A blog piece by Jim Kukral at the Huffington Post on the subject of KDP Select gave me food for thought and I began researching other points of view on this very popular means for indie authors to sell their books.
As Mr. Kukral points out, there are two very strong sides to this issue. I think the big question is “making money” versus “building an audience”. Many of our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree authors take advantage of KDP and utilize the opportunity to give their books away for free for a limited time. They get a bit of boost in sales and make a bit of money in the process. The question is – does this actually build their audience? As this article states, those who seek out free book downloads are not particularly loyal readers and may do little talking about or reviewing of books. I do not know the statistics, but I wonder how many authors who take advantage of KDP actually build a big following?
Sales on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony eReader and other means of reading eBooks arguably do not match the sales that amazon.com does. On the other hand, by placing their book on a site like Kobo an author is competing with far fewer books in his/her genre and it only takes a couple of serious readers to start great word of mouth.
We are finding that our applications for readers at indieBRAG increasingly specify that they have an eBook reader other than a Kindle. Because the vast majority of our book nominations are only available at amazon.com, the authors of these books lose out on reaching these other readers.
I would love to start a discussion on this dilemma: whether an author should commit to exclusivity on KDP and thereby obtain thousands of downloads to readers who MAY not become loyal fans―or―make their book available to the other online book sellers who have a far smaller audience.