Why I Pulled Out of Kindle Select / Kindle Unlimited


For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Kindle Select is the author side of Kindle Unlimited, where people pay a flat fee a month to read as many books as they want on Amazon. On the back end, authors are paid per page read, rather than a book sale.

The benefits are that books read in Kindle Select count toward the overall ranking and still pay the author something, but the downside is that Kindle Select pays less than a book sale and the book has to be exclusive with Amazon.

Even from the beginning, I was dubious, and I only decided to put one title in the program. While I saw a decent amount of pages read, it never quite sat well with me.

Amazon has changed their mind quite a few times on certain policies, which was reflected in their policy change to erotica a few years ago. I can’t help but think what the next change will bring, and what my writing business would look like if all my eggs were in the Amazon basket.

The way I look at it, it’s like investing. Even if the stocks in a particular company seem like the best investment in the history of investments, an investor doesn’t put all the money into that camp. A smart investor doesn’t keep all his/her eggs in one basket.

That’s how I’ve looked at Kindle Select. Sure, I could probably make more money by having all my titles in Kindle Select, but that would be putting my future solely into the hands of that company, and that’s simply not something I feel comfortable with.

Another downside to the exclusivity is that Amazon has some strict rules about where the material can be shared elsewhere. There’s only a certain amount of words of a story that I could share as a sample, even on my blog. I can only give away copies to certain types of people and organizations. That’s where I drew the line. The stories I write are my stories. Nobody can tell me who I can share them with for free. If I want to stand on the street corner naked and hand out free erotica stories, nobody is going to tell me that I can’t. Except the police…for indecent exposure. But that’s beside the point.

Every author has to make his/her own decision on the matter, but that’s how I feel on the subject. It’s not impossible for my opinion to change in the future, as every good business owner reevaluates the market, but that is my stance for the time being. I have already removed the title from Kindle Select, and I plan to put it on all the major marketplaces soon (including keeping it on Amazon, but as mentioned, not in Kindle Select).






32 thoughts on “Why I Pulled Out of Kindle Select / Kindle Unlimited

    1. I too have pulled most of my books from Kindle Unlimited. The second month they changed from pay approximately $1.40 per borrow and started paying by the page read I found out they were paying one half cent per page. If you had a 200 page book read completely you would get a dollar.. Not hardly a fair payment.
      Here is one of the down sides however, as soon as I pulled my books from kdp select Amazon began hiding my titles. This being said I have not found another platform to sell my books that has brought me any success.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know that I totally buy into hiding the titles if you’re not in Kindle Select, but I see your point.
        I’m starting to now see some momentum on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Apple. I’m pleased as they pay more in royalties (especially concerning $0.99 price points going through Smashwords as an aggregator).

        The more platforms I’m on, the more security for my publishing future. It takes time to develop, and a lot of authors just aren’t willing to be patient (not referring to you). I recommend trying Smashwords first. I love their royalty rates. When I sell there, I get $0.80 for a $0.99 book, instead of just $0.35 for a $0.99 book on Amazon. So even if I only sell a third of the books on Smashwords that I do on Amazon (at that price point), I still make the overall same amount at both.


  1. You perfectly articulated my objection to putting all my books (also erotica) into KU. The exclusivity requirement is not just a dubious (at best) deal. It also means you’re at the mercy of Amazon’s ever-shifting policies on erotica regarding content (no underage sex, for example) or cover photos (no nudity, no hand bras, etc.). You may or may not agree with some of what Amazon is trying to protect you from, but think about it. As an author, I cannot support a company that censors its writers (and limits what is available to readers). Thanks very much for this post!


  2. I recently moved many of my titles to Smashwords for this exact reason. Someone mentioned that Amazon had a huge share of the market which is true. The thing is, if you get 1000 pages read but make 0.0058 cents per page, you only make 5.80. In my case my short stories, which sells the best are only around 30 pages, so I would have to sell 33 of those to reach the target pages. On Smashwords I only need to sell 6 books at .99 cents to reach the same sales. I can also do it on Amazon if I am not enrolled in KDP. In my experience, I make more money from less books on Smashwords these last 6 months.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very smart. Another concern I have about Amazon is that they don’t give you the names of customers, and this prevents sharing revisions to your work. But this is the same with other distributors, too, unfortunately.


  4. Thank you for sharing this. I am still trying the traditional route to publication, but i want to educate myself regarding indie publishing. Kindle select doesn’t appear like a route I wouldlike to take. If a reader went through your entire book, hoiw can you not be paid full price? Doesn’t seem fair.


  5. I’m just investigating this world right now. The irony is, I just went through all this with my CD. Sine things I had to learn the hard way. THANK YOU for circumventing the process for some of us novices. It’s very thoughtful of you.


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