Thursday, December 8, 2011
Why I'm On the Fence About KDP Select
How the amounts are calculated...
The example given in the KDP FAQ are very generous. Only 100,000 monthly book borrowed? Only? So out of everyone with a Prime Membership, only 100,000 people will borrow a book? Sure, no problem. We'll go with it.
Then, you get a percentage of the pool of money based on the percentage of downloads you had. That math sounds amazing, as a month with fewer downloads total means you get paid MORE money. Does this make sense? Does it really make sense that Amazon is going to promote and support a program as it dwindles with $500,000 every month? What happens when only 50,000 Prime members download a book, effectively doubling the royalty paid on each download? Flip side, as the program gets more and more readers participating, you get less money per download. They're committing to investing $6 million into the royalty share pool. I'm sure more and more readers will borrow the more expensive, top titles, just like those books are the same ones always with a waiting list at your local library.
I'm concerned about the program's influence on public libraries, many of which are just now going to digital content lending. I don't like the idea of libraries having to pay authors royalties on the content they give out. I firmly believe that public libraries are a strong part of a people's culture, and that information should be available despite economic status. I don't want to see a return of commercial libraries where people pay a membership.
Second issue I have is with the likelihood that my book will be borrowed. My book is $2.99. Remember, a reader can ONLY borrow 1 book per month, or 12 books per year. I already have a hard enough time convincing readers to buy my novel instead of the three to four times more expensive NY Times Bestsellers. How am I going to convince a reader to download my cheaper title for their one book they are allowed per month when I can't even convince them to pay $3.00 for it, which they are saving by borrowing the NY Times Bestseller for free?
The exclusivity clause and allowed to make my book free for 5 days out of every 90 days also troubles me. There is already a mechanism to make your book free on Amazon with price matching. Will there be a crackdown now on authors who use this system to make their book free on Amazon? Will KDP Select, meaning your book now must be exclusive to Amazon, be the only way you can offer it for free?
In the end, I will probably not enroll my novels in KDP Select Lending. I am considering including a short story or two, that I am working on now for publication early next year. They were going to be free or $.99 anyway. I get about 30% of my total sales from B&N, and I sell my book on my personal website. I'm not giving up 30% of my income for an Amazon exclusive program....
Besides, did anyone notice that Barnes and Noble now has an indie book store?
**** I'm not the only author waiting to see how this plays out. Another thoughtful post from author Jessica Dragon Cheramie.
A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. WIP: SERVED Two never married parents fight over their toddler's upbringing and moving on with their lives, without each other;(status: outlining)
Posted by Elizabeth Ann West at 1:08 PM