Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Opinion on the Amazon KDP Select Program

First, I am thrilled to see Amazon include independent authors in this program.  It is a definite sign of the times to see the market opening up so much for all who love to write.  Amazon Prime is set to be a big hit in the near future.  The program is able to pull more potential readers into the eBook market by promoting their movies, music, TV shows, and now books.  One yearly fee for access to so much is surely going to secure many more Amazon customers.

One of the stipulations is that the author exclusively lists the eBook in Amazon’s Kindle Store.  While Amazon has been a strong source of sales for me, I cannot ignore the success I have experienced on Barnes & Noble.  I have seen some authors talk about only selling 10% as much on Barnes & Noble as they have sold on Amazon, and therefore it’s not a big enough market for them to consider.  In contrast to those authors, 46% of my sales are derived from Barnes & Noble and other outlets like Kobo, Sony, and iBooks. It would be crazy for me to let down 46% of my readers just to have a chance at a small share of that $500,000 per month.

More importantly, I would be doing my readers a disservice if I took my books down from Barnes & Noble and other outlets. It would be a disservice to readers from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, etc. who have taken the time to email me about how much they like my books. Why should I take my books away from them?  There are some creative ways to use a Nook tablet to download Kindle software.  But, if I told 46% of my readers that they had to go buy another device or hack their Nook Color, I am pretty sure we’d never see each other again. Furthermore, I have just enrolled in Operation E-Book Drop that offers my books for free to deployed active duty military through Smashwords. If I joined Amazon’s KDP Select Program, I would have to withdraw my support of this important program that I proudly support. I will gladly keep my books in the Kindle Store.  But for all of the reasons listed in this post, my books won’t be enrolled in the KDP Select program.

Readers are customers and they deserve quality customer service from the author.  That begins with access to your books.  I will keep my books listed with the online retail sites that ensure any reader can find the right format for their eReader.  A listing of each is here.

I applaud Amazon’s policy of inclusion for independent authors, but I must decline the invitation at this time.  Each of the readers that select my books are worth hanging on to. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Book for the Holidays

When I was in school, the last thing I wanted was a book for Christmas. In law school if I saw a book I would run screaming from the room. Try reading approximately 200 pages of law text a night and then see a book and say, "I want to read more!" Did. Not. Happen.

But, then something great happened. I passed the bar exam! I grabbed every book that I had not picked up for three years and toted them to the beach. I polished off eight books in six days.It was glorious.

Now I am so excited for Christmas because I hope for books under my tree and in my e-reader stocking. I love having other people buy me books, send me a book download (Amazon lets you purchase actual ebooks as gifts!), or through a Nook gift card. That means that person took the time to look through books for something they know I would like. It means a lot to me and it has the added benefit of experiencing something new.

Some of my favorite authors have been from a book that was given to me as a gift. My aunt will give me a different type of book than my mother-in-law and she'll give me a different kind of book than my best friend. You know why I love it so much? You find new authors, new books, and a new adventure with each one.

So, this year if you don't know what to get your best friend with her new Kindle or Nook, give her a book or books to build up her library on her new eReader! A thought for a gift - give a Kindle or Nook gift card with a list of books you recommend. Find your favorite books and pass them along - you never know what great new book you'll discover in return this holiday season!

Wishing you all a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, a soft sofa, and a good book to curl up with this holiday season.