Jonny Nexus

Writing, life, politics

Tag: amazon

To KDP Select, Or Not To KDP Select… That Is The Awful Moral Choice

Below emphases in all quotes, mine:

What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is an optional program for you to reach even more readers and gives you the opportunity to earn more money. If you choose to make a book exclusive to the Kindle Store, which is a requirement during your book’s enrollment in KDP Select, the book will also be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). [snip] In addition, by choosing KDP Select, you will have access to a new set of promotional tools, including Kindle Countdown Deals (limited time promotional discounting for your book) and Free Book Promotion (readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time).

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A6KILDRNSCOBA

When you publish an ebook, the most important decision you have to make is probably whether or not to join Amazon’s KDP Select programme, where – if you agree to sell your ebook exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle store – you get access to a whole bunch of promotional goodies.

How much will being exclusive hurt you in terms of lost sales elsewhere? Probably not much.

During a round-table discussion Tim said “I do a have a concern that Amazon’s dominance is causing problems. We estimate Kindle has a 95% market share of e-book sales in the UK and this is having a damaging effect… Consider the struggles of Barnes & Noble and the Nook platform, the problems of the established Txtr in Germany, and the decision here of Tesco to pull out of Blinkbox Books.”

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/amazon-controls-95-of-the-ebook-market-in-the-uk

That’s the UK, but I suspect the US is similar. And 95% is what I would call a near-monopoly position. Let’s put it this way, if being on KDP Select increases your Kindle sales by a mere 6%, then it will have made up for the sales you lost by going exclusive. Will it help you make more than 6%?

The importance of a launch for your book in the Kindle store can not be overstated. And it’s not for the reasons you think i.e. your book being read by a bunch of old fans and discovered by new ones. A book launch is important because you need to get as many downloads as you can—at this stage it doesn’t matter if it’s actually read or not—so that your book will be favourably indexed by Amazon’s algorithms. I have it on good authority that if this favourable indexing doesn’t occur, your book will languish in the bowels of the Kindle store forever, never to be found by anyone. The only way a book can recover from a non-launch (so I’m told) is to unpublish it and relaunch it with a new cover and a new ASIN.

So what’s the best way to launch your book? Lots of downloads (hundreds, thousands) in the first few days it is released; however, unless you are an established author (I’m not) with a gigantic email list (don’t have) this is difficult to achieve. The only other way to do it is to make it free, and you can only do that if you enrol your book in Kindle Select, where you are allowed five free days per quarter for each book you have enrolled. You also have to let readers know it’s free, and that means spending money (not much if you don’t want to) on promoting it.

http://www.dianelee.com.au/dont-make-these-6-self-publishing-mistakes/

I think at this point I’ve dropped enough dots that it’s almost an insult to the reader to join them, but forgive me if I go ahead anyway. The deal that Amazon are offering, a few extra tools in return for offering them a monopoly on your book, would not make sense were it not for the fact that they have a near monopoly position in the ebook market; by offering such a deal, and having huge numbers of authors accept it, they help cement the near monopoly position that makes that deal worthwhile.

So going with KDP Select is a no-brainer, right? You’d have to be an idiot to turn it down?

Well I’m an idiot.

I’m a Kindle user myself, not on Amazon hardware, but on my iPhone using Amazon’s free Kindle app. But I just don’t feel comfortable with telling readers who’ve bought non-Kindle devices that they can’t legally read my books, at all, ever, in ebook form. So in addition to being on Kindle, I’ve made both Game Night and If Pigs Could Fly available on Smashwords. Readers can purchase them there in a variety of DRM-free formats, but Smashwords also distribute them to the other major ebook platforms, including iBooks, Nook, and Kobo.

In the short term, this decision will undoubtably hurt me. In the longer term, I’m hoping that good old-fashioned word of mouth buzz will help me catch up. And either way, while I fully respect everyone who made the decision to go with KDP Select, for now, this is a decision I feel happy with.

Mostly.

