The Amazon Exclusivity talk…
It hasn’t been easy deciding whether to accept Amazon’s persistent push for authors to sell exclusively through them. For those who don’t know the background, Amazon provides certain benefits to authors who enroll in KDP Select, such as inclusion in the Kindle Owners Lending Library (“KOLL”, through which Amazon Prime members, once a month, may “borrow” any participating ebook for free), Kindle Unlimited (“KU”, a new subscription service which offers unlimited Kindle books for a flat $9.99 a month), KDP All-Stars (a new monthly bonus plan, paid on top of regular royalties), as well as certain marketing/merchandising opportunities like “Free Days” and “Kindle Countdown Deals.” All of these benefits have been growing and stacking up since 2011, and authors (like me) who refused to limit our readership to a single marketplace, paid the price in significantly lower sales. Readers could find and buy my books for whichever device they chose, but many of those authors who jumped onboard the Amazon exclusivity train when the engine was hot (who, prior to KDP Select, were on par with my own books’ sales) now have 10x the readers I do. It turned out that my decision to not limit my leadership limited my readership! Here is a recent quote from Hugh Howey’s blog (one of those authors with whom I stood shoulder to shoulder in 2011 rankings):
“Another author posed the question of exclusivity like this: Would you rather sell 2,000,000 books to readers in Indiana, or 200,000 books around the globe? If the goal is to have your stories read, and exclusivity furthers that goal, then it isn’t a narrowing of readership.”
And so, even though I spent days prepping for a worldwide, e-tailer-spanning release for Exigency, and even though I’m aware that many of my dedicated readers are die hard Nook fans, the facts of the matter are this:
- In its first 24 hours of release, Exigency sold over 1,000 copies on Amazon, 4 on B&N, 8 on iBooks, 1 on Smashwords, and 0 on Kobo.
- Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other book e-tailers are terrible for book/author discovery. Their storefronts are designed for customers to discover what is already a bestselling book, or what is new from mega-bestselling authors. My wife had a Nook for a couple years and would go on Amazon to find new books, then purchase them on bn.com.
- Barnes & Noble has divested in the Nook product, now licensing the name to Samsung who takes a Galaxy Tab and stamps “Nook” on it. The exodus to Kindle e-readers continues.
- Barnes and Noble has just disabled customers’ ability to download the e-books they buy (and all ebooks previously bought!) to their computer. One of the few differentiators between BN and Amazon has been squashed in an apparently desperate move to be more like Amazon (but only in bad ways, not good).
- Nook HD and Color owners can install the Kindle App via the Google Play store, so only the e-ink Nook owners (still a large number) are left out of convenient “click and read” purchasing of my books.
- All of my books in the Kindle store are DRM-Free, meaning they can be taken to any device platform, converted to Nook format, etc.
- iPad/iOS readers have access to the (actually really good) Kindle App, so they are not excluded in any way.
- If one of my goals is to be read by the largest possible audience, and to continue being able to write these books (ie make a living), I must come to terms with the seemingly illogical fact that NOT opting for exclusivity is the real audience limiter.
- Should I change my mind, or if the benefits cease to be advantageous, KDP Select is a 90-day commitment. I may enter and exit the program whenever I choose (on a quarterly basis)
With all that said, here are some handy how-to’s for those with e-ink Nooks or other EPUB-only e-readers on how to read a Kindle book on your device.
First download Kindle for PC (this will be the “Kindle” to which you send your purchased Kindle e-books).
I do apologize for the inconvenience, and understand if this sours anyone’s opinions of me.