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Kindle Select, Kindle Unlimited, Pros/Cons - Impact on Amazon Advertising

Here is what we'll cover in this article:

What is Kindle Select?

What is Kindle Unlimited?

What is KENP?

How much does KENP pay per page read?

How many KENP are in your book?

How to view your KU Royalties

What are the Kindle Select Rules?

Is Kindle Select Worth it?

What are the pros to enrolling in Kindle Select

What are the cons to enrolling in Kindle Select

How will enrolling in Kindle Select Impact Your Amazon Ads

How to add/remove yourself from KENP


I get these questions all the time. It's directly related to your Amazon Advertising efforts so I wanted to cover this topic in depth here. Although this article contains a lot of information also available elsewhere, I wanted to put the unique perspective of why/why not do it in relation to it's impact on your Amazon Ads. Like I said, I still wanted to cover all the basics in order for it to be a comprehensive article on the topic to answer any questions you might have.


I'll give it to you straight up - Kindle Unlimited is worse for the author then if Kindle Unlimited didn't exist at all but since it does exist - you kind of have to be a part of it.


How much does KENP pay per page read in 2020



What is Kindle Select?

Kindle Select is a program created by Amazon for authors to be more integrated into the whole Amazon ecosystem. It certainly has its pros and cons which we'll discuss those later on in the article. It requires that authors grant exclusivity to Amazon for a period of 90 days and in return, get to be a part of Kindle Unlimited where readers subscribe to Amazon's library of over 1,000,000 titles.


Ku/koll royalties

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is a portion of Kindle Select which gives authors the ability to have their book included in Amazon's Netflix-like subscription program for readers. This is the branding for the consumer/reader side of things. Essentially how you get included in Kindle Unlimited is through being added to Kindle Select.


What is kenp

What are KENP?

KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) is the term to describe the page reads that an author gets through the Kindle Unlimited Program. KENP is the metric that Amazon uses to assign dollar value (what your royalties will be) to the accessing of your book by a reader through Kindle Unlimited.


How many KENP are in my book

How much does KENP pay per page read?

KENP payout differs depending on the market. At the end of each month, a Kindle Direct Publishing Global Fund is announced. The fund is what's leftover from revenue brought in by readers signing up for Kindle Unlimited minus the cut that Amazon takes for themselves. They then divide this number up amongst authors, assigning royalties based on KENP. The KDP Global Fund in January of 2021 was around 36 million, the highest it's ever been, not to be confused with the most authors have ever made through KENP. The KENP payout for January was $0.004216. Again, this changes month over month depending on how much money Amazon made through Kindle Unlimited and the amount of content consumed by readers during that period.


How many KENP are in your book?

1. Go to bookshelf

How to cancel KENP

2. Click on promote and advertise down at the bottom

Is kindle select worth it

3. Scroll down to the bottom

KDP select vs. kindle unlimited

Here at the bottom you'll see Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) : 184


This number: 184 is the amount of KENP in your book. Thus, if you take Januaries payout per page of $0.004216 and multiply that by our page count, 184: .004216 X 184 = 78¢ that we could make every time someone used Kindle Unlimited to access our book. Note that this is the max amount, if someone doesn't read the book cover to cover, we won't make the whole 78¢.


How to view your KU Royalties

You can see how much money you've made through KENP on your KDP.Amazon.com reports dashboard.

Kindle select rules


What are the Kindle Select Rules?

According to kdp.amazon.com the 2 rules to be included in Kindle Select are:

  • You must have exclusive rights for the primary content of the Kindle book (i.e., the content is not public domain)

  • You must make your Kindle book exclusive to the Kindle Store for the KDP Select enrollment period (90-days). You can continue to distribute your paperback (or any other format you may have).

Is Kindle Select Worth it?

For most authors, my answer to this is yes. Amazon makes up more than 80% of eBook sales in the US so it's important to have the strongest possible favoring on the Amazon platform. Although Amazon doesn't necessarily "ding" you for not being included, it does have a huge impact on your ability to rank in various categories because Amazon does take Kindle Unlimited reads as a strong factor in their ranking algorithm. As an Amazon Advertiser, I have seen this true across the board with any client enrolled vs. not enrolled.


That being said, it's still possible to rank high in categories if a majority of the competing books aren't enrolled either. To figure out whether this is true for you or not, you can browse the categories you wish to rank in, counting how many of the top 20 books are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. If most of them are, it's going to be hard for you to beat them out and rank higher.


I also wrote an article on making sure you're in the right categories to begin with.


