Thursday, December 08, 2011

Amazon Kindle's new lending library, and what it means for writers

If you've been on Amazon recently, you may have noticed that some ebooks are free to borrow, as long as you have a Prime account and a Kindle. I received an e-mail today inviting me to the program, saying that if readers borrow my book, I'll be compensated a certain amount based on how many books total are borrowed during the month.

However, when I went to enroll, a notice popped up saying my books "must not be available in digital format on any other platform during their enrollment." I guess this means no Smashwords and no Barnes & Noble.

Smashwords has been a huge promotional tool for me, especially with its free coupons I send to book reviewers, so I don't want to take my book down there. And Barnes & Noble has netted me sales for readers with the Nook. I could make my next novel an Amazon exclusive for a few months, especially since my books are now available for sale in other countries there, but I don't want to shut out readers with the Nook, or keep it out of book reviewers' hands.

I know Amazon is trying to sell Kindles, and the majority of my sales are from their site, but I don't like how they're trying to monopolize the market. I'd apply for enrollment for a reduced payout if I could keep my book on other platforms. Writers, what do you think about this new program?

Update: Smashwords has responded here.


Mboyd1978 said...

I have decided to try out KDP Select on a few titles which have been low performers for whatever reason on Amazon.

It's extremely hard to pass up any opportunity to get more exposure, especially on books that I feel (and the reviews of said books seem to concur) are actually pretty good books.

I hate to take away anything from Smashwords or BN, but the honest fact is that I make more in one day @ Amazon than on both of those sites combined over a month. If other retailers could even come close to that level I would never opt in to granting any retailer exclusive sales rights, in the interest of pleasing my readers.

That said, for the time being, my best-selling stuff will remain off the "Select" listing. Let's just call it an experiment. I'll be sure to post up whatever I discover.

S.M. Boyce said...

Whenever you as a writer limit the distribution of your book, you also limit yourself and your sales. Amazon is trying to build themselves as having the most content, but if a writer buys into that, they only hurt themselves by ignoring readers on the Nook and the promotional potential Smashwords offers.

I would sign up for the lending library if I could keep my books on B&N and Smashwords, but as it is I don't think that signing up for this is in most authors' best interest.

-S.M. Boyce
Author of The Grimoire: Lichgates
“Once you open the Grimoire, there is no going back. You will be hunted. You have been warned.”