Noted author and firebrand JA Konrath was one of the first indie authors recruited by Amazon to join KDP Select when it launched with Kindle Owner's Lending Library in late 2011 and now he's the latest high profile indie author to make an exit.
Konrath revealed on his blog today that he's in the process of pulling his titles from KDP Select, which supplies indie ebooks to both Kindle Unlimited and KOLL. He made the decision a few weeks ago, and the ebooks will be out of KDP Select by the end of January.
When one commenter assumed that Konrath knew all along that subscription services devalued books and asked why leave the party now, Konrath explained:
I still don't know that. Some authors' sales have dropped. Others have risen. I need more data, so I opted out several weeks ago. But the period is three months, so they're still enrolled until January.
Here's what you missed; a KDP author CAN opt out. It's our choice.
McM doesn't seem to be offering a choice. That's bad. Really bad.
The reason most writers sign legacy deals, other than getting an advance, is legacy's ability to get paper books onto retail shelves.
This sounds as if McM is foresaking paper--the one part of the industry they controlled--and short-selling their authors.
If I was a McM author, I'd be worried, pissed off, and wondering why the hell my publisher did a complete about-face from the stance that made them collude and price-fix.
Konrath is at least the second prominent indie author to announce his exit from KDP Select in the past month. He follows HM Ward and other authors in abandoning an idea which had seemed so promising 3 years ago.
As you may recall, for the past several weeks indie authors have been debating whether Amazon's indie focused subscription ebook services offered enough value to indie authors. While the more limited Kindle Owner's Lending Library had proven over the course of a couple years to be a net positive, in the 5 months since it launched the all-you-can-read Kindle Unlimited has not.
HM Ward sparked the debate earlier this month with her dramatic announcement that she was pulling all of her titles out of KDP Select in response to a shocking decrease in revenue. In the days that followed, numerous authors agreed with her, revealing that they too had seen dips in revenue following the launch of Kindle Unlimited.
And now Konrath is joining the exodus. He hasn't shared details on how KU impacted his sales, but Joe is not one to make a business decision without first crunching the numbers. And if he is departing for greener pastures, indie authors who are still in KDP Select need to seriously consider whether they should stay.
So long as KDP Select is a net positive, I think they should stay in. What's more, if the number of prominent indies pulling out of KDP Select increases, the situation for the less successful authors might improve.
At this point it is really too early too say.
What do you think is going to happen next?