Recently, Mark Coker the creator and CEO of Smashwords, one of the world’s most popular ebook distributors released a bit of a rant trashing Amazon’s KDP Select program. His biggest criticism of the program is the exclusivity clause preventing authors from publishing elsewhere for 90 days. He believes authors should publish everywhere saying, “Amazon plays indie authors like pawns in its greater battle to harm other ebook retailers.”
I’m insulted by his remarks simply because I was no pawn. I made a business decision, not Amazon. If the other online retailers would have offered a program like KDP I most certainly would’ve participated there as well. Since I was a first time author who needed exposure, not just book sales, it made sense to distribute my free ebooks with the world’s biggest online book retailer.
Does it Work?
The KDP program actually helped get my book into the hands of several thousand readers. In fact, my book was thrusted into the #10 position on the Amazon’s Bestseller list in the Women’s and Children’s Literature category. It also reached #19 in the Children’s People and Places category. Could I have done that on Barnes and Noble or Smashwords? I seriously doubt it!
But Mr. Coker goes further and praises companies like Apple for their global growth in the ebook retail business. Sorry, but maybe Mr. Coker hasn’t heard of Apple’s iBooks Author program which is very exclusive. It’s so exclusive, you can only publish the book you created on their interface via the Apple store. Last time I checked, that’s way worse than KDP! iAuthor caused such a stir within the indie community last year, that an article was devoted to it on Writer Beware.
Will Amazon Always Reign?
Today Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world, but will that always be true? I doubt it. Just like Facebook, which is quickly losing its appeal with its own user base, it’s popularity may just fade away with time. So whether you like them or not, today Amazon is the popular jock in school bossing everyone else around. We have to do business with them. Who else is offering what they do? Not all of us are looking for just dollars and cents. Most authors both rookie and pro are looking for eyeballs to read their books and for readers to spread the word far and wide. For now, KDP does just that.