final post in our Amazon series has us looking at KDP vs. KDP Select. After our longer posts, this post is short and sweet because it is pretty straightforward.

Any author can publish their book under KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). This is the basic Kindle publishing tool. This tool allows authors to upload their books utilizing the process we discussed in the first post in this series. No further commitment is required.

What’s The Difference?

For those wishing to utilize more of what Amazon offers its authors, there is KDP Select. KDP Select has a few more benefits for its authors such as:

  • Higher royalties on books enrolled in KDP Select
  • International publishing
  • Participation in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL): Kindle Unlimited is a monthly subscription program that allows Kindle owners to borrow books as they would a library. While KOLL is a program open to Amazon Prime subscribers. KOLL allows prime members who own a Kindle to download one book per month free. As an Amazon Prime member, I must say that I use this benefit each month and have found many great authors who are new to me. This prompted me to purchase more books they have written. Authors who choose to participate in either of these programs continue to receive prorated royalties on each book written by the author that Kindle owners borrow under either of these programs.
  • Two promotional programs for authors to choose from. The first is Kindle Countdown. Kindle Countdown is a time bound promotional program. The second is a program that allows you to promote your book free for a limited time. During this period, readers worldwide can download your book free.

Sounds like a deal, right? Are you asking how to sign up for this dynamic program?

Well, hold on. Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch and for those great benefits, Amazon has a condition and it is exclusivity. Yep, for a period of three months, authors can’t offer their eBooks on any other site whether it be Barnes and Noble, iTunes or any other purchase site. Once that three months is up, authors then can opt out of the program and return to the basic KDP program.

Still confused whether KDP Select is for you?

Let’s look at some feedback from my author friends when I proposed the question of is KDP Select a good choice. The majority of them stated that they would utilized KDP Select for a certain period of time, but were concerned with the concept of “putting all their eggs in one basket.” Most feel the benefits outweigh the exclusivity requirement since it’s for such a short period of time and that it’s easy to become un-enrolled. Nancy Nagle, best-selling author, stated that she makes little money outside the Amazon platform, so KDP Select pays out big time for her.Rachel Thompson, BadRedheadMedia.com, RachelintheOC.com

I must say that I have repeatedly seen her books on Kindle First, another exclusive Kindle program that presents select books to Amazon Prime Kindle owners to preview before the general public. Best-selling author Bette Lee Crosby, stated it would be stupid for her to go into a program KDP select program because she makes almost as much money in other sales outlets, particularly Barnes and Noble, as she does Amazon. If she chose to do something such as KDP Select, she would lose sales on those sites, as well as the visibility.

So, how do you know if KDP select is for you?

  • Talk to your author network. Do research on how the program worked for them. Did they do anything special to help promote the book while it was in KDP Select? How were their sales? This is only a first step; advice given should not to be taken as gospel.
  • THOROUGHLY research other books in your genre that are part of KDP select. What is their ranking?
  • Identify the sales rankings of authors at your level on other sites. Remember my Bette Lee Crosby example? To utilize KDP Select would have limited her sales if she had put all her eggs in that one basket. Doing her research and not having a knee jerk reaction allowed her to optimize her sales.

Realize that KDP Select is not the end all. It won’t give you an immediate best-seller. Like any sales platform, you must weigh the business decision to use or not use KDP Select carefully, and utilize an effective marketing plan in conjunction with the benefits Amazon offers.

What tips would you give authors contemplating KDP Select?

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All content © 2017 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.


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About the Author

Naomi Blackburn, owner of The Author CEO, a consultation firm dedicated to helping independent authors navigate the development of strategic business plans and the marketing world, holds an MBA and has worked in the field of business development, sales and consulting for 12 years. A former social worker, she has helped hundreds of clients meet their life goals. A top 1% Goodreads reviewer, she comes to the world of books from a reader/reviewer’s perspective. She strives to help authors achieve their goals by teaching them to think of themselves as CEO/entrepreneur of a small business and helping them negotiate the business side of selling books.

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[…] Which is right for you? A Quick Guide to KDP vs. KDP Select […]

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[…] and if so, which distributors? Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, etc.? If Amazon, will you enroll in KDP Select to offer the anthology to Kindle Unlimited subscribers? Discuss these options with your fellow […]

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Margaret May 28, 2017

I was pleased to find your short, concise and informative post at the exact time I needed it. This is the conundrum I’ve been batting about and why I found you. I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

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