Kindle vs Wide



My second book is in the process of being published, and I’ve been contemplating what to do with my first book.

Should I leave it on wide distribution or make a move to Kindle Unlimited? My publisher and I have been discussing it a little, and I’m leaning towards KU.

So for those of you who use KU, did you find the move worthwhile? Was it more positive than negative?


I think KU is worthwhile. When my self-published book wasn’t on KU, it made a pittance in sales. When it went to KU, it generated significantly more royalties from views. Both instances involved no real marketing on my part.

Over 80% of ebook sales are on Amazon anyway, so I’m not sure there’s much value in going wide.


I’ve been exclusive with Amazon almost my entire indie lifespan. I pulled my first book out in late November because I had gotten a Bookbub promotion and I had promised Bookbub that I would be in all the stores by the time the promotion went off on 12/23- I made almost no sales the entire month of December in any of the stores outside of Amazon, and even with the Bookbub my sales in December will be lower than November or January (I put my book right back in KU immediately after the Bookbub). I do realize that it takes months and sometimes years to develop a wide readership, but KU can take off immediately just from being on the hot new release chart or running a few simple AMS ads.

My advice would be to try KU for a 3 month stint to start. If it doesn’t grab KU reader’s attention, pull it and try to go wide. KU is as large (or maybe larger) than all the wide stores put together (Apple, Kobo, etc). Amazon is 80% of the ebook market. And it’s much easier to advertise as you’re only advertising on one store. Also, it you are writing in one of the hot subgenres you can make a lot of money in KU. I threw up a 73k word book under a pen name two weeks ago - didn’t tell my old fans, still haven’t - in one of the hot fantasy subgenres and the book is averaging 13,000 page reads a day over the last week, which is 60 bucks or so a day right there. Unknown author, first book, minimal advertising. But there are a lot of rabid readers in certain genres in KU.


What are some of the hot fantasy sub-genres?


I just recently put all my books in KU (except for my reader magnet novella I give a away for free for mailing list subscription) and it has paid off for me. I was only making marginal sale for those books that were wide before.

Another thing to consider is that KU readers want the whole series. They rarely buy for book I and then read book II in KU. I think it’s important to keep that all or nothing principle in mind.


LitRPG, which is when someone from our world gets trapped in a world that functions like an RPG. Stats and tables and long descriptions of game mechanics are common.

Harem / reverse harem, where the story revolves around a main character and his or her romantic relationship with multiple other characters

Anything with dragons. Dragon riding, dragon shifting, dragon billionaire romance. Seriously, some people will buy any story with the word ‘dragon’ in the title

That’s what I’m seeing right now. I’m sure there are trends in the urban fantasy / paranormal romance section of fantasy that I’m not aware of.


We had actually talked about Amazon sales vs the others, and I agree with the percentage. Most of my sales come from Amazon Kindle. I sell the odd book elsewhere, but nothing that makes it worthwhile.

Can you still sell paperbacks if you’re in KU?


I looked into bookbub and was wondering if I’m reading their prices wrong. $800-4k?

Mine is a romance so I think it hits the hot genre list on Ku.

Wow, that is awesome and such a neat experiment. I’m glad to see that went so well for you. I hope if I try, my book catches on.

My only problem is that my publisher has control of the Amazon advertising. I don’t know if they advertise on there.


Yes, and they’re not restricted to Amazon. And you can sell audio books.


Probably about right, it varies by genre. My worldwide Bookbub in fantasy cost 750 or so, I think? I sold 1,559 copies of my book at .99 on Amazon the day of the sale, 411 the next day, 91 the day after that. I had been moving about 40 copies a day prior to that, so I suppose I can assume that around 2,000 copies came from the Bookbub. Now, that’s only 660 USD given the book was at .99, but I also sold 300 USD worth of books wide when I hadn’t been selling any, and I’ve seen great sell through this month to the sequel, which is 5.99. So Bookbub is definitely worth it - they’re just really hard to get, and basically impossible if you are Amazon exclusive.


I’ve always been exclusive to Amazon, even when not in KU.

When my book is new, I don’t enroll it in KU. Then when it gets old, I put it in KU. The reason is simple. My novels aren’t of the 150K-word kind (more like 75K–85K) so I make more on a sale than I do if someone reads the entire book in KU.

Currently, I have 3 novels for sale (under 2 pen names). Two are in KU and one is not. When I finish the next in the series of the one that’s not, I was going to enroll the first one in KU to drive sales for the new one (which will not be in KU).

I’ve never made more from KU in any month than from sales.

The only thing I’m questioning with that strategy is Amazon’s rankings. I wonder if I enroll it in KU at the onset if that would move it up the ranking which would generate more KU reads and more sales. I really don’t know.


Yes. However, I don’t know if that format also is restricted to Amazon or if that only applies to ebooks.


There’s no black or white answer to that. You’re going to have to do some research.

Who is your target audience? Where do they buy? How many books do their read and what are their buying habits? There are genres that suit KU while some do better wide. KU also tends to favour productive authors, although slower authors can do well depending on expectations for their niche.

When my books were with a publisher they were in KU and they did absolutely abysmally. For 4 books (each with a KENPC over 500) I had less than 1,000 reads/month. That’s the reason I was able to get the rights back, the publisher said it was a “dead” series and no one was reading it. They were right, kind of - it simply wasn’t a KU series. I took my series wide and made 6-figures that year.

These days Amazon US is only around 30% of my income, the other 70% is Kobo, B&N, iTunes and GP. I’m also selling all around the world. Amazon is the dominant retailer in the US but not in other countries. Keep in mind there are very few Amazon stores and dozens of countries can’t even access Amazon. KU is also very American-centric and my books aren’t :wink: One little feature of being wide that I love is the world map on the Kobo dashboard, it sticks pins in where you sell books. I find it amazing to see my books selling in South Africa, UAE, Phillipines, the Netherlands. I think I’ve sold in over 70 countries now just with Kobo.


Amazon is the bulk of my sales. I sell very few on other sites atm. Do you have a trick? :joy:

I write romance, which I hear does well on KU.


A lot of it depends on what you write and if there’s a KU audience for it. I’ve had moments in KU where I did well (usually the first time around - 90 days - but if I re-enrolled, it usually fell off quickly for me). I did notice a significant drop in sales, though, when I went into Select because my readers who had KU would read it that way rather than purchasing, where they normally purchased my books. Currently, I make more money out of Select than I did in Select, so I don’t ever plan to go back, but I know plenty of authors who swear by it. I say give it a try and see how you fare. Best of luck!