This week I’ve finally been forced to do something that I really wanted to avoid doing, but can no longer justify not doing. I have decided to make my debut novel The Exercise Of Vital Powers an Amazon exclusive by enrolling it in the KDP Select program. If you don’t know what that entails, KDP Select is the means by which Amazon incentivises authors to give them exclusive ebook distribution rights, in exchange for various promotional perks. Choosing to go this route means that authors cannot sell their books via any other marketplaces, be it Apple iBooks or Kobo.
In some ways this is a bitter pill to swallow. Ideally I would want any book I publish to be available to buy from all the major distribution channels, even though Amazon’s market share dwarfs the combined market share of all its competitors. But more importantly, I don’t like being complicit in further entrenching Amazon’s dominant position by disadvantaging the competition; history shows that monopolies invariably become problematic sooner or later. And putting my customer hat on, I prefer to get my ebooks from Kobo, and I know how frustrating it is to discover that I book I’m interested in reading is only available from Amazon.
So what prompted my decision to pull my book from all the other outlets it had previously been available? Well, it simply boils down to the fact that despite also being on sale at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords, 100% of my sales have come from Amazon customers. Lowering the price on the other platforms did nothing to spur even a single sale, and even making the book available free of charge for a week only resulted in 3 downloads. Admittedly, I don’t necessarily have an issue with Amazon being more popular with book buyers. But that said, I can’t ignore the fact that having The Exercise Of Vital Powers available on multiple underperforming outlets was cutting me off from a hitherto untapped revenue stream in Kindle Unlimited. This ultimately made my decision an easy one to make.
It is my hope this won’t be a permanent measure. I expect that one day I’ll be in the position where I won’t be obligated to put all my eggs in Amazon’s basket. But for the foreseeable future I just don’t have a high enough profile or large enough readership to get any meaningful sales traction outside Amazon’s ecosystem.
Thanks for reading,