KDP Select: Is It Worth It? 

JD Caron
October 6, 2022

Discover all of the KDP Select Pros and Cons and if it's worth entering your book in Amazon's exclusive program.

The video below explains everything you need to know about KDP Select, but if you rather feel like reading instead of watching, please continue to the transcript section below. 

KDP Select Video Transcript

KDP Select is it useful for self-published authors like you or me, or is it just another tactic from Amazon in their attempt to take over the world of e-commerce?

In this video, I'm gonna go over exactly what KDP Select is, the pros and cons of the program, what I personally do with my books and why all to help you decide whether or not this is the right program for you and your books.

But before we get into if you're new here, I'm Denis with “Weekend Publisher”. And on this channel, I talk all about how to profitably self-publish and market your books. That sounds interesting to you. Scroll down and poke that subscribe button, and ding that little bell next to it to be the first to know when I publish another video.

KDP Select

This is a very simplified way of looking at the KDP Select program as many factors need to be considered before making a decision.

Alright, now let's get into starting off a little bit about what KDP Select is. It's a free program offered by Amazon, where you agree to exclusively sell your eBook on Amazon.

In exchange for this exclusivity, you get some perks which we'll get into in just a moment here.

But just pay attention, KDP Select is only for the eBook

Now, this is where a lot of people get confused. They say: I want to be able to give away like paperback copies of my book, or hardback copies. This only applies to your eBook.

That's a big, big misconception that a lot of people in the self-publishing and self-publishing industry have. Now you might have heard the term "going wide with your eBook".

This is essentially the opposite of this. So we're not going to be able to sell our eBook or any other platforms like Google Books, or Apple books, or even like our own website. You can, however, give away up to 10% of your book as a sample, which is roughly like the length of the Kindle free reading sample that you find online through Amazon.

The cost of KDP Select

As the program is completely free to join, regardless of where you live. And it's free to leave after 90 days. So you sign that initial exclusivity contract with Amazon for 90 days. After that, it's free to cancel.

The only thing to really pay attention to here is that it's on automatic renewal. So if you plan on only going into it for 90 days, just to test it out, or whatever the case may be. Write a reminder, I use my Google calendar. And just write a reminder when is expiring, so make sure you take it off auto-renew.

And also some authors only have their eBook with Amazon and not in KDP Select, which is fine. It's all part of their strategy. Just because your eBook is just on Amazon, doesn't mean that you have to enroll in KDP Select, and enrolling in it is actually quite easy.

You just go to your “KDP Dashboard”, and under the “Marketing” tab, you'll find an area to “Enroll”.

KDP Select Program Pros

Alright, so let's talk about the pros.

The biggest pro, what I want to start off with is you get Kindle Unlimited page reads. 

Now let me explain a little bit what Kindle Unlimited is. Because this is a really big pro for us here. Kindle Unlimited is a program that people pay into, it's $10 a month. And it's a completely separate subscription from Amazon Prime or prime reading in the US or audible.

It also means that it's not necessary, you don't have to become a Prime member to get Kindle Unlimited, completely different services. They boast all about having like over a million titles in the KDP Select program that are better available to people with Kindle Unlimited.

And you don't even need a Kindle device to take advantage of it. And what this gives is that when people see a book online, they sometimes see that $0 price there that little Kindle Unlimited tag beneath it. And what this means is that is an indication to this person, whether they have the KU or not, that they could read the book for free.

So it's $10 a month for an unlimited amount of reads books that they can read. Now, this isn't a sales pitch for Kindle Unlimited, but I want to explain a little bit about what it is if you weren't aware, because in my opinion, it's a big pro of KDP Select.

Now, each page read that we get is called “KENP” or a Kindle Edition Normalized Page.

So each when a person goes through and reads each page, we get a certain dollar amount per page that they read and it changes every month. Unfortunately, it's been trending downwards for the past few years. And it's about four cents for every 10 pages read. So if you do the math, that is going to be less than if you were to sell the book. Depending on how you have the book priced, it is going to be less.

But the pro here is that you open yourself up to a big, huge wide range of people that might not have read your book, had it not been in Kindle Unlimited. And that's why I love it so much. It is great, especially for brand-new authors who are trying to gain as much exposure as possible. 

Another pro is that you get access to five days within every 90 day period to do a free book giveaway or a countdown, do the countdown deals, I'm not that big of a fan of the free book giveaways. I'm a big fan of so that is available to us, when we give a book away for free when somebody reads our book, and if they're in the Kindle Unlimited program, we still get paid for those patriots, which is really, really handy.

And what really makes that that free book giveaway, a massive, massive pro. And one note here before we go on to the next pro, because a lot of people kind of get this a little bit confused as well is that that five day within the 90-day period, you don't have five days consecutively, you can take them five one days, or what I like to do is split them up into one period of two days, another period of three days.

So you can you do with those five days as you want within that 90-day period. Another pro with being exclusive to Amazon. And this isn't so much for KDP Select, but if you just have the one listing is that you only have one listing to drive traffic to, you only have one listing to try and get reviews on, you only have one listing, we have to format the book description and update the book and so on.

So this is really essential, especially handy when you have a brand new author in self-publishing, it really helps sort of streamline things, it makes it less confusing, where you don't have to go to all these different platforms and find these, these services that spread out to these different platforms or go to those platforms yourself to learn all these different upload systems, it just makes it so much easier where you just have one place. 

