KDP Select – A Knife in the Heart from Amazon to other Retailers

Things in the ebook world just got a whole lot more interesting.

Self-published authors woke up this morning to a whole new screen on their Amazon dashboard. The company has announced KDP Select, allowing Amazon Prime customers to borrow books on their Kindles and pay writers for letting them do so.

Big deal, right? Wrong. Amazon just fired a massive shot at their competitors and clearly intend to crush them. In order to enrol your books in KDP Select you must give Amazon exclusivity. That means you cannot sell those titles on Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony, All Romance, OmniLit, Bookstrand…anywhere. It’s Amazon only, baby.

Amazon have the biggest selling ereader in the world and are currently, by far, the biggest distributor of self-published ebooks. They know they can do this. The question is, how are their competitors going to respond? And can they?

The carrot being dangled is very enticing indeed:

1. A share of a $500,000 fund for December alone every time your book is borrowed. This gives you the opportunity to earn income from your titles from more than just sales.

2. Five days of free promotion for every 90-day exclusivity period. Making a book free on Amazon has meant gaming the system and jumping through ridiculous hoops – until now. Amazon knows this is what their authors really want more than anything. Free books drive sales to paid titles.

3. Faster payments – your lending revenue is included with your regular KDP earnings and, as before, Amazon pay far quicker than many other retailers (60 days as opposed to quarterly PLUS 30-45 days at other retailers).

4. Incentives for international authors – making a book exclusive to Amazon isn’t a huge deal in many ways if you’re outside the US. For example, I’m in the UK. This means I cannot submit to PubIt (Barnes & Noble) or Apple’s iBookstore. International writers have to go through Smashwords Premium Distribution which seems to take forever.

5. Marginalisation – although erotica titles aren’t exactly prominent on Amazon they have become buried on certain other sites (All Romance and Bookstrand, I’m looking at you). This results in fewer and fewer sales there, meaning the jump to Amazon-only is becoming an easier decision by the day.

Who knows where this will lead? It could be argued that Amazon is firing its first major shots in a war it wants to win – they clearly want to be the iTunes of ebooks. With Apple looking like the only competitor likely to be able to duke it out, it remains to be seen whether the likes of B&N will come out fighting or go the way of Borders.

This war isn’t over yet. But the battle lines have been clearly drawn – on one side, Amazon. On the other, everyone else. Can the competition survive?


I'm an erotica author from the UK who writes about strong characters who love lots of steamy sex! When I'm not turning filthy thoughts into books you can find me dancing to vinyl records in high heels and vintage clothes. Okay, maybe not all the time. Please get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

Posted in Business, Ebooks, Kindle, Writing
7 comments on “KDP Select – A Knife in the Heart from Amazon to other Retailers
  1. This certainly just made it a lot more interesting. 🙂

  2. Awesome blog Katie! I’m simultaneously excited and nervous lol…I decided to test it out with a couple of books that were barely selling on B+N. Fingers crossed!

  3. Christa Wick says:

    And Apple’s notorious prudery makes Amazon the likeliest winner in the ebook wars, IMO. Great post, Katie!

  4. Sam Caldwell says:

    This comes just as I was struggling with Nook formatting issues and the inability of Pubit to correctly validate two of our ISBN numbers. The numbers are valid but Pubit rejected them. I have sent 3 emails to Pubit support with no reply! Because of the issues with B&N neither of our books have been listed with them and I decided to opt in for the KDP Select program for one of our books.

    This move by Amazon is very aggressive and clearly aimed at shifting indie publishers away from other vendors. B&N needs to up its game or at least answer requests for assistance.

  5. A very informative post. I’m glad I read it so I know what’s going on with regard to this change. It seems more compelling to me now that I know what the full offer is. The only thing that remains a mystery to me and perhaps others is how the fund will be shared. (I suppose Amazon probably doesn’t know either because it will be based on enrollment).

  6. Gerald Moore says:

    Amazon can go to hell. Their morality police stance stinks of hypocrisy, since they are making gold mines of money off of erotic ebooks. The idea that they can shove their noses in, and start banning certain categories of books, and slapping the ADULT filter on any book they choose, cutting off struggling writers trying to break in, tells me all I need to know. Modern day book burners, plain and simple. And then, to access their books, you have to blow another hundred books or more, and be tethered to ONE company only, because their garbage Kindle reader only supports their books? As I said before, GO TO HELL AMAZON, AND STAY THERE. I will not buy one word from that hated A place. Samashwords has what I want, and in every format, so I can download, and start reading right away thanks to the PDF format, Shove it up your jumper, Amazon!

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KATIE CRAMER – I write very naughty things.

Click my photo to visit me at Amazon Author Central.

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