Thinking of KDP Select? Read the fine print…

Amazon just gave a big fat middle-finger to all the other ebook stores out there with the announcement of their KDP Select program. It sounds great:

KDP Select gives you access to a whole new source of royalties and readers – you not only benefit from a new way of making money, but you also get the chance to reach even more readers by getting your book in front of a growing number of US Amazon Prime customers: readers and future fans of your books that you may have not had a chance to reach before! Additionally, the ability to offer your book for free will help expand your worldwide reader base.

But as with all things that “sound great,” you need to read the fine print:

1 Exclusivity. When you include a Digital Book in KDP Select, you give us the exclusive right to sell and distribute your Digital Book in digital format while your book is in KDP Select. During this period of exclusivity, you cannot sell or distribute, or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, your Digital Book (or content that is reasonably likely to compete commercially with your Digital Book, diminish its value, or be confused with it), in digital format in any territory where you have rights.

In other words, if you also published your ebook on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc., you’ll have to remove it from those sites while you’re in the KDP Select program.

Now this is a brand new program, so I don’t pretend to know if placing my ebooks in it is worth the lost sales from the other online bookstores I use. I’ll wait for all the first-adopters to be my guinea pigs.

But the program’s costs/benefits aren’t the most interesting thing about it to me.

What’s interesting is that KDP Select’s “Exclusivity” clause means Amazon has just declared war on every other ebook store. Now authors will have to think about whether their ebooks will get more exposure/sales from KDP Select’s — admittedly — large marketing mega-phone, or if they’ll do better on the virtual shelves of multiple ebook stores. Many authors will choose KDP Select and give up placing their ebooks elsewhere.

The other ebook stores must respond to this. They have no choice. Whatever they do, though, it’ll only benefit authors. They’re fighting over us and want to lure us into their stores with the better deal. Without authors, they have no product to sell.

Feels nice to be fought over.

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