Amazon has a big carrot/stick going with KDP Select.
This was my experience in Select:
1) 70% royalties in a lot of territories.
2) Lending library royalties.
3) Fewer sales got me higher on the charts.
4) Better visibility.
5) Fantastic customer service, the few times I had to contact KDP support.
This has been my experience, leaving Select:
1) 35% royalties, no matter what my price, in more territories than if I had stayed in Select.
2) No longer in the Lending Program, (obviously).
3) Lower visibility.
4) Price changes only reflected on my US page, and not on my other
pages. So, even though I ran a big sale, it had no effect on my overseas
numbers, because the price didn't change there.
5) Price changes may not be reflected period. I lowered my price for a
sale, but I was not able to return it to its regular price. Instead,
they're using what should be my price as the crossed out price, and are
continuing the sale. Even though my price is back up to normal at all
(Note: Even after I pulled it out of distribution at the other channels and placed it back in Select, even after emailing KDP repeatedly, I am still unable to raise my price back to normal. My sale ended on Thursday. It's now Tuesday).
6) I have one book that was made perma-free in the US, but continues to
have its regular price in all other territories, so the UK ad I bought
for it is worthless.
7) My KDP account became oddly glitchy. Sales showed up and vanished,
number counters ran forward and backwards, and my royalty percentages
changed without my input.
8) When I contacted KDP customer service, I kept getting routed to India and nothing got resolved. All I got were rote responses.
9) Running sales promos costs a lot more money.
10) You need more sales to hold onto your ranking level. Yes, I do think
they've either got two different algorithms going, based on whether
you're in Select or not.
Thankfully, one of the advertisers I worked with gave me a connection to
an actual Amazon person in the US to try and get this all straightened
out. I don't know what the outcome will be. But I have to say, it's very
tempting to go back into Select, where I won't have all these problems
to deal with.
If you want to leave Select, this is what I would do:
1) Try to get a 1-year cushion in your bank account, just in case.
2) Try to have at least one full-length title in Select when you pull the rest out.
3) This is the time to start keeping even better records. Chart your
sales and regularly check your royalty percentages. Take screenshots of
your KDP sales page, especially if your sales go up. Try to time/date
stamp everything somehow. If there's a glitch, and you need to contact
customer service, not only will you be routed to India, you will be put
in a "prove it" position, and you have to be able to cough up physical
4) Don't just check your US product page if you're changing your prices.
Check all Amazon territories. As soon as you notice something is off,
contact KDP immediately.
5) Compile e-mail addresses of Amazon employees that you've interacted
with in KDP customer service. That way, you can contact them directly
instead of going through India and the rote responses first.
Why I think this is happening:
Honestly, I don't think Amazon is trying to screw you if you leave
Select. I think they just stop caring about you, if you leave Select. And
since none of the other retailers care about you at all, there's no one
to pick up the slack.
I also think that Amazon is having software problems on one of their
servers, and that server is the one that's dealing with non-Select
accounts. Fun, fun, fun.
As indies, we feel a responsibility to our readers to have our books
available everywhere. Unfortunately, other than Amazon, the other
distributors don't really feel any responsibility to its indie authors.
And Amazon only really seems to feel responsibility towards indies who
are in Select.
At least, this has been my experience so far. But who
knows. Now that I'm emailing someone at Amazon proper, instead of Amazon
India, maybe things will change and I will completely change my mind.