Exclusivity Is Bad: Why My Books Won’t Be On Kindle Unlimited

KindleUnlimited
You won’t find The Stars Were Right as a part of Kindle Unlimited, at least not for now. Currently, for indie authors to be able to offer their books through Kindle Unlimited the book needs to be enrolled in KDP Select which requires exclusivity with Amazon (you can see Amazon’s FAQ on KDP Select here). I recently wrote at length on the benefit of remaining platform agnostic; it’s something I fully believe in and I will continue to do what I can to make sure all my readers have full access to my books on the platform of their choice. So, until the requirement of exclusivity is lifted, no Kindle Unlimited for me.

I could write more on the topic, but instead of repeating what others have written I’d rather direct you to these fantastic articles by a few talented authors who sum up my feelings pretty well:

[UPDATE] Since there’s been some confusion I’ve gone ahead and added a few inline comments. I want to make sure I clarify my stance on KU and why I linked the following articles.

  • Hugh Howey: It’s 2011 All Over Again
    [!] I agree with Mr. Howey that there isn’t anything to fear from KU. It’s simply another channel Amazon is trying. However, I still believe that exclusivity is bad for the reader. Hopefully Amazon will lift the KDP Select requirement for KU like they did for the Lending Library.
  • Chuck Wendig: To Kindle Unlimited, and Beyond
    [!] My knee-jerk reaction was to initially compared this to Spotify as well, but Mr. Wendig is right, this isn’t Spotify. I did think Wendig’s thoughts about author’s gaming the system were good ones and something to consider.
  • Michael Sullivan: Kindle Unlimited’s Two-Tier System Makes Some Authors Second-Class Citizens
    [!]
    Mr. Sullivan goes into details about how authors are able to get their books into KU, including KDP Select, special author’s who are allowed to enroll without the “exclusive” restriction (Howey), and specific licensing deal (Happy Potter.) I also found it interesting that there were a few books enrolled without consent (Hunger Games.) I felt Sullivan’s thoughts about this potentially creating a tier system among indie authors were valid and should be shared.

[!] I hope these updates have helped clarify my position. I’m not worried about KU upsetting the balance of indie authorship or effecting the changes we’ve been seeing in publishing over the last few years. I do find it unfortunate that Amazon is forcing most indie authors into exclusivity for the sake of acceptance into a new (and potentially lucrative) sales channel. In my mind that’s not fair to readers.

4 thoughts on “Exclusivity Is Bad: Why My Books Won’t Be On Kindle Unlimited

  1. You linked Hugh Howey, but unless I’m completely misreading what he is saying, he is very much in favor of KU. He likens the fear of KU to the fear of Kindle Select in 2011, and states that it wound up serving Indie Authors extremely well.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Brian. You’re right, Hugh Howey is comparing the launch of KU to the launch of KDP Select in 2011, and I agree with him that KU isn’t going to be the end of publishing as we know it. However, I’d still argue that while KDP Select *might* good for the author—and I have heard mixed reviews myself—exclusivity isn’t good for the reader. In the end the reader is our customer, and I don’t see the reason to put unnecessary roadblocks in the way of our customers.

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      1. I agree. The reader is the customer, and we should make it as easy as possible for the reader.

        I’m undecided, personally. I’m interested to see how it all plays out. I have a couple of coworkers that have already signed up for KU. It isn’t much of a sampling, but I still think that it is going to be a popular service in the long run.

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        1. I think you might be right. My hope is Amazon changes the terms like they did for the Kindle Lending Library and makes KU available to all authors. Until then, I’m going to stick to my platform agnostic guns. :)

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