* * * * *

IfPIgsCouldFlyCover-FrontOnly-MediumIf Pigs Could Fly is available in both paperback and e-book format, from all leading outlets.

E-Book

Amazon UK (£1.99): [link]

Amazon US ($2.99): [link]

Smashwords (£1.99 | $2.99): [link]

Paperback

Amazon UK (£6.99): [link]

Amazon US ($9.99): [link]

If Pigs Could Fly should also be available on iBooks, Nook, and Kobo within a few days of its publication.

“West Kensington Paranormal Detective Agency. Doctor Ravinder Shah speaking. No case too weird, no problem too bizarre. Strangeness a speciality. How can I help you?”

London Social Worker Rav Shah moonlights as a paranormal detective, aided by one of his clients and a Border Collie he rents by the hour. It was supposed to be a bit of fun: a search for truths out there; a quest for a life more interesting than the one that fate, destiny, and personal apathy had granted him.

But then a case involving a Yorkshire farmer and a herd of flying pigs leads him into a world darker and more dangerous than he’d ever dreamed.

The truth is indeed out there.

And it’s got Rav square in its sights.

On Amazon Pricing Policies

When publishing a book, one of the big questions you have to ask yourself is: how much am I going to charge for it? And in an era where you will have two versions, a physical paper version and an electronic e-reading version, of which the latter is probably the most important product, this is actually quite a hard question. A lot of it comes down to the psychology of pricing.

For the new Game Night, and if Pigs Could Fly when it comes out, I’ve gone for a fairly simple policy.

Paperback (trade): $9.99 US / £6.99 UK

Ebook (Kindle + others): $2.99 US / £1.99 UK

I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t mention that those two ebook prices are the minimum price points at which Amazon will pay you a 70% royalty; anything below that pays 35%. That fact did help me pick the actual price points. But I genuinely feel that those prices are a fair price for a novel, with the Ebook prices especially hitting that point where I feel I’m getting a reasonable price for the work while the reader/purchaser feels that they’re paying a reasonable price for what is, at the end of the day, nothing more than a digital file.

Obviously, other people will come to other conclusions. It’s a confusing market. But then you see something like this:

MadKindlePrice

I’m sorry, but that’s just insane. Asking someone to pay £8.54 for the Kindle version might be reasonable if: a) the book has just come out and the only other, physical, version is say a hardback priced at £18.99, or; b) this is a very expensive textbook with the physical version being much more expensive.

But when it’s a book that launched more than three years ago, and the paperback version is barely fifty pence more, that makes no sense at all. In the US, this book is even more incoherently priced: you can buy the paperback new for $9.22 while the Kindle version will set you back $13.31.

What I think happened is that they originally launched a hardback version (there’s one now, priced at £12.95) and a Kindle version, setting the Kindle version to complement the hardback price. And then, when they launched the paperback version, they just, plain, damn… forgot to reduce the price of the Kindle version. Which in the Kindle era, in my opinion, qualifies as incompetence of the highest order.

It’s the poor author I feel sorry for.

 

Amazon Author Pages

I’ve just discovered a rather cool new feature that Amazon have introduced: Author Pages.

Basically, it’s a page for each author which can customised with the author’s picture and a biography. You can get to the author’s page by simply typing the author’s name into the search box. The author page should then appear as the second item in the last, along with all the various books by or about that author.

Here’s Neil Gaiman’s for example:

The really cool thing is that you don’t have to create the page. Amazon will create a default one, just waiting for you to fill it in. For example:

Mind you… It turns out that not every author has had an author page created. Here’s what I get when I type “Jonny Nexus” into Amazon:

Thanks Amazon! ‘Preciate that! That latter book’s by “Anonymous” by the way. How the hell they get “Nexus” into that I have no idea. The answer might be in its product page, but I’m frankly too scared to look.

Anyhow, I’m thinking I should perhaps stick to Amazon.com:

No author page, but no spank books by “Anonymous” either. That’s gotta be a result, right?

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