KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited Should Only Be Used When...
Posted On: 2015-04-22
by: Bill Platt

22nd, 2015
Kindle Unlimited should only be used when...

It is part of a larger marketing plan. ?

If you market your books on Amazon, they have a new program -- well, available for only a few months now -- called Kindle Unlimited.

From the perspective of book junkies, it is a great deal.

As one of Amazon's customers, you can pay just $10 per month and gain access to thousands of free books per month. Any book offered through the KDP Select program will be available to Kindle Unlimited members for no additional charge.

About the only restriction that applies to this program is that you don't get to keep all of the books you download indefinitely. You can only keep 10 Kindle Unlimited downloads on your device at any time. If you want to get an 11th book, you will have to give up one of the books currently on your device that was downloaded under the Kindle Unlimited program.

The additional restriction is that you will ONLY be able to get access to books available through KDP Select.

From a consumer's perspective, this is an awesome deal. I am a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscriber myself.

Kindle Unlimited For Authors

From the standpoint of a book author, there are definitely benefits and drawbacks to having your books inside of KU.


* If someone downloads your book for free, and they read 10% of your book, Amazon will pay you for the download through their "KDP Select Global Fund".

* The average payout per download and read through the "KDP Select Global Fund" ranges from $1 to $2. When KU was started, that number was close to $2 per download. Now that number is closer to $1 per download.

* You can help Amazon's committed customers discover you and your books.

* A smart marketer will use KU to drive future sales of paid books. More on this in a minute.


* You only get paid whatever share is allotted to you each month by the "KDP Select Global Fund," rather than the amount of money that you would have received had someone actually paid for your book.

* Many authors will argue that you will never be repaid for free books, because book buyers will just wait until your books are free to get them.

* Often, fewer than 1-in-1000 people who get your book for free will ever leave a review about your book. (Darn freeloaders! LOL)

Book Marketing 101

The basics of book marketing is that you should take certain actions to make sure that the people most likely to want to purchase your book can find it, and that once people have found your book, they will want to hit the purchase button.

A lot more can be said about book marketing, but the previous paragraph covers most of it in a nutshell.

Book Marketing 102

It is easier and cheaper to sell a product to an existing customer than it is to sell a product to a new customer.

This concept is one that is harder to understand for some people, so I am going to explain it in a little more detail.

When we are paying a third-party for advertising services, there is a certain cost that is defined as a "customer acquisition cost."

CAC is calculated by looking at how much money you spend to develop your product, your marketing, and your advertising, then dividing that sum by the number of new customers acquired.

Around 2005, Amazon's CAC was $18 per person.

A lot of people said Amazon was nuts to spend so much on customer acquisition, because the average first purchase was $9 and 50% of that went to the supplier.

But Amazon knew something that their critics did not. They knew that their CAC was $18 per person, and the average profit on the first sale was $4.50, but they also knew that a large percentage of their customers had a Lifetime Value (LV) of several hundred dollars.

While Amazon might have spent $18 to get me as a customer, they did not make their initial investment back in my first few years with them, but in the last 3-4 years, I have spent an average of $400 per year at Amazon!

When it comes to repeat sales, Amazon does spend money to send me daily emails and to program the software that encourages me to make repeat purchases.

I am certain that this new value is far less than the $18 they spent to get me on their customer list, and given the amount of money I spend with them each year, you can bet that they are making far more than $4.50 from me each year.

And This Is Why KDP Select & Kindle Unlimited Are Awesome Marketing Tools

If you only have one book on Amazon, then I will argue that you should not be using KDP Select or Kindle Unlimited to promote your books.

There is no reason to argue with me about this point.

You became a book author to build your income, not to give away your profits.

KDP Select should ONLY be used as part of an overall marketing campaign designed to sell books in a series.

With my upcoming campaign, I have developed a number of books in a series.

My first two books in the series will be released next week, and the following books in the series will be released at two-week intervals.

On Day One, book #1 and book #2 will be released at the same time. Book #1 will be part of KDP Select. Book #2 will not be part of KDP Select.

Additionally, book #1 will be a permanent addition to the KDP Select library. Book #2 and the following books will never be included in the KDP Select library.

I want every person on the planet to download and read book #1 by any means necessary!

Because I know something that you might not know.

I know that people will love book #1, and people will want to read book #2. And I know that I have done such a good job with book #1 that people will be willing to pay for book #2, and book #3 and book #4, etc.

KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited are marketing tools that have the very real potential of delivering to me several thousand new prospects each month.

And of those people who choose to read book #1 for free, I am willing to bet money (in fact, I am betting money, because I am allowing people to download book #1 for free) that 50% of the people who buy the first book in the series will buy book #2, book #3, and other books in the series.

The Magic of Kindle Unlimited

The magic of Kindle Unlimited is that it will help me get my book #1 into the hands of thousands of future buyers.

And, it will enable me to convince my readers that my subsequent books will be worth the money I am asking them to spend to buy those books.

From "Book Marketing 101," my goal is to get into the line of sight of the people who are most likely to buy my books, and to convince them to get the first book. When I offer that book for free, I am taking away that last obstacle to them saying "yes" to getting my book.

From "Book Marketing 102," I am going to make the largest amount of money from selling more products to previous customers.

My customer acquisition cost is the amount of money I give up in order to offer my book #1 inside the KU program, and the amount of money I might spend to advertise that free book through various channels.

Once that first sale is in the can, my cost of paying customer acquisition is the amount of time or money I spend setting up the links on the last page of my book, pointing to new books available in the series.

Final Thoughts

I want to leave you today with a reminder.

If you only have a single book available inside Amazon, then KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited are not tools that will deliver a lot of value to your bottom line.

However, if you utilize KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited as part of a bigger marketing plan, to sell your books written in a series, these programs are perhaps the best thing that could have ever happened to you.

They have the ability to take away the out-of-pocket expenses of paid advertising to find an audience for your books, and they have the ability to transform the first book in your series into an awesome selling tool for the following books in your series.

Think about that for a moment.

If book #1 is a solid book with a story that people enjoyed reading, they will absolutely want to read the second book in the series, and for that, you will be paid cash money.

Bill Platt has been providing training and services to professional writers since circa 2001. If you are interested in learning how others write fiction love scenes, or you would like access to a copy-paste-and-edit resource for writing romance, check out his newest program: Writing Love Scenes -- but don't visit this link if you are at work! It is Not Safe For Work.