You can send them to Goodreads, of course, as well. But Amazon, you know, if you've liked this book, leaving a review on Amazon just makes it so much simpler. And two smaller pros, I'm going to kind of combine these two is that you get to enroll, you can enroll a single book, or your whole Kindle catalog, like it's not all your books in your catalog, or none of your books, you can pick and choose which books you enroll.

And lastly, you get higher percentage of royalty. I mean, this doesn't apply to me or a lot of people, I'm sure watching this, but as I mentioned, you get a higher percentage of royalties for books that you sell in Japan, Mexico, India, and Brazil. I think those are all the countries.

KDP Select Program Cons

We talked about the pros, but it's not all good. It's not all roses, been in the KDP Select program. So it's talking about a few of the cons, or some of the hurdles that you have to kind of jump over or navigate around when you're in the KDP Select program.

And the big con here is giving away free electronic versions or eBooks have your copy of your book for review. So if you were to look online, and there's a lot of blogs and sources out there that linked back to Amazon's Terms of Services, and it read exactly this, you may also provide professional reviewers with a copy of your book via email for the purposes of editing, proofreading, and helping with other quality improvements. 

So all of these linked back to Amazon's Terms of Service is when it applies to KDP Select. And I remember reading this as well. But looking at their terms of service that were updated recording this in February, but the last terms of service last time was updated was the beginning of January 2021.

I can't find that phrasing anymore. So it leaves us with the question, can we a lot of people took that sentence there or those couple of that paragraph and read it to understand that yes, you can give away free copies of your book, for review purposes, as long as you stay within, you know, the community guidelines, all the other community guidelines for your book with that no longer being in there.

It adds more of a cloud of doubt with, can you give your book away for free for review purposes? Why did they take that out? When did they take that out? What does it mean? I don't know, it could be just sort of troublesome, especially since you signed that exclusive deal.

Another con is that you're in the program for 90 days. Now it's not for forever, and I tell people this like you can sign up for it. It's not forever, it's only three months. 90 days but for some people, it can seem like a long time.

Especially if you do want to start selling your book on your website or start selling on other platforms or want to give your book away for free liberally without the heavy hand of Amazon possibly coming down you nowadays can seem like a long time when you're anticipating where and when you're wanting to do that.

Another con is that you can't mark your book as “PERMAFREE”.

So PERMAFREE, as the name implies, is marking your book permanently free. And the way you do this is that you put your book on at least one other retailer, set it for $0 for free, get Amazon to price match it as free.

In that case, your book will be permanently free on Amazon, when it's exclusively on Amazon, whether in KDP Select, or not, you're not able to set your book as PERMAFREE.

So maybe you might not want to do that. I have kind of mixed feelings on PERMAFREE. I know it can be a powerful tool. But it's all depending on your marketing plan.

And another con, and I've already hinted at this a couple of times that you just can't sell it anywhere else. For example, you might want to sell it on directly on your website, at least for a period of time, and you're not able to do that.

And the last con is that if you do go wide and you put your book on, Google Play and Apple books and so on. Taking your book away, or taking the book down from some of these other online stores, can take a lot longer than expected and sometimes can be kind of a pain. And it could take days or weeks.

So you really have to kind of plan ahead. And all of those reviews that you've worked to get and know that possibly the audience on that platform is going to be totally gone. If you decide to remove your books and go into KDP Select, so those are all the cons.

Another big question I get is what if Amazon catches you breaking the rules of their KDP Select? And truthfully, I'm not entirely sure. I've seen places where some people have been just kicked out of the program like kicked out of KDP Select. But personally like I wouldn't be surprised if some people get their KDP accounts banned entirely.

Personally, I don't like taking those chances. So if I'm agreeing to make it exclusive, I don't want to take any chances, which leads me to what I do.

Do I personally have my books in KDP Select? Yes and no, sometimes it's a little bit complicated. I have books in four different genres. And what I generally do, what I found works best for me, and this might work best for you. And your situation is that I don't include it in KDP Select right away.

Why? Because I want that initial freedom to give it away freely for those initial reviews. I don't want to have to constantly be worried about that. Like I said, that heavy hand of Amazon coming down and possibly kicking me out of the program, or even worse banned in my account.

And for me, I don't want to be putting my income and my business in jeopardy. So I wait to go in KDP Select, wait until I get a giveaway of all the eBooks that I plan on giving away, and then I go into KDP Select. After that, I'll ideally have enough reviews, and then a high enough review rating to be able to take advantage of those five free days to do book promotions. I'm not gonna get too much into that market, the whole marketing strategy.

But I get into it in my book I'll link that down below. But if you subscribe to this channel, I'll be talking all about it. So make sure you hit that bell icon as well to find out when I release a new video, but that is just what I personally prefer, and that's what works for me. But authors find success both ways in KDP Select or not in KDP Select if this is your first book and first-time self-publishing, I would say just put it on Amazon, and do what I do.

You know, I don't, I don't want to tell you to take the risk of, you know, interested in KDP Select right away. And then given away free books. If you find a situation where you give away free eBooks to whomever you want, and then release your book and KDP Select that that's fine too. But for most new authors in in the self-publishing space, I would recommend just going with KDP Select.

It is going to be easier, and less to manage. You don't have to worry about all these other different platforms, driving traffic, building audiences, and being able to juggle all these different platforms.

So that's what I recommend. But as I said, it works. People have found success in both ways.

Escape the marketing nightmare...

Marketing is not everybody's forte. Even if you do find it interesting, do you have the time to upskill yourself, create the best marketing plan, track and follow up on its progress, and make reactive adjustments regularly to improve your ROI?

Maybe your time is better spent getting your thoughts on paper and sharing your stories with the world.

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About the author 

JD Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

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