Should Self-Published Authors Take Advantage of the Kindle Select Program?

Nearly every new author today is opting to self publish. Okay, not always opting. Often, it’s their only choice. But regardless, there are thousands of authors out there self-publishing their books, and each of them is looking for a way to make their book stand out. Enter Kindle Select.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select) is a program that Amazon offers to their self-published authors. According to Amazon, here are the benefits of such a program:

  • Earn higher royalties Earn your share of the KDP Select Global Fund amount when readers borrow your books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Plus, earn 70% royalty for sales to customers in Japan, India and Brazil.
  • Make your book free to readers worldwide for a limited time The Promotions Manager tool will allow you to directly schedule and control the promotion of free books.
  • Reach a new audience Distribute books through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and reach the growing number of Amazon Prime customers on,, and

But, as with anything, there is a drawback. As Amazon explains: When you choose to enroll your book in KDP Select, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During the period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.

So how does an author know whether Amazon Select is the right option for their newest release? Well, they turn to other authors, of course. I came across a conversation among authors on LinkedIn this morning about just that, and I thought I would include some excerpts so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Here are some of what the authors had to say:


The Positive

I have eight books in the Select program and think it has been the greatest thing since sliced bread,

I use the give-a-way program carefully. The first month I was in it I gave away about 2200 books for free, However, I also raised my sales over 1000%. After that for the next five months it dropped down to where I was giving away maybe twenty books a month but still selling about an average 200% above my starting sales numbers.

I am now going to drop out of the program and put my books back into all the markets and see how I do. I am quite happy with my six months results and would recommend it to anyone. But my name and books are much more well known now and I am getting a nice little following. So it’s time to spread out.

When I say I use it carefully here are some of the things I learned. If you are only going to try one book in it, don’t waste your time. You only get five days in three months to use the free book bit. Of course that isn’t going to get any notice. Eight books worked out wonderfully for me. What I found worked best for me is I give away a different free book every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I start the rotation with one of my best books. The second book is also one of my best, the third (or Sunday book) would be one that wasn’t doing so well, and I just keep rotating them in this order through the ninety days. I don’t give away any books om Monday thru Thursday. I found the response to be very low on those days.

Some people have told me that I would have still had a lot of sales for that period if I weren’t giving away the books. I guess that could be true, but for the two years leading up to that point my sales were poor so what else could have jump started my income?

A lot of the success still depends on your marketing. There is no substitute for good marketing. I am learning all the time…

Michael “Duke” Davis “The Dukester”

I gave away a lot of free books, but I’m not sure how much it helped my sales. But as a new novelist, I felt it was more important to get the first novel out rather than try for a big profit.

From the standpoint of getting my name out there, the select program worked. I’ve recieved lots of “fan mail” via twitter/facebook/email and have to field daily questions about when the next book will be out. So it looks like I’m on my way to a loyal following.
Alex Reissig

The Negative
This issue has been fully debated on various blogs, forums, and especially the Smashwords blog and on Mark Coker’s updates. Coker makes very strong points that it’s not good to have books exclusively on one site since you’re sacrificing sales at all other sites, i.e., iTunes Store, Nook, Sony Reader, and smartphone apps. Amazon may still be the largest seller of ebooks, but their share of the market is declining.

You’re giving readers more places to find your books if you have them distributed widely across all tablets, readers, smartphones.
Jack Erickson


Not a lot of comments, but some insightful ones. If you have any experience with Amazon Select that you would like to share, do so in the comments box below.

And for the rest of you … good luck making your decision!