Monday, February 12, 2024

Exclusivity, Is It Worth It For Self-Published Authors?


So, let’s not beat around the bush – Amazon pretty much has the market for eBooks sewn up. As of 2017, Amazon accounted for more than 80% of all digital book sales, and just a year later accounted for no less than 50% of all online sales – of anything! If you’re serious about selling books online, Amazon is most definitely the biggest marketplace you should be playing in.

By Ginger at Hidden Gems Books.

If you're just starting out as an indie publisher you're faced with two options exclusive with Amazon or wide.

What Do Those Terms Mean to an Indie Author?

Exclusive - With Amazon

When Amazon started publishing books it was a game changer for the publishing industry.  It allowed authors everywhere the opportunity to print or produce an ebook without the need of a publishing house.  Before Amazon writers had to send in their manuscripts to a publisher, in the hopes it might be published.  But there was no guarantee.

Amazon has Kindle Create, a simple platform that allows writers to upload a formatted manuscript and format it accordingly ready for publishing.  The platform is easy to use, allowing anyone with a little know-how to upload an ebook or paperback, and be published within 24 to 48 hours.

After books are formatted in Kindle Create, and uploaded to Amazon for publishing, they are thoroughly checked over to make sure they fit in with Amazon's publishing guidelines.

Kindle Select

When the KDP Select box is checked in Kindle Direct Publishing a book becomes exclusive to Amazon.  Meaning, it can't be published anywhere else online.  Which means you can't publish on platforms such as Kobo, Apple Books to name a few, and not even your own platform or your website.

On the upside Amazon is great for new authors just starting out and looking to build an audience.  It gives you the option to offer your book for free for 5 days during a 90 day period, and then it rolls over again.

Publishing Wide

is the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket. 

Don Quixote

The key part of this quote lies in not putting all of your eggs in one basket.

In other words, you don't want to be dependent on only one income stream.

Amazon is huge in the US and UK, but there are other platforms that reach further afield to other countries like Germany, where Apple Books and Tolino have a larger share of the market than Amazon.

Bestseller Lists

Another aspect of going wide is that the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists will only consider books that are published in more than one store, which leaves titles published on Amazon off the bestseller list radar.

Going Wide Means a Change of Strategy

Every new platform you publish on comes with its own set of rules, which means your marketing strategy may have to change.  Something you need to think about before you start putting your books to reach a wider audience.

Going Wide Comes With Its Own Problems

Amazon is still superior to the competition because of its consistency and integrity in the author and reader experience.  Platforms such as Apple conspired to fix the price of their books with mainstream publishers in 2016, and ended up with a $450 million fine, as a consequence.

Going Wide or Exclusive, Which One is Best?

That's up to you and the market you want to reach with your books.

Don't rush into anything, always plan ahead, and think about what you need to market your books from this new platform, before you start going wide.

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