I already explained my stand on Amazon’s KDP Select program, which demands exclusivity from indie authors in exchange for participation in a US-only lending library program and five free promotion days.
The short version is: No way will I participate in a program that demands exclusivity in exchange for supposed perks that are of little to no interest to me.
I expected that some authors would view KDP Select differently than me. However, I was stunned how many indie authors at places like the Kindleboards fell hook, line and sinker for KDP Select, including people who not only have direct access to Barnes & Noble, but were also selling well there. I remember one writer who posted that he had joined KDP Select, because he “only” sold 130 copies at Barnes & Noble in six months. I’d kill to sell 130 copies in any one venue.
And the main appeal of KDP Select for these writers was not the promised pot of 500000 USD to be divided among the books borrowed via the Kindle lending library, but the five free promo days. And what did those writers do? They flooded Amazon with free books. And since KDP Select started a few weeks before Christmas, they flooded Amazon with free books at a time when e-book sales are supposed to take off due to all those new e-readers given out as Christmas presents. Now I don’t dispute that giving their books away for free on the high traffic days around Christmas might have been a good decision individually for some authors. But collectively, flooding the market with free products at a time of peak demand is an extraordinarily stupid thing to do and I am almost certain that this flood of free books is the reason why the post-Christmas rush did not materialize for many as expected. Now I did see a modest version of the Christmas sales bump, but I still wonder how much higher it might have been if not for everybody and their cat offering free books.
Now I admit that I have downloaded some of the books offered for free. Many of those were non-fiction books on writing, marketing, etc… that might just yield a nugget or two of useful information (most of those have already been deleted, because they did not even yield a single nugget of usefulness). A few were novels and novellas that just plain sounded interesting or the authors of which struck me as such nice people that I wanted to give their books a try and maybe leave them a nice review, if I enjoyed the book.
Still, all of those writers bragging about their free giveaways as sales… – honey, if it’s free, it’s not a sale.
Since I’m not a fan of KDP Select and the Kindleboards might just rename themselves KDP Select boards, I’m always glad to see that other writers share my reservations about the program. Here horror writer and formatting guru Guido Henkel shares his arguments against KDP Select and they’re almost the same as mine. But then we’re both fans of Geisterjäger John Sinclair, too.
In the latest installment of her excellent Business Rusch series, Kristine Kathryn Rusch takes not just on KDP Select and the flood of free books it has triggered, but on the fact that writers undervalue themselves and their work in general. I very much agree with her, not just on KDP Select but also on the trend towards rockbottom e-book prices.
I have never understood the reasoning behind offering a full length novel, even a short novel, permanently for 99 cents. Short term promotions are okay, but permanently selling a full length novel for less than the price of a Big Mac or a Latte Macchiato? Why, for goodness sake? Do these writers value their work so little?
Now Pegasus Pulp does have some e-books available for 99 cents. All of these e-books are short stories of under 5000 words, where 99 cent is a perfectly acceptable price. My novelettes, however, sell for 2.99 US-dollar. Because these stories took a lot of time to write and proof and format and generally make them as good as they can be. And I think they’re worth that price.
A detailed breakdown of the Pegasus Pulp pricing structure can be found in our (recently updated) FAQ.