From Mark Coker on The Smashwords Blog:
Will Amazon be the grinch who steals Christmas from thousands of indie authors this holiday season?
Last year, a mere three weeks before a record-breaking Christmas for ebook sales at the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony and other retailers, Amazon convinced thousands of indie authors to remove their books from the virtual shelves of all Amazon competitors.
The lure: KDP Select, an opt-in program that requires authors to make their books exclusive to Amazon for a minimum of three months.
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I contended, and still contend, that exclusivity is a devil’s bargain. When authors go exclusive with any retailer, they increase their dependence upon that single retailer, limit long-term platform building at other retailers, disappoint fans who shop at other stores, and hobble the development of a thriving and competitive ebook retailing ecosystem.
KDP Select places authors in a difficult position. They must decide if the short term benefits of KDP Select outweigh the long term harm caused to their writing career. The potential benefits are uncertain, and the harm is impossible to measure. How does one measure a missed opportunity? One thing is for certain: When I look at the Smashwords bestsellers, they’re authors who maintain non-stop, uninterrupted distribution of all their books. They’re the authors who are working to build their audiences at each retailer for the long term.
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Undoubtedly, some indie authors will reach for the carrot and immediately pull their books from distribution, and as a result will never know what they missed out on this holiday season. It’s somewhat ironic that after decades of writers bowing subservient to traditional publishers who controlled the only path to retail distribution – and after so many traditionally published authors saw their books forced out of print when retailers dropped their books – that so many indie authors will now pull their books from distribution with their own hands.
What affect has KDP Select had on the growth of Smashwords? Not as much as our detractors might think. After Amazon announced KDP Select last year, some authors speculated it would put us out of business. Quite the contrary. We and our authors have enjoyed another record year this year, thanks to growth across the Smashwords distribution network.
Link to the rest at The Smashwords Blog and thanks to Jeanne for the tip.
Mark Coker makes a lot of his Silicon Valley background. PG has been involved with many tech companies large and small. The good ones never complained about their competition. Instead they focused on building better products and services than their competition offered.