Amazon KDP Select Review 2024

KDP Select Review 2024: Worth It or Not?

Amazon KDP Select Review 2024Fifty-two million dollars. That was the record high for the KDP Select Global Fund in January 2024. Compared to the first month of the KDP Select Global Fund at $2.5 million, that’s a 1,980% increase.

Despite massive sales growth in KDP Select over the past decade, few authors benefit financially from being exclusive to Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP Select earnings are trash and often insulting to any self-respecting author. Let’s explore whether KDP Select is worth it in 2024.

What Is KDP Select?

KDP Select is an optional 90-day exclusivity agreement through Kindle Direct Publishing that enrolls an ebook in a subscription-based service only on Amazon called Kindle Unlimited. For $11.99 per month, Amazon customers subscribe to read up to ten titles at a time with no limit to checkouts in the month.

Side note: The exclusivity agreement only pertains to the enrolled ebook and doesn’t affect the print or audiobook editions. You can continue to distribute the other iterations however you wish without violating any rules. Do not publish a KDP Select-enrolled ebook anywhere outside of Amazon. If you get caught distributing or selling your ebook away from Amazon, KDP may suspend or terminate your account.

Don’t test them because they have eyes and ears everywhere online.

If you want to remove your ebook from KDP Select enrollment, hover over the ellipsis to the right of your title in your dashboard, then choose KDP Select Info. Then, deselect the auto-renew. Keep in mind, you’re still obligated to fulfill the remaining time in your 90-day agreement. If you want to break that commitment, you’ll have to contact support. You may forfeit your earnings from KDP Select for that title for early withdrawal. For more details, chat with support through the Contact Us feature at the bottom of your dashboard.

My advice? Finish your agreement. It’s not worth the extra hassle, and it’s not like you’re going to have to wait very long.

The Benefits of KDP Select

I’m not looking to do an all-out beat down on KDP Select; it has its merits and can be beneficial to many authors. For instance, ebooks published through KDP have two options for royalties: you get 70% minus delivery fees for any ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Anything priced outside of that range, you get 35%.

But, did you know that despite pricing your ebook at 70%, you will NOT get that rate in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, or India? That is, unless you enroll your ebook in KDP Select. Then, you get paid 70% in all thirteen regional Amazon marketplaces.

Platforms like Apple Books for Authors, Barnes and Noble Press, Google Play Books, and Kobo Writing Life allow for 70% royalty per sale. Period. No asterisk. No delivery fees. No pricing shenanigans. Hopefully one day, KDP will follow suit. For now, it’s their game; we’re just playing in it.

One of the biggest selling points to KDP Select is the exclusive promotional opportunities, including:

  1. The 5-Day Free Book Promotion
  2. The 7-Day Kindle Countdown Deal
  3. Nominate Your eBook for Prime Reading

The 5-day free book promotion is a great tool for gathering reviews, hooking new readers, and bolstering placement among other books in your niche, so long as you’re referring the right audience. This method isn’t as effective in boosting the Amazon Best Seller Rank post-promotion as it once was.

I recommend authors use this option sparingly, especially if you don’t have a plan to market and promote this limited time deal. Listing your ebook for free and doing nothing with it is wasteful. You might as well go without using it. After all, you’re not getting any money and if the readers aren’t engaged, then it’s a complete loss for you.

Running a five-day free promo for a book within a series, especially the first part, can play a huge part in customer buythrough. The thought process is you get a reader hooked with a free copy of the first book, so they eventually have to buy the rest of the series.

When you’re running the five-day free promo, Amazon will place your book into a special category for free books in your niche. And, while your book is on free promo, Kindle Unlimited subscribers can still checkout your book, boosting your pages read.

While the 5-day Free Book Promotion is available in all thirteen regional Amazon marketplaces, the 7-Day Kindle Countdown Deal only applies in the US and UK. When you’re running a Countdown Deal, you give Amazon permission to price drop your ebook and even customize a gradual increase over an extended period. Your ebook will have a countdown timer graphic placed in the buy box area of your product page and get additional placement in a special Kindle Countdown Deal category for your niche.

The nice part about the Countdown Deal is KDP will honor the original royalty rate set for your ebook. Let’s say you have a book priced $9.99 at the 70% royalty, then drop it to $0.99 for the Countdown Deal. You’ll still get 70%.

