Should I use KDP Select?

Well this may be a bit late, but it’s been on my mind a lot and I thought I’d comment on it.  The TOS for KDP Select is here.


I think few authors realize that there are so many limitations to this KDP Select, blinded by dollar $igns.

The Pros:

  • Yes, you get put in a pool with all other KDP Select users and Amazon will market your book for you.
  • You’ll get your share of the $500k (or whatever their monthly budget is) after each month, depending on your sales per capita.
  • You can promote your book for up to 5 days within the 90 day period in which you are committed to KDP Select.
  • Your book will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

The Cons:

  • Amazon has EXCLUSIVE rights to your book/story during the 90 days you are committed.  That means you can’t sell it anywhere else or even post it on your own blog.
  • Amazon will automatically renew your commitment at the end of each 90 day session, so if you aren’t careful you may be committed for a very long time period.
  • Your book will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program where all Kindle owners can access it for free.  (I listed this in pro and con because yes, there is more visibility, but also you don’t get paid for any of those views.)
  • If you should per chance make a mistake and thing you’ve opted out of the KDP Select program, then post your book elsewhere, or even forget to pull it from everywhere it’s available, then Amazon no longer owes you any of the Royalties from the monthly pot and may take out any previously paid royalties out of future royalties, via a lien.

“Your Commitment. Your commitment to these terms and conditions is important, and the benefits we provide to you as part of this option are conditioned on your following through on your commitments. If you un-publish your Digital Book, we will remove it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, but you must continue to comply with these commitments, including exclusivity, through the remainder of the Digital Book’s then-current 90-day period of participation in KDP Select. If you don’t comply with these KDP Select terms and conditions, we will not owe you Royalties for that Digital Book earned through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program, and we may offset any of those Royalties that were previously paid against future Royalties, or require you to remit them to us. We may also withhold your Royalty payments on all your Digital Books for a period of up to 90 days while we investigate. This doesn’t limit other remedies we have, such as prohibiting your future participation in KDP Select or KDP generally.”

Amazon already reserves the right to end your agreement and stop selling your products without any reason at all, and they allow 7 full days for refunds…which is plenty of time to read a book completely and then just go back for your refund after you’ve read it.  That’s a bit excessive in my opinion. There should at least be some kind of limit as to how many times you can do this in a year.

As a buyer, and not yet a published author, I can see why this refund policy is good.  You may not realize you clicked on something until you have checked your email several days later. But as one who hopes to be published, and a friend to several published authors on amazon, I can see how authors are seriously in jeopardy on this point.  Okay I’m off topic here, but I feel it’s relevant that you know the full story about Amazon’s policy before you publish with them.  My author friend posted not long ago about a friend of hers who’d had $50 in sales on her book, only to get to payday and find that her check was only $5 or thereabouts.  When she questioned Amazon, she was told it was due to returns.  That’s a REALLY high percentage of returns.

Amazon wants to corner the market on e-publishing, but they don’t seem to want to take care of their main source very well.  They are taking advantage of their authors in a bad way. One would think they would treat their bread and butter better.  Maybe they think they are doing writers a favor, and in a way, they are, but as yet, they aren’t the only ones out there, and while they sell more e-books than anyone else, that may not remain the case if they continue to take advantage of their suppliers.