Amazon is playing games and they're changing the rules again. They're changing the game, and they're doing it in time for Christmas. Most Amazon authors and publishers have received an email from Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Got mine today. If you haven't, check your email, check your KDP account and check it fast.
Authors who publish on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform have the option to "opt-in" to the KDP Select program that will make their books available to Amazon Prime members. If an author chooses to do this, he or she will receive part of the $500,000 cash available in the program for December 2011, and the estimated $12 Million in 2012 as an additional source of royalties.
Is there a catch? Yes. You have to make your ebooks available EXCLUSIVELY through the Kindle store. You can still sell your print books anywhere, just not your ebooks. You can no longer sell them on Barnes & Noble, iBook Store, Goodreads, Smashwords, etc.
Will authors get paid for their books? No; not with traditional royalties anyway. The royalties, from what I understand, are based on the number of books borrowed divided by the amount of money in the fund. They hope to loan 100K ebooks by the end of 2011. If they reach that goal, authors whose books were borrowed will receive a proportional amount. For example: if your book is loaned 1,500 times before the end of December, and they reach their goal of 100K total books loaned, you will get 1.5% (or $7,500) of the $500,000.
Sound complicated? It sort of is. Sound risky? Yes. Could it be worth it? I think so. The way I understand it, Amazon is doing what Netflix did in the movie rental business; only with Amazon it's Pay a yearly fee and get free books all year. I think it's a great idea and a model that Libraries should follow.
After reading through the details, I found out exactly how many ebooks I've sold through my other sales channels. After doing the math, I decided that there isn't any reason why I shouldn't give this a try, because the results are so lopsided. Here's what I discovered....
Source # books % of Sales
Kindle sales = 5866 97.0 %
Nook Sales = 114 1.8%
Smashwords = 49 .8%
Apple ibooks = 11 .2%
For me, the decision is not just about joining Amazon's KDP Select Program, it's about spending my time and resources where there is actually a return on my investment. If you sell a significant amount of books through those other sites, you might make a different decision. But for me, I'm in.
I look forward to being one of the newer and maybe few authors who participate in this program. I look forward to the extra promotion that Amazon offers as an incentive. And I look forward to another stream of royalties.
Like any new program, it's an experiment. But I'll give it a try and see how it goes. I like games. So lets play Amazon...I'm pretty good at Monopoly.
Author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance & Creepy
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