Self-published authors did extremely well with Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library in December. Amazon released some details today on how their Kindle Direct Publishing Select program performed last month.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s self-publishing program that allows any author or publisher to create their ebooks and sell them on Amazon’s Kindle Store. Almost all of the authors in KDP are independent authors that have decided to self-publish their ebooks.
KDP Select is a program that Amazon launched on December 8, 2011 that allows any KDP author to put their ebooks into the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library which lets Amazon Prime members borrow one ebook a month for free. Amazon sets aside a monthly bounty that would be divided up based on the number of times a participating ebook is borrowed. The bounty amount for December was $500,000. Any author that participates in KDP Select would also agree to an exclusivity agreement that would require that they only sell their ebooks on Amazon.
The numbers for the first month of KDP Select are absolutely staggering. KDP select ebooks were borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library 295,000 times during the three weeks that the program was live in December. Amazon paid out $1.70 per time an ebook was borrowed.
This allowed the top ten KDP Select authors to earn more than $70,000 in three weeks of December through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The royalties from KDP Select were 30 percent of the amount they earned from selling their ebooks on Amazon.
Loaning out ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library through KDP Select increased the number of sales of an author’s participating titles as well. The top ten KDP Select authors saw their royalties grow 449 percent from November to December.
Amazon increased the size of the bounty to $700,000 for January since the program was so successful.
The success of KDP Select is great news for authors looking to self-publish their ebooks. It also validates the idea that loaning out books for free can increase the sales of those books. It will be very interesting to see if that trend continues into January or if it was solely due to the seasonality of December.