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

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, [share ]Amazon has a condition and it is exclusivity[/share]. 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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  3. Margaret on May 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    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.

  4. Ava Masood on December 22, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you for your article.:) Keep writing 🙂

  5. Jennifer on August 24, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    I am completing the formatting of my book, and I am confused about the choices I need to make. From my research, I understood that a good route is:
    “to distribute to Amazon via KDP Print and opt out of their expanded distribution and use IngramSpark to distribute everywhere else except for Amazon.”

    I signed up with Word2Kindle to format my book for KDP. I want to make sure I guide them when they upload the POD file and ebook file to KDP and choose distribution options.

    1. Can I use KDP Print but not use KDP Select?
    2. If I don’t choose KDP Select, how does Amazon distribute my book?
    Thank you.

    • Rachel Thompson on September 17, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Hi Jennifer – just saw this so let me answer:

      1) Yes, KDP Select is only for ebooks.
      2) KDP is for uploading your books. That’s their system for both ebook and print. If you want to go exclusive for your ebook only, then you choose KDPSelect, which is a 3-month commitment.

      If you want to go wider than Amazon, use Ingram/Spark. Google it and review the options. They’ll upload everywhere for you. Hope that helps!

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