There is a catch to these two promotional options: you can use either option during a 90-day period, not both. However, you can break up those promotional days, however you see fit. You can run a free promo for one day this month and four days the next month or use all promotional days at one time. It’s totally your call.

Access this information from the Promote & Advertise button next to your enrolled book. Select the option you want, then click the button. For the Kindle Countdown Deal, you’ll have to select the marketplace, the start date and time, the end date and time, the number of price increments and the starting list price. Hit continue when you’re all set.

Keep in mind, for Kindle Countdown Deals, you get two separate regions, so be sure to set up separate campaigns. Be mindful of when you’re promoting the deal to your following or on social media because it is an exclusive deal to the US and UK only. Readers outside those regions will have to pay full price.

For the Free Book Promotion, set the start date…then the end date. Hit Save Changes and it’s off to the races.

I highly recommend advertising your deal during its promotion. You can find a list of free and premium book promotion websites when you visit Go through this list of lists at least a few months in advance so you can sift through the options. Test out the free options first to see if it works for you. As you run more promotions, and know what promotional options work best for your title, you can stack multiple promotions in a day, making the most of your limited time deal.

The last promotional option that I rarely hear other authors discuss is the Nominate Your eBook for a Prime Deal. Select the Marketing tab in your dashboard, and scroll down. In the bottom right corner, you’ll see an option to nominate your ebooks for two separate Kindle Deals or one for Prime Reading. Prime Reading is an option available to all Amazon Prime subscribers where they can check out a book in the same way Kindle Unlimited customers do.

Last September, Amazon accepted a nomination for my children’s book, Grumpy Gus Beats the Blues. Honestly, I’ve never put much thought or promotion behind my kid’s books. They were merely a side project I did to help produce videos on my YouTube channel. So when KDP accepted my nomination, I was over-the-moon. With no advertising whatsoever, I got about 2,800 page reads during the promo. After the promo, my title has consistently drawn about 2,500 page reads per month.

To be clear, that is NOT a flex; it’s a fairly modest amount and I’ll explain more about why that doesn’t matter to me or to you a little later.

You can refuse the promotion by simply not responding to KDP’s email notification or avoiding the link they send you to fill out the agreement for the Prime Reading Deal. I’ll say this – if you’re not getting many page reads right now, this option can be a game-changer.

Speaking of special considerations, KDP Select also provides placement in Kindle Unlimited specific categories. That’s just another way your book is more discoverable through KDP Select enrollment.

Also, KDP loves showcasing authors enrolled in KDP Select through literary contests. They have contests for English, German, French, Hindi, Tamil, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish books. These contests are free to enter for all KDP Select enrolled books, but have special requirements like genre, length, and publication date. For more details, visit KDP’s Help page about Amazon Literary Contests.

The Unfair Advantage

For every checkout your book gets through Kindle Unlimited, your book’s ABSR—or Amazon Best Seller Rank—increases as if it had a sale. This means you don’t have to sell a single ebook to become a bestselling author on Amazon. Keep in mind, the ABSR system differs from one Amazon region to the next, so you could do poorly in one region while crushing it in another.

Sadly, the only ways to see the ABSR for your title is to visit the product page and scroll down to the Product Details section or through Amazon Author Central.

Side note: Every author publishing to Amazon should set up a free Author Central account, post an author profile, and claim all their books. Having an author profile is a great way to further index your content for better discoverability, increase search engine optimization, track reviews, and, of course, monitor the ABSR.

However, unlike the Product Details, you will not see how you’re performing on a category placement level; you only see how your ebook is performing among other ebooks, regardless of genre.

According to Amazon:

Rankings are updated hourly but may take 24–48 hours to appear. Rankings reflect recent and historical activity, with recent activity weighted more heavily. Rankings are relative, so your sales rank can change even when your book’s level of activity stays the same. For example, even if your book’s level of activity stays the same, your rank may improve if other books see a decrease in activity, or your rank may drop if other books see an increase in activity.

From time to time, the ABSR system tends to glitch and the rankings won’t update. And when they do, it’s already dropped below what it should have originally been. My recommendation? Don’t focus on getting bestseller status; that doesn’t pay the bills. Instead, focus on getting more readers. The ranking will fall into place according to the efforts you put into marketing and promoting.

