Understanding Amazon KDP Select – Pros and Cons

Published on: 01/27/2023
Published By: Liz Jalkiewicz
kdp select pros and cons

When using Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you should know there are two options when publishing your Kindle eBook. You can either go the standard Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing route or you can opt to enroll your eBook in KDP Select.

For self-published authors, deciding between regular Amazon KDP or KDP Select can seem like a daunting task. Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s self-publishing platform, is by far the most popular publishing service for independent authors. However, there is a choice you need to make when you publish your eBook. Regular Amazon KDP or KDP Select?

What is Amazon KDP?

KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. It is Amazon’s self-publishing platform. Here you can create Kindle e-books, print books, both paperback and hard cover, that are available through their print-on-demand service. You can also create audiobooks.

What is Amazon KDP Select?

KDP Select is a free 90-day program that you can opt into for your individual Kindle ebooks. It’s an optional program. All authors are eligible to enroll their Kindle eBooks in this program. When Kindle eBooks are enrolled in this program for the mandatory 90-day term, it must be exclusive to the Amazon Kindle store and cannot be sold in any other store. It also cannot be sold on your author website or given away free.

This option gives you the opportunity to reach more readers through Amazon and various Kindle promotions. It’s essentially another marketing tool in your toolbox.

When you choose to enroll your book in KDP Select, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During this period of exclusivity, you can’t distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc.

However, remember, KDP Select is only for ebooks. So you can still publish your audiobooks, paperbacks, or hardback books through wide distribution, meaning distributing it to other retails or bookstores.

What are the Requirements to Enroll in KDP Select?

As we discussed, this option is for Kindle eBooks only. You can also enroll pre-order Kindle eBooks. To be eligible, you must have exclusive rights for the primary content of the Kindle eBook. Content that is public domain is not eligible. And your Kindle eBook must also be exclusive to the Kindle Store for the KDP Select enrollment period (like mentioned earlier).

How Do I Enroll in KDP Select?

1. To enroll your Kindle eBook for the first time, go to your KDP Bookshelf. Then click the ellipsis button (“…”), next to the Kindle eBook you want to enroll. This is located under the Kindle eBooks Actions menu. Select Enroll in KDP Select. On the next screen, click Enroll.

Can I Make Changes During the KDP Select Enrollment Period?

You can change your Kindle eBook details (royalty options, and book descriptions) without affecting your enrollment in KDP Select.

You can also unpublish KDP Select-enrolled titles at any time during the term and republish them on KDP later. This will pause your KDP Select enrollment period until you republish your Kindle eBook. Once you choose to republish your title, your enrollment period will resume. Your Kindle eBook must remain exclusive through the remainder of the title’s current 90-day participation period.

How Do I Check the KDP Select Enrollment Period Status of My eBook?

You can confirm your eBook’s enrollment by going to your KDP Bookshelf. Then, next to the Kindle eBook you want to enroll, click the ellipsis button (“…”) under the Kindle eBook Actions menu. Choose KDP Select Info. You will see the start and end date of your enrollment period. You will also see an option to automatically renew the Kindle eBook’s enrollment once the 90-day period ends.

How Do I Renew My KDP Select Enrollment?

Take notice that every Kindle eBook that is enrolled in KDP Select is automatically renewed unless you opt out. If you don’t want to renew your KDP Select enrollment, just go to your KDP Bookshelf and next to you Kindle eBook, click the ellipsis button (“…”) under the Kindle eBook Actions menu. Then choose KDP Select Info and under the header on the screen that appears, you’ll see the start and end dates of your current enrollment period. Click Manage KDP Select Enrollment. Uncheck the box next to Automatically renew this book’s enrollment. Canceling automatic renewal does not affect the eBook’s enrollment in KDP Select for the current term.

For each new term, you can choose to run either Kindle Countdown Deal (KCD) or a Free Book Promotion. Only one type of promotion can be used during the KDP Select enrollment period and they can be scheduled on the day enrollment is renewed.

Can I Cancel My KDP Select Enrollment?

How Do I Make Royalties Through KDP Select?

What are the PROS of Enrolling in KDP Select?

Here are four reasons to consider enrolling your eBook in KDP Select:

  1. Reach a New Audience through Kindle Unlimited
  2. Free to Enroll Your Kindle eBook
  3. All-Star Bonuses
  4. Maximize Book Sales through Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions

Reach a New Audience

Reach a wider audience through KDP Select. It is a great option to market and promote your Kindle eBook to more readers making it easier for readers to find your Kindle eBook. When your eBook is enrolled, it’s available through Kindle Unlimited in the U.S, U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, India, Japan, and Australia.

