Amazon KDP Select grants authors in that program the ‘opportunity’ to offer their work for free for five days every 90 days, a work which is normally for sale. Amazon calls this promotion. I call it legalized piracy. I say that because the copyrighted work of an author is no longer in the control of the author once the author includes a work in the KDP Select program.
Kindle owners are no different than you or I when it comes to a choice of getting something for free or paying for the same thing; we’ll get it for free. It is human nature to want a bargain, everybody wants one.
Retailers/distributors such as Smashwords allow authors to control their price promotions through the use of coupons, so the author has the control over how much of a discount is offered – including offering the work for free. KDP Select takes ownership control of a work from the author and passes it to Amazon.
The KDP Select program of offering fee-based works for free also opens the door wide to piracy of the ‘stolen copyright’ meaning of piracy.
A person of evil intent who downloads the free version of a KDP Select work can easily post it on any of the many P2P file-sharing networks, offer it for sale somewhere else under the same title or a different title, or even republish it under another name.
Amazon isn’t in the business of monitoring licensed works sold or offered for free on Amazon, and their Terms of Service make it clear the author or publisher of a work distributed on/through Amazon is solely responsible for copyright violations.
The KDP Select program was a big bonus for unknown authors when it first started, but now the Kindle ebook market is flooded with free ebooks.
How many free ebooks have you downloaded but have yet to finish reading or even found time to begin to read? When I read of Kindle Select members smiling about their 400 or 4,000 free downloads in 3 days I have to wonder how many of those downloads actually were read? Or were they downloaded simply because they were free?
Dropping out of KDP Select.
Marian wrote on Goodreads in December 2012, “Although it isn’t any comfort, I’m sure we’re not the only ones who have been slapped by Amazon for dropping out of KDP and giving them negative feedback. One of my novels is no longer linked with my other 2 books when you click on my name. The book mysteriously disappeared, and I haven’t been able to get it back despite repeated emails and calls to Author Central. Also, I haven’t been able to add categories to that book. And my rankings have mysteriously gone down,too. An awful thought: can they read this thread? Then I’m in even bigger trouble!”
As an aside, I’ve had problems with Amazon since they removed 5 of my puzzle ebooks because I suggested Kindle owners could print out the puzzles if their particular Kindle device didn’t permit writing/typing over images. I, too, wrote to KDP and got zero satisfactory results.
There a many authors extolling the virtues of their success on KDP Select. But how much of that is mere puffery to seduce potential purchasers to dowload/buy something from the puffery poster?
There is no doubt that a few authors have achieved success with the KDP Select program, but from reading various posts on a variety of forums it appears the bloom is coming off the rose.
As an author who refuses to join KDP Select I heartily encourage all other authors to join KDP Select and keep your work(s) exclusive with Kindle and offered for free to thousands and hopefully millions of people. Believe me, you won’t make any money at the other retailers. (puff, puff, puff.)