Thursday, December 8, 2011

KDP Select

Doesn’t anyone else see this?

Amazon is offering a new “service” called KDP select.  Offer your books exclusively through Amazon’s KDP program and you get a shot at a pool of money if you follow the program perfectly and cut out EVERY other avenue of distribution.  That pool of money is not all that large considering how many eBooks are available through Amazon.

Look…I am an unashamed capitalist.  While that means that I believe in survival of the fittest, it also means that I believe in competition.  This appears to be an attempt on the part of Amazon to eliminate the competition.  They already own about 80% of the market, I guess they want more.

What happens when Smashwords goes away?  What about Barnes and Noble?  For all practical purposes, we have already lost Borders.

I LOVE Amazon and I have spent a fair amount of money with them.  They are a GREAT story.  I just don’t want them to be the only game left in town.  It is true that most sales come from Amazon and their royalties are GREAT compared to some other options.  But there are other companies like Smashwords offering the same royalties and more options.  What happens when those other outlets die off?

Monopolies never work out well.  It is not hard to look into the future and see 70% royalties being cut to 65% or less.

I know—a lot of authors are going to go for this gimmick.  Indie and self pubbed authors tend too often to be desperate.  I am not going to knock my fellow writers for going for this program.  I will simply disagree with them.

The indie and self pub knock against the Big Six publishers is that they have for too long acted as gatekeepers.  They dictated terms.  Amazon changed that and it was a good thing.  Now, it appears that Amazon is headed down that same road.  When there is no threat to their domination of the eBook market, what will they do?

Do YOU want to depend on their benevolence once competition is eliminated?

I don’t.  With my level of sales, Amazon could not care less.  The same probably goes for you if you are an author.  What they care about are the big names and the heaving mass of indie and self pub authors as a whole.  What I do or don’t do means nothing and I realize that.  Still, I am not going to be part of this.



  1. You raise such good points. And what perfect timing. I just read that e-mail from Amazon.

  2. ROFL. You've been wearing you tie-dye shirt again, haven't you? Thanks for the support and for cracking me up :)


  3. I agree with you on your points and if I were an aspiring author I would not fall prey to amazon and still list on other sites as well.

    However, as a consumer it's hard to not go to the best priced options. As my music went 97% digital purchases I switched away from itunes and went with Amazon - Then I started buying TV shows through amazon (whether on blu or VOD) and I am so integrated with amazon that I now have a Kindle Fire so that I can read/watch/listen to everything I own through them.

    Seeing your article and being at work the other day where we celebrated a "win" that a close by lumber yard and a small time cabinet company located near us went out of business in this economy (which of course drives more people into our store) kinda makes me feel pretty crappy about the way everything is playing out.
    It used to be that everyone would doom and gloom Walmart because they were trying to drive everyone else out of business but that is now becoming the standard.
    Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, Amazon and Ebay.
    Other than maybe physical stores, is there any difference in any of the big companies now a days.

    We are not going to have any type of home grown local shops in the near future and that's a world that is pretty damned depressing.

  4. I hear ya, Grrouchie. The problem is that some of those big companies are so damned good at what they do. Like offering the lowest prices or the most variety. That's the draw for consumers.

    Every interaction I have had with Amazon as a consumer has been good. Good shipping times, good products, and all problems dealt with swiftly.

    As an author, Amazon has been good too. Their upload program is a piece of cake and I get an author page. Even when I was adding Christmas Lites to my author page, I got an actual call back from a real person and the whole process took five minutes.

    That's hard to beat.

    BUT! It is important to note that Amazon will not offer a book for FREE unless it is offered on sites like Barnes and Noble for free (they do not care about Smashwords...).

    So, those other outlets have some advantages for authors. This program is REALLY directed at consumers. Take away selection at the competition and people have even more reason to deal exclusively with Amazon.

    Authors are only tools in this program and that is what drives me nuts about it. If Amazon was honest about it, I would have less of a problem with it.

    Amazon also has a new app that allows consumers to price check in brick and mortar stores. Just scan the barcode. Sounds great, right? Make sure you are getting the lowest prices as a consumer.

    But think about the back end. I am sure Amazon is collecting the data on their competitors...for free. Consumers are doing their research for them.

    Authors are similarly carrying Amazon's water in the select program. pull your books from other sources, go direct with us, and we give you a shot at a LITTLE money.

    Hey...before we go exclusive, I should get a ring. At least dinner. How about a guaranteed check?

    I admit it: I am a whore. I want something in return.