Unless you’ve written an ebook and self-published it lately, you may not be aware of the new option for indie authors. KDP Select, a new feature from Amazon, affords indie authors and bestselling authors alike the opportunity to be paid every time their ebook is checked out through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Authors will share a predetermined amount of money each month based on how many times their titles are borrowed.
The catch? Amazon is the only ebook retailer where the author is allowed to place their book. They cannot sell it through other distribution channels, nor give it away for free on other sites, including their own blog.
Smashwords, an ebook distribution platform, has posted a scathing warning to authors on its blog that encourages authors to be aware of all of the terms and conditions prior to enrolling any of their works in this program. The blog post can be read here.
While many critics could argue that this is just a case of sour grapes from a competing platform that doesn’t like Amazon’s business practice, in this case, demanding 100% exclusivity in regard to the rights to authors’ works defies the reason many authors go independent. Smashwords makes the valid case, that the reason so many people are turning to indie publishing is the very desire to not be told where and for how much their books can be sold. On the surface, the blog post is quite assuredly demonstrating Smashwords’ aggravation at KDP Select, but when you look further (especially in the comments’ section from authors who have responded to the post) you might find some key points that need to be addressed by authors of every level.