After six years of publishing the e-versions of my books on Smashwords, last month I deleted them all and put them into Amazon’s KDP Select program. On the surface, this was a pragmatic decision driven by commercial considerations; on the other hand, I feel a little like Winston Smith at the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four (spoiler alert!): I love Big Brother.
First, for those of you who don’t know the ins and outs of the Glorious Self-Publishing Revolution, here’s some brief background. You can publish your e-book with Smashwords and they will distribute it to all of the major e-book platforms, including Nook, Kobo, Apple’s i-bookstore, and a few others whose names temporarily escape me. At the same time, you can also publish your e-book on Amazon’s Kindle, and Amazon will put a buy-page up on all of its country-specific sites. A few years ago, Amazon introduced KDP Select, which offered authors some little extras on the condition that they made the e-version of their book exclusive to Amazon. At the time, a lot of people called foul, and there were (and remain) strong arguments that KDP Select’s terms restrict e-book market competition.
However, Amazon then introduced Kindle Unlimited membership for its customers. The Amazon customer pays a flat monthly fee and “borrows” as many e-books as she/he likes instead of having to buy them. The catch? An e-book can only be borrowed if the author has put it into KDP Select. To me, this seemed nothing short of outrageous and I refused to have anything to do with it. I wanted to be an independent author whose books were available on as many platforms as possible, not held to exclusivity ransom. Smashwords’ founder Mark Coker had created a terrific platform for independent authors which acted as grit in the eye of the all-conquering Amazon. But there was one snag: for over three years I hadn’t sold a single copy through Smashwords. Continue reading
Share and Enjoy