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How even though I went ‘exclusive’ on Amazon, you can still get my next book on your non-Kindle device
This post is for my readers, and specifically my non-Kindle readers, to explain why I decided to enroll my books in the Amazon KDP Select program.
For some time, Kindle Digital Publishing, the Amazon ebook publishing platform, has been offering authors the option of enrolling their books in a program called KDP Select. There are numerous benefits offered ‘Select’ authors, principal among them promotional opportunities, increased royalties in certain markets, and additional revenue from participation in the Kindle Owners Lending Library. The one big drawback is exclusivity — if you enroll your ebook titles in Select, you have to withdraw them for sale elsewhere (i.e. Nook, Apple, Kobo, etc.)
For some authors, it was a no brainer, if you had minimal non-Kindle sales anyway, then Select was an opportunity. My situation was a little different, as about 25% of my readership was non-Kindle, primarily Nook. However, even at that, it looked like the smart long term move was to go Select.
But I was conflicted. I really don’t like the concept of ‘exclusivity’ in principle, and my non-Kindle readers were among my most supportive. Even if I could make more money, I didn’t really like the idea of abandoning folks who wanted to read my work, just because they didn’t have the most popular device.
So what changed my mind? Basically the writing on the wall. My non-Kindle sales began to lag, and the recent news out of Barnes and Noble isn’t very encouraging. They haven’t introduced a new Nook device in well over a year, and a recent report highlighted the fact that B&N has lost over one billion dollars (yes, that’s ‘billion’ with a ‘b’) on the Nook since 2010. There have been frequent shifts in management of the Nook unit, and within the last month they’ve laid off all of their hardware engineers. Even if you don’t introduce new products, you need engineers around to support the old ones, so I’m thinking B&N knows something they’re not sharing with the rest of us.
Now I can’t say for sure when the other shoe will drop, and I honestly hope the Nook survives in some form, but I’m not betting the farm on it. In an increasingly competitive ebook marketplace, an author needs every edge he or she can get, so I’m giving Select a try. I only have to commit 90 days at a time, so if things change I can adapt.
However, I still had one big problem, and that was what to do about the readers that would be locked out of a ‘Kindle only’ distribution. I decided to compromise, for the next book at least. Since I can enroll books in Select individually, I decided not to enroll my latest book Deadly Crossing immediately. I’m releasing Deadly Crossing on all platforms (i.e. Amazon, Nook, Apple, and Kobo) and will keep it there for a limited period, probably thirty days. After that, I’ll pull it from the non-Kindle sites and enroll it into KDP Select. That’s not perfect, but it’s about the only way I could figure to serve the needs of all my readers.
I don’t know exactly what the future will bring, so I can’t advise you on the best device. However, it seems to be a pretty safe bet that the various Kindle devices and the iPad will still be around. Amazon also offers a pretty healthy suite of free Kindle apps to allow you to shop the Kindle Store and read Kindle content on other devices (iPads, Smartphones, Android tablets, etc.)
Whatever happens a year or ten down the road, I hope I’m still here pumping out stories, and that you’re still here reading them, whatever your ereader.