UPDATE (5/15): Two short stories referenced in this post are no longer available individually (“Whatever Happened…” & “Outbreak One”) and are instead available in the collected edition, The Walker Chronicles: Tales from The Dying of the Light.

Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has announced the new Kindle Select Program today.

Effectively, what they’re offering is to allow books that publishers select to be a part of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. This library, open to Amazon Prime customers, allows Kindle owners to check out books for reading on their Kindle devices, and only Kindles. So no iPhones, Blackberry’s, Cloud Reader, etc.

I’m a big proponent of lending books, because I believe that the buzz that lending generates far outweighs the minor cost of the book being lent. Especially when it comes to ebooks, which don’t cost me anything once I’ve formatted them.  Plus, lending like this sticks in the traditional publisher’s craw, and I’m a fan of anything that does that, too.

Publishers still get paid when books are downloaded from the Lending Library, by the way:

Your share of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Fund is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles. For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000 and the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000 in December and if your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 in December.

Here’s the catch: the books that are part of the Lending Library must be exclusively licensed to Amazon for 90 days. That’s right, no Nook, Kobo, iBooks, GoodReads or Google Books. Just Kindle.

On the face of it, that sounds horrible. You’re really asking me to put all my eggs in one basket?

In reality though, it’s probably not that bad a deal, at least for me. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I track my sales very closely, and have tons of facts and figures to back up whatever claims I make about them. In this case, those numbers come in very handy when I look at the market share for my sales in ebook format.

What percentage of my total ebook sales since May would you guess have been on platforms other than Kindle? 5%? 10% 20%?

1.68%, or around $115. That’s for total sales on Nook (1.29%), Kobo (0.08%), iBooks (0.25%), Google (0.06%) and GoodReads (0%). And the numbers for short stories are even lower.

So I’ve decided to test the waters with those same short stories. As of today, my 4 short stories (The Last Ginger, Outbreak One: Washington Territory, Wave, Wind & Blade and Whatever Happened to Thomas J Reynolds?) will now be available exclusively on Kindle.

But wait, there’s more!

Kindle Select also allows you up to 5 days per month (consecutively or separately) to promote your book by making it FREE. And we all know how much people like free stuff. So I’m testing again with the short stories, making them all free for one week each. I may change later to “Free Fiction Fridays” or something similar, but for now, here’s the schedule for the freebies:

December 9th – 11th:          Outbreak One: Washington Territory   (brand-new!)

December 12th – 16th:       Whatever Happened to Thomas J. Reynolds?:

December 19th – 23rd:      Wave, Wind & Blade:

December 26th – 30th:     The Last Ginger:

So be sure to check those out, if you haven’t already. And feel free to leave a review!

I’ll follow up here in 90 days with the results of the test, and whether or not I’ll be moving to a Kindle-only eformat for my books.