By the way, let’s avoid beating up authors who celebrate bestseller status in the free categories. A victory is a victory. We should raise each other up, not tear each other down like a bunch of crabs in a bucket. The same goes for getting placement in the Hot New Releases categories.

KDP Select All Stars Bonus

The final major perk available to KDP Select-enrolled ebooks is the Monthly All Stars Bonus Program. KDP rewards bonuses to books that perform the best across Amazon. According to Amazon:

The All Stars bonus uses a variety of customer signals in addition to pages read to recognize books that delight readers.

Previously, KDP shared how much authors would get based on performance according to a ranking system. These days? Not so much. I searched high and low for any recent dollar amounts and came up empty-handed. I’m certain they’re still doing this program, but the thing is most account holders will NEVER see this bonus. Those bonuses go to the elite level authors, hitting the top of their charts over the course of a month.

My recommendation? Don’t bank on getting a bonus for your ebook. If it comes, great! If not, at least you won’t feel defeated.

How Does KDP Select Pay?

Originally, KDP Select used to pay authors based on how much a reader consumed of a book. From July 2014 to July 2015, if a reader read 10% or more of a book, KDP paid the author from the pool of money from monthly subscriptions. This imbalanced system favored shorter books over longer ones, leaving this option open for exploitation. A ten-page ebook would perform far better than a 300-page book. Why? Because all a reader would have to do was check out the ebook and open it. One page read and BOOM! The author gets paid.

The rate was roughly between $1.30 to $1.40 to my memory. Well, KDP knew what was up and heard the public outcry over scammers flooding the market with low-quality rubbish in bite-sized pieces.

In July 2015, KDP rolled out the new payout model for KDP Select enrolled books that’s now referred to as KENPC—or Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count. Instead of authors getting payment for the percentage read, KDP would pay according to the number of pages read.

That was a crazy month for everyone. Hundreds, if not thousands, of publishers left KDP because they knew the system was no longer as ripe for exploitation. Yes, scammers would eventually find ways to abuse the system, but it was much harder than what it was originally.

I had two mentors sell me a course about self-publishing, then a few months later, they left the business because of KENPC. They knew they were pumping out crappy books and wouldn’t be able to continue the grift without putting in more effort than they were willing to offer.

So, for every page read, KDP pays authors from the KDP Select Global Fund—the monthly pool of subscription revenue. On the surface, it appeared to be a great deal, especially as we saw scores of authors jumping ship, leaving room for more business-oriented or serious self-publishers.

But, this model has only changed slightly since the start with KENPC in its third iteration.

The first month Amazon paid KDP Select-enrolled ebooks $0.005799 per page read, one of the highest KENPC payouts despite it being the lowest monthly Global Fund ever. This means if you had a 100-page book, you’ll get $0.50. That’s if the reader finishes the book. Out of the past 103 months since the beginning of KENPC, only ten of those months cracked the half cent per page.

And, despite the KDP Select Global fund growing from $2.5 million in July 2015 to $49 million in February 2024—nearly twenty times the original value—the KENPC payout remains fluctuating between $0.004 to $0.005 per page read with even the value dropping to $0.003989 in July 2023.

Now, to make matters even more suspect, Amazon raised Kindle Unlimited pricing for customers from $9.99 per month to $11.99 per month around May 2023.

So they charge customers more yet don’t adjust the author’s pay? That doesn’t seem to add up, but then again, I don’t know what goes into maintaining and developing KDP and Kindle Unlimited. But, that $2 more per month per customer certainly seems like it should’ve benefited authors, at least in a small way.

The month prior to the increase (April 2023) the KENPC payout was $0.00412 with the Global Fund at $46.1 million. During the month of the price change (May 2023), the KENPC payout was $0.004, with the Global Fund at $46.5 million. In June 2023, we saw a $47 million pool with a $0.00404. So, we got paid less???

We can theorize that customers read more pages than before, driving down the KENPC value. But that’d have to be a significant jump in pages read, considering the $2 per month increase in subscription dues. That’s a 20% increase in subscription fees, so we could assume there was a 20% increase in pages read.