Kindle Unlimited is definitely one of the biggest perks of enrolling in this option. Kindle Unlimited subscribers are sent emails based on their reading habits and preferences and Amazon suggests eBook titles for them to consider reading. This ultimately helps to direct a lot of targeted traffic to your eBook that you may not have otherwise received from the standard Amazon KDP route. From people reading your eBook, you may also indirectly generate more sales for the print version of your book. Many people tend to read the eBook first, then if they love it, they’ll buy the print version.

Free to Enroll

KDP Select is a free program for Kindle eBooks only. There is no cost to enroll or participate in the exclusive promotions for your eBook.

All-Star Bonuses

Your Kindle eBook is also eligible to be selected for the KDP Select All Stars bonus. This is a discretionary monthly bonus to recognize KDP Select Kindle eBooks that “delight readers,” according to Amazon. This program uses a variety of customer signals in addition to pages read to recognize books who receive this bonus. Amazon doesn’t dive deeper into the decision-making process for this bonus. Note: This bonus is in addition to Kindle Unlimited (KU) earnings/royalties from the KDP Select Global Fund.

Maximize Book Sales

You can maximize your book’s sales potential by choosing between two great exclusive Amazon promotional tools: Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting for your book while earning royalties; or Free Book Promotion where readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time.

Kindle Countdown Deals

Customers will see the regular price and the promotional price on the Kindle eBook’s detail page so this will help them to visually see the great deal that is going on now.

They will also see the countdown clock. This clock shows how much time is left to purchase the Kindle eBook at the promotional price which helps to increase excitement and a sense of urgency for the reader to get the eBook while the discount is still available.

As the author, you will earn the selected royalty rate on each sale during the promotion.

Monitor your eBook’s performance. Your KDP report will display sales and royalties at each digital list price you set during the promotional period so you can better track your data.

Free Book Promotions

There are some different options for how you can run your Free Book Promotion for the 5 days:

  • You can choose to run the promotion five consecutive days in a row
  • You can promote your eBook one day at a time
  • Promote your book for multiple days in a row (so 2 days on, then take a break, then 1 day on, then break then 2 more days on)

Free Book Promotions must be scheduled at least one day before your desired start date.

The earliest possible date to begin your Free Book Promotion is the second day of your KDP Select enrollment period.

What are the CONS of Enrolling in KDP Select?

While there are many reasons to consider enrolling your book in this option, I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight some drawbacks. Here are two main limitations to enrolling:

  1. Exclusivity
  2. Auto-Renewal
  3. Limited Your Income Streams


In order to enroll your ebook in KDP Select, you must be exclusive to Amazon. That means you can’t upload your eBook to any of the other retailers like Barnes & Noble or Google Books for example, or on your own website. This can definitely be a drawback for some authors.

If you already published your eBook through other retailers, you will have to completely remove your ebooks from sale from those platforms. This can sometimes be a long and tedious process.

You cannot offer more than 10% of your eBook’s content anywhere. This even includes social media and your own website or blog.

Although the enrollment period is only 90-days (or 3-months), it’s a period of time where you could have been reaching a wider audience outside of Amazon. It’s definitely something to consider based on your strategy and goals for your book.


Once enrolled, your eBook is set to auto-renew every three months, unless you manually uncheck this option. Be sure to check this setting to avoid rolling over unintentionally for another three months.

Limiting Your Income Streams

Your income from Amazon during this time may not exceed the income from sales you would have received from other stores since your book must be exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle store during this 90-day enrollment period.

Your earnings from Kindle Unlimited will be from a monthly pot determined by Amazon. For more information on Royalties through KDP Select, check out the KDP Select Global Fund.

Is KDP Select Worth It?

Keep in mind that this KDP Select option only affects Kindle eBooks (and not other formats of your book like print and audiobooks). If you are publishing your book in a print version or audiobook version, there are no restrictions.

If you want a simple way of self-publishing and selling your eBook, KDP Select is a quick, easy, and effective way to do so. However, if you want your eBook to be available to potential readers through other retailers, you might want to think about wide distribution.

The bottom line is you need to determine whether the PROs of KDP Select outweigh the CONs based on your goals and marketing strategy for your eBook. It’s a very individualized decision. There is no right or wrong here. It’s just based on what is best for you.

Interested in Learning More About Self-Publishing on Amazon KDP?

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