Saturday, October 5, 2013

To Amazon Select, or Not To Amazon Select?

That is the question.

A little background first. I am all about the reader. I want to make it as easy as possible for readers to get hold of what I write, but at times I find myself perplexed by the options available to the indie author when it comes to putting my book in readers' hands (or more likely these days, on their tablets). There are a lot of platforms out there, from Amazon's Kindle, to Barnes and Noble's Nook, to iBooks on Apple and Kobo readers from Sony. But there's a big negative for me as an author to putting my title out to so many different platforms. That negative is the inability to list my title on Amazon's Select program, because when you sign on to distribute with Select you must agree to sell exclusively with Amazon.

To those not in the know, if you are an Amazon Prime member you are able to 'check' books out virtually on a loaner status without actually buying them. This is a fantastic option for readers, and not so bad for authors either. The more your book is 'checked out' the more of a stipend you get at the end of the month. The other benefit for authors is that it raises the visibility of their book(s) considerably. After all, free is a pretty enticing selling point, right?

And that's the major benefit for the reader. Free. Most Amazon Prime members sign-up for the free 2-day shipping that it offers, but learn about the Amazon Select loaner program soon thereafter and when they do they start devouring titles like a meth-head goes through a found stash of acid.

Here is my dilemma. About 99% of my sales come to me via Amazon e-book sales. The remaining 1% are split between physical book sales and the various other platforms out there. And those are paltry sales figures on a good day. From the perspective of putting more books in more readers' hands I think it is hard to deny then that signing up to Amazon Select is the best way forward. But what about that the few who actually do purchase through Apple or B&N? Am I screwing them over?

I won't deny that my meager business acumen says Amazon's the way to go. They've got the distribution model set, and it's awesome. Their book recommendations feature comes to mind as an example. "You like this book? Then we'd recommend you take a look at this one and that one over there too!"

Those other platforms don't even have something as simple as this. At least, not in an interface as attractive or user friendly as Amazon's.

I don't know. *shakes head*

I'm going to sit on it this week, but there's a pretty good chance I'm going to try it out for a few months just to see how it goes. If I do, I apologize in advance to all of you Nook/Kobo guys. If you've got an Apple product, fear not. You can still download a Kindle App to read titles from the Amazon library.

Updates to come.