After months of debating exclusivity versus going wide, I’ve chosen to have my books listed with all of the major ebook vendors. To some this may seem an obvious choice — why would someone want to put all their eggs in one basket? Let’s discuss the benefits of both because there definitely are good reasons to remain exclusive.
Pros of Exclusivity
Exclusivity with one retailer like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited has its benefits. For one, if you are starting out, it’s less overwhelming to have your book listed with one ebook vendor. Plus, you get lots of perks with KDP Select, such as Kindle Countdown Deals, and the ability to mark your book for free for a period of five days (this is especially helpful if you have a book series and you want to hook new readers).
Cons of Exclusivity
Exclusivity with one retailer, like KDP Select, means you must grant exclusive selling rights to Amazon. You cannot offer your ebook for sale anywhere but Amazon, so you are basically putting all your eggs in one basket. Amazon is the biggest seller of ebooks worldwide, but you are still missing out on a broader audience of readers who may have bought your book had it been available to them from their preferred ebook retailer.
What bothered me the most about exclusivity was how earnings changed month to month, based on Amazon’s “pot“. You have no control over pricing (on KU) and you make significantly less on page reads then you would if someone bought your book. Plus, scammers. They ruin it for everyone.
Pros of Going Wide
It’s less restrictive. You don’t have to grant exclusive selling rights to one ebook vendor which means there are no restrictions on your books regarding sales and sharing your book’s content.
If your ebook is available wide you have a much larger, (less centralized), audience, which equates to more readers! I know people who only read ebooks on their Nook devices, and have bought my books through B&N Nook.
Cons of Going Wide
If you choose to go wide you have to list your book with different ebook vendors and update your file accordingly to their requirements. (Of course, you can skip all that by using Draft 2 Digital or Smashwords, for instance, where you can upload your file and have it converted for you to the vendors based on their preferences. It’s pretty sweet.) If you do list individually then you have to maintain/keep track of multiple vendors like Amazon KDP (not KDP Select), and Nook, which can get hectic!
Please note: I am by no means an expert. I’m still new to the publishing game and this is simply my opinion. Every self-published author/small press has to make the decision based on earnings benefits and ease of use. Please do you research before deciding!
In conclusion, I am happy with my decision to go wide. The last three months of KDP Select earnings were in a word: depressing. If I sell one book on Nook or another ebook vendor over the next few months then I will consider it worth it. I plan to do a follow up post in a few months where I will discuss my experience going wide and how it worked out.
What about you? Are you wide or exclusive? And what was the deciding factor?