How to Price Your Self-Published Book: KDP Select

By Posted in - Marketing Tips for Authors on April 14th, 2014 0 Comments


Our friends at Kindle Direct Publishing offer another kind of pricing paradigm. It’s a program we mentioned in the previous chapter called KDP Select. In exchange for a ninety-day Amazon exclusive, your book goes into the “Lending Library” and you can offer the book for free for up to five days.

People who own Kindle devices (not Kindle apps running on other devices) and who are Amazon Prime members can participate in this program. Participants can borrow books from a collection of 180,000 titles to read on their Kindle devices. Authors in the Lending Library program also receive a portion of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library fund based on how many times people borrowed their book.

David Kazzie, author of The Jackpot, provided an illustrative experience with KDP Select. The Jackpot was dead in the water—it sold twenty-one copies on Amazon and one copy on Barnes & Noble’s website from December 1, 2011, to January 24, 2012. He pulled his book from all the other resellers and joined the KDP Select Program.

He decided to give the book away for two days, and people downloaded 25,000 copies of the book from January 25 to January 26. On January 27, the book was no longer free, but sales rocketed. It started the day ranked around #225,000 and ended up at #76 that night.

The Jackpot spent more than a week on the Top 100 Kindle Bestseller List, rising as high as #34, and attracted dozens of five-star reviews. Amazon featured The Jackpot in its “Big Deal” Kindle promotion in March, and seven months later, the book continues to sell at a rate far better than it did before Kazzie enrolled it in the KDP Select Program.

David attributes the success of this promotion to the follow-on effects of the free offer. For example, The Jackpot started to appear in people’s “Customers Also Bought” list and on Amazon’s “Most Popular” lists. In addition, websites covering Kindle news listed it as a free book.


Pricing is an art, not a science. There are many factors involved to consider and many theories to test. However, one of the advantages of self-publishing is that you can alter your pricing to see how it affects sales, so our recommendation is that you take your best guess and adjust from there. We think it’s better to guess low and work up; at least this way more people will read your book as you find the right price.

Guy Kawasaki has written 12 books, 10 of which were traditionally published. His newest book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, which helps people understand how and why to self-publish.

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, is available as an eBook ($9.99) and in paperback ($24.99). Visit

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