What are the pros to enrolling in Kindle Select


Amazon says the following are the pros - I added my informed opinion on each of these

  • Reach more readers and earn more money at no cost

Yes and no. Here are the scenarios that could play out alone or mutually:

1. If Kindle Unlimited allows your book to rank higher in your categories, thus driving organic sales, then yes, your book will rank higher and make you more money


2. If your books has an absurd amount (400+) KENP then also, yes, your KENP royalties are going to be much higher for copy - offsetting your advertising costs much better and allowing you to run ads more profitably


3. Your sales will decrease because readers who would have bought your book, now access it through Kindle Unlimited, reducing your revenue and making you less money despite the fact that you may now have more readers.


There's no way to see which will be applicable to your book (well I guess #2 is pretty clear) but that's why if you're an indie author trying to build a brand or a non-fiction author with a bigger ticket item being sold through the book than potential revenue later down the road from either of those should be taken into consideration and are definitely arguments for including yourself in Kindle Unlimited.


  • Make your Kindle book eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico

These aren't large markets so I really don't think this is great incentive for anyone and shouldn't be taken into consideration. (Canada is though if you want to read about it here)

  • Inclusion in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program with possibility to earn a share of the KDP Select Global Fund

This is the same as the first bullet-point, just more specific. Nice try Amazon.

  • Access to promotional tools: Kindle Countdown Deal and Free Book Promotion

In my opinion, this is Kindle Unlimited on steroids. It increases both the upside and the downside at the same time. Free promotions and discounts help your book rank better and lead to better long term rankings but you're also foregoing sales to do so. If you're not getting any traction, then this will probably be a great option for you. If you're already getting good traction then you may want to consider the loss of sales over the short term.



What are the cons to enrolling in Kindle Select

Amazon unsurprisingly doesn't offer up cons on their website so I'll guess I'll have to list these myself. I cover the Amazon Ads impact below. My lane is Kindle Select with an eye towards Amazon Ads so if you want a more in depth look at the cons of Kindle Select on your overall book marketing efforts - I'd recommend this one on the Reedsy Blog. The two main one's are as follows:

  • Limited distribution of your ebook for the 90 period of which you are enrolled

  • Hitting bestsellers lists outside of Amazon


Should you run Amazon Ads at the same time as a countdown deal or free book promotion?

Recently I have been trying this with a few authors and will report back soon with it's own case study but for the time being, here is the rational for why it could be good to do so, and why is could be bad.


Good

It could be a GREAT way to build up relevancy and your conversion score with a variety of keywords that are core to your book. One of the factors that goes into an auction for an ad space is how many times that ad has been clicked on when shown and then a step further to how many times that ad being shown has resulted in a sale. When your book is priced cheaper or free, an ad is going to be MUCH more likely to build up these scores favorably so that when you go back to offering your books at it's normal price, your ads may* convert better.


Bad

It's going to cost you. Running ads to a free item in the short term means you won't be getting an immediate return on that spend and you'll probably spend more than usual since people click on free stuff more.


How will enrolling in Kindle Select Impact Your Amazon Ads


The Upside of enrolling in Kindle Select


Future Impressions - These can be assumed to rise if you're enrolled in Kindle Select as since your book is more likely to be picked up by a reader, Amazon will rank your book better when deciding who's ad is going to be shown. One of the factors that goes into the auction for a keyword is previous conversions so if the likelihood for your ad to covert is higher, then you're more likely to win the auction.


Organic sales might also improve if you're ranked higher or even able to get the coveted bestseller tag. Both of these will help with conversions.


The Downside of enrolling in Kindle Select


Overall Profitability - Since, for the average book of 100-300 KENP, money to be made from a reader is much lower with Kindle Unlimited, your ads have to be run cheaper. It's going to be harder for you to run ads at your target ACOS since you might make less money on a sale than you would have previously.



How to add/remove yourself from KENP

Before I give you the steps here, I must issue a word of caution. Whatever you do, do it consistently. Don't flip back and forth every 90 days because it will devastate the consistency required when running Amazon Ads. The only BIG losers among the authors I've advertised for are the one's who make a plan and then don't stick to it. Digital Book Marketing is a long term plan and it's definitely okay to enroll or unenroll once and then maybe twice after testing out each and making a final decision, but stick with it after that.


1. Go to kdp.amazon.com

2. Click on Bookshelf and scroll to the bottom

Kindle select rules

3. Click on promote and advertise

KDP select vs. kindle unlimited

4. Click on Manage KDP Select Enrollment

How to enroll in Kindle Select

5. Uncheck the box next to "Automatically Renew this book's enrollment in KDP select for another 90 days.

How to enroll in Kindle Select

Note that you'll remain in KDP select until the end of the current 90 period. To add yourself back to KDP select just simply do the same 4 steps above except you'll check the box this time on step 5.


So there you have it. I cover Amazon Advertising in depth, in the same step by step style you got in this article in my new 2021 Amazon Ads Author Masterclass.


If your ads aren't working and you want to figure out why, check out the Top 9 Reasons Why Your Amazon Ads aren't working.

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