For new self-publishing authors, Amazon KDP and KDP Select can cause confusion
What is the difference? In essence, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is non-exclusive, so you can sell your ebook at other retailers as well as Amazon Kindle, while KDP Select (KDPS) requires that you grant Amazon exclusive selling rights for your ebook.
Amazon’s explanation of digital (ebook) exclusivity is quite clear:
When you enroll a book in KDP Select, you’re committing to making the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP while it’s enrolled in the program.
All content enrolled in KDP Select must remain for sale through the Kindle Store only. If the digital version of your book appears to be available for pre-order, for sale, or for free elsewhere (such as on your website or blog, or a third party’s website), then it is not eligible for KDP Select. Adding new content (such as bonus content, author’s commentary section, etc.) to a book that is available elsewhere will not satisfy the exclusivity requirements. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for complete exclusivity requirements.
However, you may choose to make up to 10% of your book available on other sites as a sample, as well as continue to distribute your book in physical format (including print on demand books), or in any format other than digital. 10% is roughly the length of the Kindle Free reading sample.
You may also provide professional reviewers with a copy of your book via email for the purpose of editing, proofreading and helping with other quality improvements. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for more information. When you enroll a boxset in KDP Select, none of those books can be offered on another platform.
If we remove your book from KDP Select due to violation of the exclusivity requirements, you may re-enroll your book as soon as you ensure it is no longer available elsewhere in a digital format.
Check the right KDP options for you
Making sure you select the best option requires that you pay close attention when publishing your ebook. Also, if you are already published on KDP, you should check to ensure you have made the right selection. The two images below are where you tell Amazon which option you prefer.
If you select this option, your ebook will be enrolled in KDP Select for a period of 90 days. But be careful as it will auto-renew if you do not take one more step, as shown below.
After you have enrolled in KDP Select, check your KDP Select status and uncheck the auto-renew if you want your enrollment to end after 90 days. If you want it to renew, tick the box.
What are the pros and cons of KDP and KDPS?
To understand which option is best for you and your ebook, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of these two alternatives.
The main advantage of standard KDP publishing is that there are no restrictions placed on you as to where you can offer your ebook for sale. You can offer your ebook for free on your website, or offer extended preview reads.
You can publish and sell your ebook on any other retailers, even at a lower price, as Amazon state here that it no longer price matches.
Because your ebook will be available for sale on all Amazon Kindle Stores, your ebook will for sale on by far the biggest ebook retailer in the world. Amazon. This really is a huge advantage.
Your ebook will not be available on Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subscription reading service.
Your ebook will not be eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico. (This is not a big deal for most authors.)
You cannot use Kindle promotional tools such as Kindle Countdown, Kindle Free ebooks or Amazon Ads.
KDP Select Pros
Obviously, the inverse of KDP cons.
Your ebook will be available on Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subscription reading service.
Your ebook will be eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
You can use Kindle promotional tools such as Kindle Countdown, Kindle Free ebooks and paid Amazon Ads.
KDP Select Cons
Exclusivity restrictions stop you from being able to offer or promote your ebook anywhere else other than Amazon.
Auto-renewal can be a trap. Check carefully to avoid rolling over for another three months.
Verdict – KDP or KDPS?
There is no right or wrong choice, as it will depend on your publishing objectives. If you wish to open-publish, which means to be able to offer your ebook via as many retailers as possible, then standard KDP is for you.
However, if you are happy to have your ebook on Amazon only, and use the promotional services it offers, then KDPS should be your choice.
If you want to get the best of both worlds, you can hop in and out of KDPS. This is what many authors and publishers do to maximise book sales potential. From my own experience, I favour putting some of my ebooks into KDP Select for the summer months, and then back to standard KDP for the rest of the year.
The only salient point is that you know what you are doing, and understand the pros and cons of the two choices on offer. Once you do that, you can leverage each option to your best advantage.