When I started inGroup Press, I had every intention of embracing the technological revolution of publishing. I wanted our titles to be available on every type of e-book reader. At the time, the oldest and probably most famous LGBT publisher, Alyson Books, wasn’t publishing e-books. I wanted to do the exact opposite. And I did. InGroup titles became available on the Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Sony e-reader, Nook, etc. But now, something in the industry has changed the way I’m looking at e-books, and could reduce the amount of devices that inGroup titles are available on.
To give you some background, check out this press release about Amazon’s KDP Select lending program. In December, Amazon launched a program called KDP Select, that allows Kindle owners to essentially borrow books for free. Each time a book is borrowed, the author/publisher gets a flat-rate payment. The stipulation is that books in KDP Select must be exclusive to Kindle. If I want to enroll Fangs and Stilettos in KDP Select, then it can’t be available on any other i-bookstore. Only those with a Kindle (or a Kindle app on another device) would be able to download Fangs.
Judging by Amazon’s recent press release, KDP Select is off to a fantastic start, and could provide a huge boost to self-published authors and independent publishers. It seems like the authors benefiting most are those with a published series. Readers may be able to borrow the first two books of a series and then go on to buy the rest. But I recently took a chance on The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America and enrolled it in KDP Select. I pulled the book from every other i-bookstore in order to be in compliance. More copies of James Schwartz’s book were selling on Kindle than any other i-bookstore, so I decided that the consolidation might not hurt.
I also plan on releasing Fangs and Stilettos (May 15th, 2012) as a Kindle exclusive. Time will tell if consolidation works. While three years ago I was convinced that an e-book should be widely available on every device, I’m not so sure anymore. KDP Select may be the answer that authors and small publishers are looking for.