By the way, big shout-out to Written Word Media on their up-to-date monthly report of the KDP Select Global Fund. The KENPC payout will fluctuate based on the region, so don’t hold them to having the most accurate data for all regions. If you want an accurate idea of how much the KENPC payout is, you’ll have to refer to your monthly sales reports.

Let’s also address a vital aspect of this whole equation that authors aren’t noticing—inflation. It’s been ten years since KDP Select launched and almost nine years since KENPC came out. The value of the dollar has dropped significantly in the past decade. Half a cent isn’t the same value today as it was ten years ago.

The KENPC payout for KDP Select-enrolled books is much akin to boiling a frog. If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it would jump out immediately to save itself. However, if you place the frog in lukewarm water that is slowly heated to a boil, it may not perceive any danger and eventually boil alive. Authors leveraging KDP Select have become desensitized to the gradual negative changes and may not know how deeply it affects them.

The authors raking in the big bucks are fewer than the ones pulling in a pittance for their hard work and loyalty to Amazon. At some point, we all need to pause and critically analyze systems that make little sense for our businesses. You might’ve watched a video on YouTube of someone telling you it’s the only way to go. Or maybe you caught a few screenshots of authors bragging about their paydays through KDP Select in a Facebook Group or online forum. But you can’t let your emotions drive your decisions. If you want to be paid like a business, you need to make the tough decisions that owners often face.

Is KDP Select paying you your worth? If not, move on. If  you are seeing value, congrats! Stick to it, but remember this little conversation we had here for later reference.

I highly recommend reading an article called A Smaller Slice of a Shrinking Kindle Select Pie by book marketing expert Joe Solari. He breaks the issue with the dwindling KENPC payout and inflation. You can also catch an interview with Joe on my podcast where we discuss the issue a bit more. Joe has a pragmatic approach to the publishing business; I think you’ll love his insights.

Side note: You can catch Joe Solari at his event, Author Nation, hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada from November 11-15, 2024. With over 120 vendors, 120 live sessions, and 2,000 authors, this in-person conference is ideal for all authors. Visit for more details.

Why Is KDP Select Problematic?

Amazon knows precisely what they’re doing with KDP Select. They’re looking to secure authors to their platform so that their competition gets the scraps left over. Most times, it’s at the detriment of the author. Ultimately, they want to get all the customers and look at ebooks as a loss leader so they can harvest customer data, remarket those customers, and sell more goods beyond ebooks.

You? You’re merely a cog in the machine. Whether or not you’re performing well, by enrolling your ebook in KDP Select, you’re indirectly supporting Amazon’s efforts at global domination. When the time comes, Amazon might drop that KENPC value drastically. Why? Because they can and they stand nothing to lose out of you staying or going. Once Amazon wipes out all the competition, where else will you go?

Don’t believe me. Well, consider for a second: why would Amazon show preferential treatment to exclusive ebooks? And, why would Amazon force authors into a price bracket of $2.99 to $9.99 knowing full well many traditionally published ebooks price above that? They’re discounting your ebook before it ever sees the light of day. Should you choose to price its fair value, well, KDP will penalize you with half the royalties.

KDP is like a casino where the house will always win. And, if you aren’t winning, you know darned well who is definitely winning. But, it’s unfair for me to cast a blanketed statement about KDP Select without first acknowledging who it’s for and who should avoid it.

Who Is KDP Select For?

So, who benefits the most from enrolling in KDP Select? We can already assume there are more authors getting paid fractional shares of the Monthly Global Fund. How much? Well, in recent marketing material on their site, Amazon claims they have over 4 million titles.

Newbies benefit the most from enrolling their ebook in KDP Select. The self-publishing business is already overwhelming as it is. Add to it the complexity of publishing beyond KDP and it becomes a whole lot of hassles and heartache. I recommend beginners start with KDP Select for the first ninety days after publishing.

In the three months, most newbies should get a better understanding of how KDP functions  and if KDP Select is truly worth it. During that wait time, you can always explore other avenues outside of KDP for ebook distribution. I’ll share some of those options in a bit.

Time-strapped authors should also consider KDP Select enrollment, because publishing wide takes time, patience, and a learning based on the alternative avenues chosen.

