We all know there is a publishing and ebook war going on and as in any war there will be winners and losers as well as casualties along the way. But as an independent author, I don’t want any part of it. I just want to write and hopefully sell some books. Not die on a corporate battlefield.
While I have been experimenting with Kindle’s new KDP Select and trying to determine if it is worthwhile or not I stumbled on a disturbing situation that has changed the way I plan to distribute my ebooks. I’m going to move all of my books to Kindle exclusively. There are a number of reasons.
The main reason is because of the manipulation of my ebook prices by other retailers. I price most of my full-length novels at $3.99 or $4.99 but some retailers who are selling my books via Smashwords distribution are continually discounting my ebooks to $0.99. One online retailer is still listing one of my books at this price despite it being removed from Smashwords, and my emails asking them to desist.
This not only devalues my ebooks but worse, triggers Amazon’s ‘Price Matching Feature’ and reduces my price and royalty on Amazon Kindle. It’s true to say that both of these actions are unfair, but as I gain so few sales through these other retailers, the damage they are doing to my book sales on Kindle makes it a necessity for me to remove my books from their stores.
Secondly, my main reason for distributing through Smashwords nearly four years ago was to be able to have my books available on the Apple iBook Store. However, iBooks has proved to be such a disappointment sales wise that it is hardly worth the effort. As a lover of my iPad for many other uses, I can understand this as I just cannot read a book on it. Too much glare and very hard on my eyes. Additionally, Apple seems to have made it clear that it wants to focus on textbooks and not on self-published titles.
The availability of the Kindle App on most smartphones, tablets and PCs is another reason. I find that if I do need to read on my iPad or iPhone, I use the Kindle App in preference to iBooks. Apple does not make iBooks available for any other devices other than iPad and iPhone so unlike the Kindle App, cannot be used by readers with other devices.
The final reason is one of simplicity. With all my ebooks exclusively on Kindle, I don’t need to bother with multiple formats and the hassle that goes along with preparing them. There is also the simplicity of one income source that makes my life much easier for accounting purposes. I will continue to distribute my paperback editions with Createspace, which is part of Amazon as well, so my books will still be available worldwide via their distribution system to most online and offline retailers.
When the war is over, there may be new opportunities. But right now, Kindle seems to be the only logical choice.
Footnote: Since writing this post, I have received my first few weekly sales reports from Kindle for the period since I enroled some of my books in KDP Select and granted exclusivity. My overall book sales royalties have doubled each week for three weeks in a row. Need I say more?