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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Hadley

Understanding KDP Select

If you’ve ever looked at books on Amazon or you read using the Kindle app, you’ve probably heard of Kindle Unlimited. KDP Select is the publishing side of Kindle Unlimited. For your novel to be part of Kindle Unlimited, you as the author must sign up for Kindle Select. Signing up for KDP Select is a big decision to make though, so let’s go over the basic things you should know before diving in.

What is KDP Select?

When you enroll in KDP Select, your books are automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Your books will still be available to buy in the Kindle Store if readers want to purchase them or don’t have Kindle Unlimited.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is the subscription service that allows readers who have the subscription to read as many Kindle books as they want. Readers pay a monthly subscription to read those books without having to buy them. This is great for readers, especially if they read a lot and often.

What is the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library?

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a collection of books Kindle owners who also have Amazon Prime can choose from. They can choose one book each month with no due date.

What are the terms of KDP Select?

So, the first thing you need to know about KDP Select is that you have to have your Kindle book exclusive to the Kindle Store for the KDP Select enrollment period (ninety days). You can continue to sell paperback books through other channels, but your ebook has to be Kindle-exclusive. After the ninety day period, you can re-enroll your ebook in KDP Select, or you can choose to distribute your ebook on multiple platforms again. So, basically, your ebook must be Amazon-exclusive for at least ninety days.

You are still allowed to post a 10% sample of the book outside of the Kindle Store. For instance, you could post a 10% sample on your author website and on any other platform that will allow you to post just a sample.

One big thing to keep in mind about KDP Select is this: If you violate any of the KDP Select rules, Amazon has the right to ban you from selling on their website. That means it is really important to read over all the Terms & Conditions on Amazon, and make sure you know what you need to do or not do.

How do you earn money through KDP Select?

With KDP Select, you have the ability to reach more readers and earn more money, without any additional cost to you. The way you will earn money through this program is through the possibility to earn a share of the KDP Select Global Fund. Your earnings from this fund are calculated by the pages each reader reads in your ebook for the first time. Though readers can read your ebook as many time as they want, Amazon will only pay you for the number of pages read by the customer the first time. This may seem off, but it is same as if someone bought your book. They would be able to read your book as many times as they want, but you would only be paid for the single purchase.

Amazon has published this information to explain how royalties work in the KDP Select program:

We review the size of the KDP Select Global Fund each month in order to make it compelling for authors to enroll their eBooks in KDP Select. We announce the fund monthly in our community forum. The share of fund allocated to each country varies based on a number of factors, such as exchange rates, customer reading behavior, and local subscription pricing. Author earnings are then determined by their share of total pages read, up to a total of 3,000 pages per customer per title.

For example, here's how we'd calculate royalty payout if $10 million in funds were available in a given month with 100 million total pages read (Note: Actual payouts vary and may be less; check your Prior Month's Royalty Report to see your earnings):

  • Author with a 100 page eBook that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).

  • Author of a 200 page eBook that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).

  • Author of a 200 page eBook that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).

So, what are the benefits of KDP Select?

  • You have the chance to earn higher royalties. You can earn your share of the KDP Select Global Fund, and you will be able to earn 70 percent royalty for sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil, and Mexico.

  • You will have the opportunity to reach a wider audience from all over the world because your book is available on KU and KOLL.

  • You can participate in Kindle Countdown Deals. For one week of the ninety days, you can discount your book and put it on a “countdown deal.” You can still earn 70% royalties on book sales, even if you price your book below $2.99.

  • For ninety days, you can set your book to free for five days (can’t be in the same ninety-day period as a countdown deal).

And, what are the cons of enrolling with KDP Select?

  • Your ebook can only be available on Amazon throughout the enrollment period.

  • You never know how well your book will do on other platforms unless you put it out there. If you can’t put your ebook up, you just won’t know if maybe your book will take off on Apple Books.

  • You won’t be able to post your ebook with any library distributor.

  • You won’t be able to post your ebook on your own website.

  • Kindle isn’t as popular in some other countries, so you will lessen your chance of your ebook being read in those countries.

  • Amazon runs on algorithms, and a lot of them, so it can be fickle. It’s harder to build a wide presence, but it is harder to lose it because other non-Amazon stores are curated by humans, which means it’s not as easy to lose the foothold you have on these sites.

  • If you are Amazon-exclusive, you can’t get on the USA Today or New York Times’ Best Sellers lists.

So, should you enroll in KDP Select?

It’s your decision no matter what. Just like everything in self-publishing, you have to decide what you want to do. I personally am a big supporter of going wide with your book because, in the long run, you will have more potential for growth. The growth will be slow, but you can really go big when you self-publish wide on several different platforms. Additionally, Amazon is very algorithm-based, and this can work against you. You could be trending up and up and up for weeks, and then the second your book stops meeting the requirements of the algorithms, your ratings could plummet.

But, there is an ease in being Amazon exclusive. Amazon has a majority of the book market--something like 80%. So, if you choose to be Amazon-exclusive, you will still have a major possible audience. It can be easy to have your book in just one place, rather than having to monitor multiple platforms. Plus, if you enroll in KDP Select, you get the opportunity to use many discounting tools for your books. So, there are definite benefits to going Amazon-exclusive.

As I said before, it’s really your decision, and it can be a hard one to make. So just remember, you only have to be enrolled in KDP Select for ninety days. This means, you can start as Amazon-exclusive, and then add your ebook onto other platforms down the road. But, I don’t recommend starting wide and then pulling your books back to be Amazon-exclusive. The reason is that though it can be work to build up popularity on other platforms, once you have it, it doesn’t tend to go away. So long as you don’t pull your books from those platforms.

The most important thing to consider though is what’s best for you. Sit down and write out your goals for your romance novel and career as a self-published author. From there, you can build a publishing plan to help meet those goals and help you make the tough decisions, such as whether or not to enroll in KDP Select.



“Why Enroll in KDP Select?” Kindle Direct Publishing,

“Royalties in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library” Kindle Direct Publishing,

“READ THIS Before You Enroll in KDP Select!” ReedsyBlog.

“Pros and Cons of KDP Select.” BookCave.

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