And, of course, if writing is merely a hobby to you, then enrolling KDP Select might be for you. For instance, my kid’s books were merely a hobby, nothing more than a passing fancy that I didn’t have high expectations for. I really don’t feel like the extra hassle of publishing it wide, nor do I care about it going anywhere beyond Amazon.

Can I change my mind later? Sure! All I’d have to do is deselect enrollment, wait out my agreement period, then publish the ebook wherever I want.

So, who benefits the least from KDP Select enrollment? Authors making little to no money from the program, but this will vary based on expectations and perceived value. If I’m not getting paid $1,000 per month or more from a book while it’s exclusive to KDP, it’s not worth keeping my book enrolled.

How much you deem as “value” is entirely your call. If that’s getting paid $10 per month, knock yourself out. But, here’s the thing, you could probably get ten bucks every month from other retailers, library systems, and subscription services. Heck, in a lot of cases, I get more money from the ebook being wide than Amazon-exclusive.

Also, if you want to get your ebook beyond Amazon, KDP Select isn’t for you. I’m a huge library nerd, so it’s important for my ebooks to be in libraries. I remember not being able to afford books, so the only way I could read them was from my local library.

Fun fact: Did you know that most distribution platforms recommend pricing ebooks two to four times the suggested retail price? That’s because libraries will lend a single copy to multiple readers. Do you have to mark up your price? No. In fact, some libraries’ distribution services function in a subscription-based system similar to KDP Select, but without the exclusivity clause.

Ultimately, I can’t tell you what is best for your business. Only you will know the true value of KDP Select is to your books. But I can’t leave you hanging without having potential solutions. Let’s look at a few options.

What Are The Alternatives to KDP Select?

You’ll often hear the term “publishing wide” in the indie author community, referencing the practice of publishing on as many platforms as possible beyond Amazon. Should KDP Select not scratch your itch or pay your worth, the wide publishing is something worth considering. Just remember, you will have to manage more dashboards, more book metadata, and more annual tax forms.

If you ever find that publishing a specific ebook wide isn’t working for you, delist it from all the retailers. Confirm you scrub your listing from all retailers beyond Amazon before you go back into the KDP Select Program. Just choose wisely, because dipping in and out of exclusivity is a pain and can send mixed signals to platforms not owned by Amazon. After all, why would a platform recommend your book if it’s constantly popping on and off their website? Not to mention, your title loses relevancy and reviews on different platforms every time you pull them, then add them back.

Kobo Plus: KDP Select Done Right

Kobo Writing Life is a free platform for publishing ebooks and audiobooks to the Kobo Marketplace. It was created by authors for authors and has helped thousands of authors publish their work all over the world. The brilliant minds behind Kobo Writing Life must’ve seen the flawed model of KDP Select and said, “I think we can do it better.”

Enter Kobo Plus.

Kobo Plus is a subscription service available in eighteen regions that allows users to read and listen to unlimited eBooks and audiobooks for a monthly fee. For only $7.99 per month, readers get access to over 1.5 million books through any Kobo eReader or the Kobo app. As if they didn’t think that was enough, Kobo also offers Kobo Plus Listen where subscribers get access to over 150,000 audiobooks for $7.99 per month.

For context, Audible audiobook subscription service is $14.95 per month for one title and discounts on other titles. Sure, you get access to more audiobooks on Audible, but at what expense??? Save the money and read more through Kobo Plus Listen.

And, as if Kobo didn’t offer enough value, consider their top tier subscription plan called the Kobo Plus Read & Listen. For $9.99, you get both ebooks and audiobooks. That is NOT bad.

But what’s the catch? Well, Kobo Writing Life must’ve seen the lopsided way KDP Select pays authors, so they came up with a different system. Instead of being paid by the pages read, Kobo pays authors based on the time consumed while reading (or with audiobooks, listening).

Each month, Kobo takes the total revenue earned from Kobo Plus subscriptions and the total minutes that all subscribers spent reading that month. They then divide the Monthly Revenue by the Minutes Read, which designates the monetary value to each minute of reading. This value fluctuates from month to month based on the subscriber count and total reading time.

