Leaving Kindle Unlimited and Going Wide

Blog posts are like books.  The initial idea usually requires a great deal of effort to condense and refine down—in this case, a little under 1,000 words. 

Initial Idea that spawned this post:  I am pulling my books out of Kindle Unlimited and publishing them “wide”.  

Smidge of background for non-publishing savvy:  Amazon has a monthly subscription service for books called Kindle Unlimited (hereon out referred to as KU).  It has benefits for both readers and for writers.  Namely, readers who consume copious amounts of books can read a lot more for a lot cheaper.  For newbie writers, it can be easier to get readers to take a chance on you for seemingly “free”.  Certain genres even seem to do better in KU than otherwise (romance, military space opera, and litrpg being three of them).  It is also easier for newbie authors to publish with just Amazon (learning one publishing platform instead of trying to learn half a dozen while they’re just starting out).  

The one drawback for writers, is that any Ebook in KU must be exclusively published with Amazon (as of 2021 and prior).  Print books and audiobooks are not subject to this clause.  

Putting an Ebook in KU means it cannot be sold elsewhere.  Not in Apple or Google or Barnes & Noble or Kobo or any other retailer.  It can’t be given away for free on your website.  It can’t be stocked in libraries.  

Rather than break down the differences between the two strategies for Ebooks, Amazon exclusive or wide (to all platforms), I’ll just focus on my decision to leave KU and publish wide.

It really comes down to change and libraries.  

Change is the one thing constant in our world.  I’ve been following self-publishing and the larger trends of the industry since 2010.  Some of the same companies are still around now, but there are a lot of new ones.  Promotions and advertising strategies that worked back then no longer work now.  Ebooks and audiobooks have come into the picture, displacing a lot of print sales.  Legacy publishing companies have consolidated.  

What has changed isn’t important.  The principle of change is.  And change is often disruptive to an industry.  Ebooks and audiobooks have been disruptive to print.  The internet and online retail sites like Amazon have been disruptive.  

You know what helps weather that disruption?  Diversity.  Being wide and published across a number of different retailers is diverse.

Amazon could decide to change the terms and payout of KU.  Authors that are exclusive could get devastated.  If you’re published in a bunch of different retailers, you won’t be as affected by what one single retailer does.  

The second reason behind my decision is libraries.  

I didn’t have a lot of experience with libraries growing up.  In truth, I played video games a lot more than I read and I was able to get a lot of books via hand-me-downs or from local bookstores.  

But since I’ve been a writer, I’ve had much more experience with them.  My wife and I take our kids.  I have friends that work in libraries.  Sometime soon (after COVID) it would be awesome to do readings, events or volunteer.  I see what good they do for the community and I want to do my part to support them.  To give back where and when I can.  

And my Ebooks aren’t available to libraries while I’m in KU.  They can’t be.  

So there you have it.  Starting in May 2021 my catalogue of Ebooks will be moving out of KU and going wide.  

If you found me via KU, then first of all, thanks for reading so far into this post and thanks for reading my books.  Moving out of KU wasn’t a decision that I made lightly and I wanted to make sure my readers were aware of the change in availability.  And if you’re a KU reader who still wants to follow me, you can do so a couple ways:  If you would like to read my books for free, you can either add them to your KU library now while you still can, or you can find my books through your local library shortly after they leave KU (just ask your local library for them or use one of their Ereader apps).  Second, if you still want your own copies then you should subscribe to my newsletter.  Each month I’ll notify you of upcoming sales and promotions, that way you can still get your own copies without breaking the bank.  And again, thank you for supporting me. 

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