Is Amazon Select Right for You?

I return to take a closer look at Amazon’s KDP Select service and discuss whether or not you think it’s right for you.

Hi all,
Sorry for the long absence, but my life has been absolutely crazy the last couple of weeks. Moving houses, preparing for school, doing grad school work, setting up new house, first week of school, etc. Anyways, I back with my hopefully-weekly-blog-posting. This week I’d like to talk about Amazon Select. For those of you who don’t know, Amazon Select is a service run through Amazon’s KDP Digital publishing platform. Essentially, the gist is that if you sign up for this service, you have the ability to offer your novel(s) at no cost for five days. It also places your book in a ‘lending library’ where people can borrow your novel and read it. The more people who borrow your novels, the more money you get. Amazon has established a fund this month of $600,000 to pay KDP Select members.

Sounds pretty good, right? I mean people pay to borrow your book. There’s some math involved (See below) but the gist is that the more borrows your book gets, the more money you make.

For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000, the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000, and your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 for that month.

So what’s the catch? Several in fact. First, your novel must be exclusive on Amazon KDP for 90 days. Three months of not being able to sell it digitally on any other site. Now you’re still free to sell it physically – i.e. paperback wise – through other sites, but lets be real here. If you write eBooks and you are not a multi-thousand copy seller, you probably aren’t selling more than perhaps a dozen hardcovers a month, give or take. You’re limited by the five free days, and with Amazon adjusting their rankings to eliminate free ‘purchases’ so that they won’t count towards the sales ranking, I’m not sure how effective this is. Sure, your book is free, but it isn’t boosting your ratings and isn’t really getting you much. If you’re using it as a loss-leader for a series, it would make more sense, but perhaps not so for a person like myself with just one book.

Of course, I’m not exactly selling tons of novels through Barnes and Noble or Smashwords and sell the majority if my books through Amazon. So I could try it out, and may be tempted to if I ever write a short story companion to Brass Legionnaire. That could be a great way to bring in new readers with the style of short fiction that is so popular right now.

So to sum up, Select is something that I’m not considering using now. I may consider doing it down the road with a companion novel to drive up interest in my Steam Empire Chronicles, but until then, I’ll stick to the sidelines. I’d be interested to see if B&N rolls out something similar to compete, perhaps offering a more impressive rate amount or additional free days.

That’s all folks, time to get back to writing Copper Centurion. I leave you with a lovely quote by your favorite rabble-rousing assassin, spy, and rebel, Corbus.

“Have it your way, Brittenburgian,” Julius’ eyebrows rose. “Ah yes, see I placed your accent. I have a special place in my heart for that corrupt, disgusting, pestilent city.” Corbus sneered wickedly. He socked the legionnaire again, and the man collapsed back to the ground.

“Send a message to the Duke, we’ve got a prisoner.”


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