Amazon recently unveiled yet another program designed for indie authors, and if you use Amazon services you've probably already been treated to the email blast. Kindle Unlimited is a book-sharing program that gives readers a database of books to read. It all sounds great...until you learn that, like Amazon's KDP program, it requires exclusivity.
Amazon wants you to be their steady significant other...for ever. Authors who participate in Kindle Unlimited must be members of KDP Select, Amazon's exclusive program for indie authors. The authors who use KDP Select cannot sell their books on any other website, such as Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
One could argue that Amazon sells more ebooks than all those other websites anyway. One could also argue that Amazon has provided all the platform and marketing opportunity for self-published authors, and they clearly support indies. What about CreateSpace?
There is a good reason that Amazon sells more ebooks than anyone else: stunts like this Kindle Unlimited arrangement.
One could make all sorts of arguments in Amazon's favor, but it boils down to this: when you're trying to sell something, exclusive agreements aren't any good. The free market is meant to be open to all, and it's this very openness that provides all the opportunity for those who have products and services to offer. If you can only sell your product out of one store, this clearly limits your availability. There are already half a million books in Amazon's KDP program, half a million books I can't buy anywhere but Amazon.
Is your book one of them?