Kindle Unlimited Exclusivity or Wide: Weigh the pros and cons

The rise of self-publishing has empowered authors to take control of their own publishing journeys. With the advent of platforms like Amazon, authors can publish their books with ease and without the need or approval of traditional publishing houses which are historically difficult to break into. However, one crucial question that indie authors face is whether to publish exclusively on Amazon with KDP Select, also known as Kindle Unlimited, or go wide and distribute their books across multiple platforms. In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both options.

Publishing on Kindle Unlimited / Amazon Exclusive


  1. Amazon KDP Select: Amazon’s KDP Select program provides authors with additional benefits, such as access to Kindle Unlimited (KU). KU offers readers the chance to read limitless books for a fee and authors get paid by the number of pages read. This often means a lower barrier for a reader to take a chance on an unknown or new-to-them author.
  2. Promotion Access: When your ebook is exclusive to Kindle Unlimited, you also gain access to special price promotions in Amazon. This includes Kindle Countdown Deals, which provides your book at a discounted rate and shows buyers the time left at that price plus a Free Book Promotion option. Without these available to you, you will need to rely on Amazon’s price matching to run sales across all of your platforms.
  3. Simplified Distribution: Publishing exclusively on Amazon means you don’t have to worry about formatting your book for different platforms or managing multiple distribution channels. Amazon takes care of everything, making it a convenient option for many authors.


  1. Limited Reach: While Amazon has a vast audience, publishing exclusively on Amazon means your ebook is only available to Kindle readers. This can limit your reach, as readers who prefer other ebook platforms won’t be able to access your book.
  2. Dependence on Amazon: Publishing exclusively on Amazon means that you entirely depend on Amazon for your book’s success. If Amazon changes its policies or algorithm, it can affect your sales and income. Indie authors are really concerned about book piracy, which can get their KDP accounts deleted because an ebook being available on a piracy site violates the KDP Select exclusivity clause. When this happens, Amazon’s terms do not require them to pay you any outstanding royalties. Usually, that means you won’t receive any royalties earned for the last 60 days unless you can get them to reinstate your account.
  3. Lower Royalties: Amazon’s royalty rates for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 are 70%, but for books priced outside of that range, the royalty rate drops to 35%. This means that if you want to price your book higher than $9.99, you’ll receive a lower royalty rate. And depending on your book’s length, a payment of page-reads for a full read-through of your book on Kindle Unlimited might fetch you an even lower sum. The payment per page read changes monthly and can be difficult to estimate.

Publishing Wide


  1. Greater Reach: Publishing wide means that your book is available on multiple platforms, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books. This gives you access to a wider audience and can help increase your book’s visibility and sales.
  2. Diversified Income Streams: By publishing wide, you’re not solely dependent on one platform for your income. If one platform’s sales dip, you can still rely on sales from other platforms. You also have the opportunity to sell directly to readers on your own website, meaning no royalty splitting with anyone!
  3. Higher Royalties: Some platforms, such as Apple Books, offer higher royalty rates than Amazon. For example, Apple Books pays 70% royalty on books priced between $0.99 and $9.99, and 80% on books priced between $10 and $199.99.


  1. Formatting Challenges: Formatting Challenges: Different platforms have different formatting requirements, and formatting your book for multiple platforms can be time-consuming and challenging.
  2. Lower Visibility on Each Platform: While wide publishing can increase your book’s reach, it can also mean that your book has lower visibility on each platform. This is because each platform has its own algorithms and promotional tools, which can make it challenging to stand out.
  3. Distribution Management: Managing multiple distribution channels can be challenging, especially if you’re a new author or have limited resources. You’ll need to keep track of sales and payments from each platform, which can be time-consuming.

So, what should you choose?

If you made it this far and you came here hoping I could tell you that one option is far superior to the other, well, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m sorry!

Ultimately, the decision to publish exclusively on Amazon or go wide depends on your goals, budget, and audience. If you’re a new author or have limited resources, publishing exclusively on Amazon and accessing Kindle Unlimited readers may be a good option to gain exposure and simplify distribution. However, if you’re looking for greater reach and diversified income streams, publishing wide may be a better option.

One strategy that some authors use is to start with Amazon exclusivity and then go wide after a few months. This can allow you to take advantage of Amazon’s promotional tools and gain some initial momentum, while also expanding your reach to other platforms. Wide publishing supporters are vocal about their disapproval of this method, claiming it leaves you having to build your reader base again when you switch. It may be better to choose a route and stick to it with perseverance and patience.

Both publishing exclusively on Amazon and going wide have their pros and cons. It’s up to you to weigh these factors and decide which approach is best for your book and your career as an author. Whichever route you choose, remember to focus on producing high-quality content and building a strong marketing strategy to reach your readers and grow your audience. Ultimately, getting the next book out into the world is the most important step in becoming successful in indie publishing.


Myth: If I am exclusive with Amazon in Kindle Unlimited with my ebook, that means I have to use them for my print book distribution.
Truth: The KDP Select exclusivity clause only applies to the ebook version of your book.
Myth: If I publish my ebook on Amazon, I cannot publish it anywhere else. I have to publish on Amazon because that is where most of the readers are, so I have to do Amazon exclusively.
Truth: No! You can have your ebook available on Amazon and still opt-out of the KDP Select program, meaning no agreement for exclusivity!
Myth: If I don’t opt into Amazon KDP Select, I don’t qualify for the 70% royalty rate.
Truth: You always qualify for the 70% royalty rate, provided your book’s list price falls between $2.99 and $9.99.

Are there any other questions you have about publishing exclusively with Amazon versus wide? Ask them below!

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