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Amazon Expands KDP Select with New Bonuses for Top-Performing Indie Authors

4340980647_3237664cc3_o[1]Amazon quietly expanded  the funding for KDP Select yesterday, adding nearly three million dollars in bonuses.

Launched in late 2011, KDP Select is a program in Amazon’s self-pub platform which offers indie authors special  privileges in exchange for exclusivity.

Any ebooks submitted to the program cannot be sold elsewhere, and in return Amazon gives authors extra promotional opportunities. eBooks in KDP Select are also entered into the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited, earning the author a share of a pool of money ($2 million for August 2014) for each time their ebook is loaned to a Kindle user.

And now KDP Select is getting better. Amazon revealed yesterday that they are boosting the funding for KDP Select by $2,700,000, and adding a second set of bonuses just for the best performing authors. The top 100 best performing authors will receive any where from $1,000 to $25,000, while the authors of the 100 most popular titles in KDP Select will get anywhere from $500 to $2,500.

Update: It seems I missed an important detail. The $2.7 million and the KDP Select All-Stars bonuses are separate. The latter only amounts to

The bonuses are going to be awarded based on participation in August 2014, so there is no way to affect the awards now, but I don’t think anyone who is in the program will care much.

Amazon also announced:

Finally, many authors outside the U.S. derive most of their qualified borrows from the KOLL and have not been able to benefit from the growth of KU. This has meaningfully altered their ability to compete within the wider pool of KDPS loans. To adjust for this, we are adding an additional bonus of $80,000 to be paid out on all KOLL loans outside of the U.S.

At last report, Amazon said that there were over 500,000 titles in KDP Select. That body of work makes up most of the catalog of Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and for Kindle Unlimited, the ebook subscription service which Amazon launched in July 2014.

KOLL is a freebie for Amazon prime members in the US, UK, and Germany, and KU cost $10 a month, but is US-only at the moment.

image  by Emily Carlin

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Olympia Press September 16, 2014 um 2:19 pm

Didn’t they cut the KLL bonuses at one point?

Seems like they’re a little bit afraid of some new competitors.

fjtorres September 16, 2014 um 2:28 pm

KLL bonus work off a variable-size pool.
Over the years they’ve adjusted the pool size to keep the payouts around roughly $2 per checkout.

More than a defensive move, it looks like preemption; an attempt to make Select more attractive than multiplatform, especially for new releases.

Ebook Bargains UK September 17, 2014 um 7:42 am

With the pot pay-out carefully adjusted to around $2 a time that means the top sellers with titles at $3.99 and above are losing out on the 70% royalty with every borrow over a direct sale.

This latest stunt by Grandinetti will go some way to appeasing them, while giving the average indie false hope that they might get a share of these bonuses.

More importantly it shows there is no sign of the Big 5 clambering on board. Assuming their European counterparts are also observing the boycott then the European launch is going to be a damp squib.

Without those, all KU has to offer compared to Scribd and Oyster, or 24 Symbols, etc, is volume of titles. This will certainly help, but will it be enough?

Not on its own.

The next step is for Grandinetti to bring all KDP titles into KU. That’s the only way Amazon can seriously boost KU numbers to stand out against the key rival players.

The extra bonuses will be for those who go exclusive. The rest will be allowed to sell on other retailers, but won’t get the red carpet treatment with increased visibility and promotion.

fjtorres September 16, 2014 um 2:23 pm

This has so many implications…
If it’s not a one-time thing it is going to squeeze some of the smaller indie ebook distributors and aggregators. And grow KU’s catalog. And the timing puts further hurt on Nook…
Something bigger is coming, right Nate?

Fbone September 16, 2014 um 3:18 pm

KU costs $10/month.

Nate Hoffelder September 16, 2014 um 3:44 pm

Thanks. Fixed it.

Greg Strandberg September 17, 2014 um 1:17 am

I’m glad Amazon has made it easier for the old bosses to become same as the new bosses. The divide in self-publishing widens further. Who’s making the infographic of that?

Felipe Adan Lerma September 17, 2014 um 8:47 am

I’ve nothing against bonuses, and nothing against Amazon (sad how I have to preface this), but if promo and visibility already goes to a selected few, the bonuses only re-inforce who makes the most.

For me, this brings Amazon closer to being like Big Publishers in structure. Favoring the blockbuster few.

Nothing evil, illegal, or morally wrong with all that.

But does mean authors in Amazon doing extremely well and getting special treatment, along with those in Big Publishing getting the same, should say so up front.

So when an author from either camp says how great their preferred platform is, a little truth in advertising would at least show up. People don’t mind knowing the truth. They see a a favored actor hype a car model, insurance company, bank, grocery store, etc, and based on how they trust that actor as a person, they decide on that company. There’s no hidden agenda. Everyone knows that person is getting paid by that corporate entity.

The same should hold true for authors from any platform.

Theresa M. Moore September 17, 2014 um 1:38 pm

That just put the nail in KDP’s coffin, and thousands of authors already on the program will probably not renew. It is not fair to award "bonuses" to top selling authors, when Amazon does absolutely nothing to promote all the authors. I never signed on when the program was first introduced, and any author thinking it is a quick way to make a buck will be sadly disappointed, because (once again) there is no advantage to exclusivity. Amazon is making all the money from disenfranchising the smaller selling authors to begin with, so I don’t plan on signing up with KDP itself anytime soon. In the last few years I have made more from NOT granting any one seller such an advantage over the others. But Amazon is suffering and does not want anyone to know it, as more and more authors desert the sinking ship.

Nate Hoffelder September 17, 2014 um 4:33 pm

Indeed. I wonder if Amazon might have gained more support by offering the same bonus to each author.

Amazon Boosts KDP Select Pool to $5 Million, Adds KDP Select All-Stars Bonus On Top – The Digital Reader October 20, 2014 um 8:02 pm

[…] also confirmed today that they are going to keep the KDP Select All-Stars awards program which was launched last month This program takes around $600 thousand and divides it among the top 100 best performing authors […]

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