Kobo Writing Life went onto say:

Imagine we have 100 subscribers paying $9.99 a month each. Our total revenue for that month is 999. Let’s imagine that those subscribers spent an average of 2 hours a day each reading. 2 hours a day for 30 days is 3600 (120 * 30 = 3600). So 100 readers spent a collective total of 360,000 minutes reading on Kobo Plus that month.

In order to pay our authors, we calculate the value of one minute of reading time. 999 divided by 360,000 =0.0027 (Monthly Revenue/Minutes Read = Value per Minute Consumed). The payment rate for authors on KWL is 60%. This means that for every minute a reader spends reading your book in this example, you earn 60% of 0.0027. A book that takes a reader 3 hours to read would therefore generate 0.2916 (180*0.0027) * 0.6) in earnings.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: $0.0027 is half what KDP Select pays. That’s a fair argument, but this is ONLY an example. Since Kobo doesn’t pay per page read, it’s not even a fair comparison. Sadly, I don’t have insights or intel on how much that is.

But, the most notable difference Kobo Plus has from KDP Select: no exclusivity.

Yep, remember how I mentioned indie authors built Kobo Writing Life? They know it’s selfish to provide access to a marketing tool in exchange for exclusivity. Authors want to reach more readers and they can’t begin to reach every market or region possible if they limit themselves.

KDP Select restricts and inhibits reach. Kobo Plus allows freedom and the ability to expand your reader base. If KDP ever takes a page out of Kobo Plus’s playbook, I’ll be more onboard with the program. For now, it’s a fairly lopsided arrangement that only favors the few while driving the most benefits to Amazon themselves.

Other Subscription-Based Services & Library Distribution

If you want to reach more readers, and aren’t getting that through KDP Select, publish wide. Start with one platform first before expanding to others. Trust me, I have nearly a dozen different accounts from various self-publishing companies. It gets a little much to juggle, especially when having to publish or update publications. If I find a typo, I don’t have to just update KDP; I have to update them all.

If you want to reach other subscription-based services or libraries, consider aggregate publishers like Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Streetlib, or PublishDrive. They all come with their own unique challenges, so don’t take this as an indication that I think they’re better than KDP. All self-publishing platforms come with their share of issues, so do your research.

Through Kobo Writing Life, you get access to the ebook distributor for libraries, Overdrive. If you want the best royalty possible, go this route. Through aggregators, you typically lose a small percentage of royalties.

If that’s not a big deal, you can look into Draft2Digital. They have access to Overdrive, Odilo, Bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla, BorrowBox, and Palace Marketplace. Draft2Digital (D2D) is another company similar to Kobo Writing Life in that they’re companies run by indie authors for indie authors. Through these library services, you get compensated based on a “One Copy, One User” model or a cost per checkout. D2D suggests you set a Library Price approximately two to three times higher than your digital book price. And, if you don’t want library distribution or don’t care for a specific service, you can deselect it.

The other three retailers I mentioned have options. I’m merely showcasing D2D as an example.

An example of subscription-based services comes through services like Everand (formerly known as Scribd), 24Symbols, and more. They function nearly the same way as KDP Select and Kobo Plus. I’ve seen modest results in these avenues, but it was enough to make non-exclusive distribution worth it.

You’ll find services like Everand through Draft2Digital or even about a half dozen options through PublishDrive. Again, research these options. D2D distributes your ebooks in exchange for about 10% of retail cost for every sale. Whereas PublishDrive charges a monthly distribution fee and you get 100% of net profits. I’ve left a link to all resources here, so feel free to check all these options out.

Final Thoughts

KDP Select earnings aren’t trash across the board. There are quite a few authors who greatly benefit from exclusivity. For the vast majority of authors, though? It’s debatable.

Let’s stop revering Amazon as the be all, end all of book distribution, because the more we lean into that, the more we settle with Amazon controlling 100% of digital book distribution. You might win now, but what about later? What will KDP Select look like in 2034? Are you willing to continue receiving a pittance for all your hard work? Is it okay that you reach fewer readers than if you went wide? Time will tell.

That’s not my only thoughts about KDP. In fact, get deeper, more granular insights into Kindle Direct Publishing, including the pros and cons in this post. And, if you truly enjoyed this post and found it insightful, consider subscribing to my email newsletter so you don’t miss future deep dives like this. Visit to subscribe today!

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