KDP Select Redux

You’d think it would be old news by now, but we’re talking about KDP Select again, probably prompted by the recent Amazon announcement that KDP Select users will now receive 70% royalties for any sales in India, as opposed to 35% for non Select members.

Of course, there are still new self-publishers discovering KDP Select. For example, here is a rather gushing article about KDP Select and the power of “free” at Forbes, which sounds just like the pro-Select gushing you used to hear a lot on the Kindleboards. Now I am highly skeptical about the “power of free” anyway. It’s probably a cultural thing, because free giveaways of anything have never been common in Germany – it’s only of late that supermarkets started loyalty programmes and began giving away collectible marbles or toys.

And since free giveaways are not a draw for me, I’ve been opposed to KDP Select almost from the start and ironically one of my reasons was the way that Amazon treats customers in countries outside its core zone, countries like India at that point. And even though I don’t sell very well on other platforms these days, I’m still not joining Select.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is not convinced by the latest Select enticement either and points out that people care more about content, i.e. books, than about what device they consume that content on. I very much agree with her.

Meanwhile, Joe Konrath compiles his (very impressive) numbers of sales and borrows to give us some data whether the money made via KDP Select borrows is worth the loss of sales on other platforms. He doesn’t come to any firm conclusion regarding KDP Select, but he does come to the conclusion that traditional publishing is losing him money and finally declares himself independent from traditional publishing. But given that this is Joe Konrath speaking, that’s hardly a surprise.

Kait Nolan feels rather uneasy about Amazon’s renewed attempts to lure authors into KDP Select, especially as the Indian e-book market is potentially huge.

Another factor is that though KDP Select may make sense for some authors and genres, it doesn’t necessarily make sense for everyone. For example, here at Pegasus Pulp we offer only short stories and novelettes at this point. We have novels coming up to, but writing, revising and formatting a novel takes longer than revising and formatting some backlist short stories.

And KDP Select does not work nearly as well for short stories and erotica as it does for regular, non-erotic novels, largely because the big tastemaker websites posting links to free books never promote erotica and only very rarely short fiction.

Alain Gomez of Book Brouhaha has actually tried Select and comes to the conclusion that KDP Select may work for novels, but it certainly doesn’t work for short stories.

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