It’s a tough decision to publish exclusively.
I have been self-publishing for a very long time, well before the introduction of the Amazon Kindle in 2007, so I think I have been around the block a few times. Over the years, and particularly during the last eight years, I have have had a love-hate relationship with Amazon, and in particular with their policy of demanding that you publish exclusively for enrolment in their KDP Select program.
While I have been a firm believer in making my books, and ebooks more precisely, available for readers on all platforms, the last couple of years have been disappointing, as I think my faith has been misplaced. I truly believed that alternative platforms, retailers and aggregators were always poised to challenge Amazon with new ideas, new thinking and new ways of exploiting the ebook market.
Sadly though, the only innovator in town has been Amazon. Sure, some of their innovations have drawn criticism, such as KDPS and Kindle Unlimited, but at least they are trying new ideas.
The biggest hope I held was for Smashwords. Ok, they are an aggregator, but after Amazon, they are the next biggest ebook seller. But for some reason, although signing up new retailers such as Oyster and Flipkart, nothing much has changed over the last few of years. Yes, they supply Apple and Barnes & Noble, but neither of these big ebook retailers has done much to enthuse self-publishers. In fact, I would say, both have their feet stuck firmly in cement, as they have done absolutely nothing new in years. Same-o-same-o does not work in today’s ebook or technology market.
Even with potentially great retailers and platforms, ebook sales via Smashwords are still way behind Amazon. Another handicap is that getting an ebook approved on Smashwords is still a total pain in the butt. Nothing has changed in this regard in years!
Then there is Google Play Books. Well, let’s just forget about them. It is as if Google really want this to fail, as it is an absolutely horrific platform to publish with and sales are next to non-existant. Then there is their weird pricing model, which discounts every damn ebook! Why? Who knows? But it plays merry hell with Amazon Price Matching.
So my real dilemma is this. Why should I bother keeping three different file versions of my ebooks as Amazon, Smashwords and Google all require different file types or disclaimers to suit their legal and technical requirements? It’s a nightmare making sure every version is up to date. If I publish exclusively it will be far simpler.
Wouldn’t it be far easier for me to finally admit that there is only one real ebook innovator in town? In fact, only one ebook seller in town.
So, is it wrong to think about finally throwing in the towel and saying enough is enough of trying to play fair for all? And if I do decide to ditch the rest and only publish my ebooks with Amazon, then exclusivity becomes a non-issue.
And so does keeping so many versions of my ebooks!