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There is NO Grey Area with KDP Select!

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Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by Ben Oakley

KDP Select is simple enough but so many authors get it wrong. So wrong in fact that they risk getting their entire KDP accounts banned.

If you decide to enrol in KDP Select, you are making an agreement with Amazon to sell your eBook exclusively through them.

That exclusivity window lasts for 90 days, during which time you should adhere to the rules. For if you don’t, Amazon will come down on you hard.

The benefits that come with KDP Select:

  • It’s free to join.
  • Your book will be in Kindle Unlimited.
  • Kindle Unlimited gets you access to millions of readers.
  • You earn a share of the KDP Select Global Fund.
  • Possibility of bonuses under KDP Select All-Stars.
  • Ability to run free promotions.
  • You get paid per page read.
  • Pages read is worked out through Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read (KENP).

The rules are simple.

  • Publish exclusively with KDP.
  • Do not sell or distribute your eBook ANYWHERE else for 90 days.

Except, it’s the rules that have caused so many problems for some authors. First of all, KDP Select IS worth it, especially for a first-time author.

At the very least, it’s worth a shot at the first 90 days and if you decide to go wide after that then simply exit the program.

Sounds great, right? So, where’s the problem?

There is NO Grey Area with KDP Select!
An example of what KENP looks like in the Amazon KDP reporting tab.

The rules within the rules

Here are some things you can do WHILE you’re enrolled in KDP Select.

  • Sell print copies of the same book EVERYWHERE.
  • You can share a 10% sample of the book outside of Amazon.
  • Run a giveaway if you are the one gifting the book to the winner from Amazon.

Can I run a giveaway while enrolled in KDP Select?

Amazon says:

When you include a Digital Book in KDP Select, you give us the exclusive right to sell and distribute your Digital Book in digital format while your book is in KDP Select. During this period of exclusivity, you cannot sell or distribute, or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, your Digital Book (or a book that is substantially similar), in digital format in any territory where you have rights.

When you run a giveaway, you are not breaking Amazon’s terms. As long as you gift the eBook from Amazon then there is no problem.

Running a giveaway away from Amazon is against their terms as you are distributing outside of Amazon.

Can I share a sample of my book?

Amazon provide readers with a 10% sample on their site. Readers can access the preview by using the Look Inside function on your book’s Amazon page.

In return, Amazon allow you to share the same 10% online to promote the book. Using a 10% sample is not against the rules, as it is seen as a marketing tool.

Can I send my book to readers while enrolled in KDP Select?

No. Giving your book away for free to a reader, even if it’s in return for a review, is against the rules. This is because you would be self-distributing the book.

Remember what Amazon said: “You cannot sell or distribute or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, your Digital Book.”

Giving a book away for free is self-distributing and will land you in hot water.

You can send advanced reader copies (ARCs) to readers BEFORE you enrol in KDP Select, not after.

The grey area of KDP Select

Some authors believe that running giveaways and giving away digital books for reviews is not against the terms.

And while this may be true in some areas, it’s simply not worth risking your entire KDP account over.

The grey areas:

  • Giving out ARC copies after publication.
  • Running giveaways outside of Amazon.
  • Sending out review copies.

Some have suggested that because the above are not considered general retail, that they are acceptable under the terms. But let’s look once more at what Amazon says, quite clearly.

When you include a Digital Book in KDP Select, you give us the exclusive right to sell and distribute your Digital Book in digital format while your book is in KDP Select. During this period of exclusivity, you cannot sell or distribute, or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, your Digital Book (or a book that is substantially similar), in digital format in any territory where you have rights.

It’s important to repeat the above constantly. When you read into it further, the grey area is not so grey.

You give Amazon the exclusive right to sell AND distribute your book.

With the Select program, you can run a free book promotion, where Amazon distributes your book to readers for free. They don’t want you distributing your book for free elsewhere.

Follow the rules and stay safe

The easiest way to make the most of KDP Select is to sign up for 90 days and don’t even think about doing anything else with the book.

Don’t give it away, don’t sell it elsewhere, don’t provide free copies for something in return.

More importantly, don’t look for ways to bend the rules.

If it seems like it falls into a grey area, then it probably does. Don’t risk your entire account and publishing career.

KDP Select is one of the best programs out there for self-published authors. Even for a single 90-day period, it can help propel your work while you plan the next stage of your journey.

But remember, you only get out of it what you put into it!

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!

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