For a while, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of Amazon exclusivity.
Amazon makes no secret that they want as many authors as possible to be available only on their devices, a program they call Kindle Select. The biggest incentive they offer used to be the ability to offer five free promo days in a three-month period, and a lot of authors have made their career by giving away the first book in their series to a few hundred thousand new fans.
They sweetened the deal with the Kindle Lending Library. The Lending Library lets people who own a Kindle device to borrow a new book every month, and read it for free. The author, though, still gets paid, out of a fund created by Amazon.
Recently, they introduced Kindle Countdown Deals, a way for authors to temporarily put a book on sale and have it automatically, gradually increase in price.
The latest benefit is Kindle Unlimited. Unlimited costs $9.99 a month, and gives the reader access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Basically, it’s Netflix for books. Like the Lending Library, authors still get paid whenever someone reads past the ten percent mark (basically, they get through the free preview), and like the Lending Library, the only way to get your book in is to be Amazon exclusive.
There are a lot of perks to being Amazon exclusive. I’ve resisted, because I’ve wanted my books available to as many people as possible. Recently, though, I decided to take the plunge. Starting today, and until at least the end of the year, my eBooks will be available only through Amazon (but the paperbacks will still be available everywhere).
This is the big reason. Between free promos, Countdown Deals, the Lending Library, and now Unlimited, there are a ton of ways to get noticed on Amazon. And just as importantly, my books are on the shelf next to a bunch of other authors’ who are using these tools to make their books more affordable and more attractive. Being in the Kindle Select program isn’t even about gaining an advantage anymore; it’s about evening the playing field.
The vast majority of my sales come from Amazon anyway
Sure, I might gain exposure on Amazon, but I’m also losing all of the sales I’d have coming from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and all of the other eBook outlets, right?
Kind of. Almost all of my sales come from Amazon already, so I might be giving up five or ten percent by going Amazon exclusive. My bet is that the perks of Kindle Select more than make up for that loss. Hugh Howey, author of Wool, has been experimenting with this for a couple of months, and he’s found that the sales jump on Amazon easily overcomes the loss of other outlets.
Still, I want as many people to be able to read my stories as possible. Turns out, there’s an answer for that.
Kindle apps everywhere
If you have a Mac, a PC, an iPhone, an Android phone, a tablet, or even a Nook HD, you can download a Kindle app and read your books right on your device. And, unlike the Nook, this app actually works on Mac.
Also, my books are sold DRM-free, which means you can easily load them onto another eReader, including Nook. You can use Calibre to do your conversion and loading automatically.
Becoming Amazon exclusive gives me more exposure, and really doesn’t limit readers from getting ahold of my stories, so I’m going to experiment. I expect this to be win-win. And if not, I’m only committed for three months.