Amazon today introduced its latest attempt to tempt self-publishers to its Kindle platform, announcing KDP Select, a new $6 million annual fund dedicated to independent authors and publishers.

The new fund rewards self-published Kindle authors and publishers if they make their books exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, by entering titles into the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and entitling them to earn a share of the $6 million fund.

Submitting a single book or entire catalog, the fund already has 31 of the top 50 Kindle Direct Publishers (KDP) enrolled with 129 of their titles. The royalty payment from the fund depends on how well a title fares in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Each payment is based on the share of the total borrows a KDP title gets.

Amazon uses the following example:

If total borrows of all participating KDP Select books are 100,000 in December and an author’s book was borrowed 1,500 times, they will earn $7,500 in additional royalties from KDP Select in December.

The Internet retailer has set aside $500,000 for this month, allowing enrolled titles to remain available for sale in the Kindle Store, enabling them to receive their regular royalties on top.

Screen Shot 2011 12 08 at 14.27.31 520x80 Amazon launches $6m fund for self publishers, looks to expand Kindle Owners Lending Library

During the 90-day exclusive period, Amazon will also provide a new set of promotional tools, one of them being the opportunity to promote their titles for free for up to five days every ninety days.

Amazon lists the advantages of its new initiative on its website:

  • Reach a new audience – Distribute books through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and reach the growing number of US Amazon Prime members.
  • Earn a whole new source of royalties – Earn your share of $500,000 in December and at least $6 million throughout 2012 when readers borrow your books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
  • Promote your book for free to readers worldwide – The newly launched Promotions Manager tool will allow you to directly control the promotion of free books.
  • Instant feedback – Check real-time performance of your books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The new fund is a sure shot at traditional publishers, further rewarding authors and self-publishers with royalties for helping to boost the profile of its Kindle Lending Library. Partners are able to enroll in KDP Select regardless of which royalty program they belong to on the KDP, but unlike other publishers will not be paid royalties upfront.