Back in July, Amazon started rolling out a new print component to their Kindle Direct Publishing program (which had previously only been for eBooks). Now, however, with a couple of clicks, you can self-publish print books as well.
So how does this differ from other print-on-demand book options out there? Well as it turns out, a lot. It’s easy and very no-frills. You upload your file, upload the cover and within 24 hours the book was done and approved. Here is what indie authors need to know:
Print book upload: You’ll need a PDF version of your book, so be sure and tell your interior designer to do that, because it’s different from the ePub or Mobi version you may have used on other platforms.
Cover upload: Again, really easy. The previewer will tell you where the problems are (if any) and most of the problems related to the cover are the cover bleed, and spine size. Once you upload the cover, you’ll want to do a book preview. Unlike with Createspace, there will be no proof book mailed to you (at least not as of this writing). See screenshot below:
ISBN: The system will ask you if you want to use your own ISBN or have it assigned, I just asked it to assign one, which it did at no cost. See:
Uploading book description and keywords: One thing I really like about using the KDP dashboard to publish a print book is that it lets you copy all of the information from your eBook over, including whatever work you’ve done on the keywords and page optimization, which is a fantastic plus for this system.
The idea that you can create a print book, right from your dashboard, is both fun and a little scary. When systems become as easy as this one is, you’re going to get a lot of crap submissions and bad books, but that’s a challenge we face now anyway. And you can’t use this system unless you have your eBook listed with KDP, though as of this writing, it does not have to be listed in KDP Select.
Here’s a screenshot of the book selection process, as you see you can opt for trim size and page colors. Also, much like what Createspace rolled out a few years ago (and what all POD publishers are now doing) you have the option to do a matte cover, too.
I think what Amazon is doing here may steal some business from Createspace, because it’s certainly a strong competitor with it easy upload and streamlined process. I do think though that Amazon has bigger goals in mind for the new print feature in the KDP dashboard. I think Amazon is going to start rolling out pricing specials – much like they do for KDP Select books. It’s harder now to discount print books. Most authors have to go through their publishers, and this often becomes tricky. By having the platform entirely on the Amazon site, it’s one-stop, one step and much easier.
How Print Books Help: If you have an eBook only, you may want to consider this route because print books do help the sale of eBooks. How? They show up in additional lists (print) and they help push the overall exposure of your book higher. Even though, as I’ve seen for our genre fiction authors, you may not sell a lot of print copies, you’ll still see a bump in eBook sales if you do this.
I found the process incredibly easy to convert eBooks into print, so if you’ve been flirting with the idea of print, you’ll definitely want to check this out. (You may want to check it out even if you’re an eBook rockstar!) Again, even if you don’t sell a ton of print books, it gives indie authors an easy option for book reviewers who prefer physical books, and lends another layer of credibility, which will aid in your book marketing efforts. There are certainly big changes afoot at Amazon and I look forward to seeing what happens!
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My book is in print format through a boutique pub, but I own the rights. Does Amazon have a problem with keeping that book in place when you do a print pub off your kindle format?
Linda Jane hi there – I would ask them. Contact Amazon via your Author Central page and have then call you to find out, because I’m not sure. But I think, based on the other comment, this matters a whole lot to them.
Jane I just found this on the Amazon site!
“If you’ve published your paperback on a platform other than CreateSpace, you can publish it on KDP by setting up a new paperback title on your KDP Bookshelf. On the Paperback Details page, enter the same metadata used elsewhere for your book. Any major changes to book files or metadata for the print version would make the book a new edition, which requires a new ISBN.
To maintain your Amazon ratings and reviews, enter the exact ISBN and imprint name of your book on the Paperback Content page.
To make sure that only the newest version of your book is available for purchase, you’ll want to remove or disable your title from its former publication platform.”
A big issue with going this route is losing the ability to purchase author copies, proof copies and there is no longer an expanded distribution option.
Below is from the KDP site when going through the motions of making one of my CS paperbacks a print version through the KDP site:
“Re-publishing this book on KDP will disable it on CreateSpace and cannot be reversed. Your book will be available throughout this process (i.e. you will not lose any sales). KDP does not currently support Expanded Distribution, Proofs and Author (wholesale) copies. If these features are important to you, we do not recommend republishing this book on KDP at this time. If you continue, you will be redirected to log in to your CreateSpace account to verify your ownership of this title. You will then be returned here to continue setting up your title. After verification, we will transfer your CreateSpace book’s metadata and book files. The Paperback Details section (page 1) will be updated with your CreateSpace metadata. Several fields won’t be editable because they’re required to match your 13-digit ISBN to comply with industry standards. Learn More about republishing your title on KDP.
Verify ownership and permanently republish this book on KDP.”
RJ yes I agree – it has issues for sure. Buying your own copies is also a big one! I wonder what happens if you do this in reverse, I mean publish it on KDP and then repub it on Createspace. I’m going to ask them.
Hi – thanks for this article. I have been helping authors through the KDP process — you know – you actually CAN purchase multiple copies of your book. If you go into your KDP account, and look at “YOUR BOOKS” – next to your title on the far right (to the right of a box that says “Promote and Advertise” is a tiny gray box with “…” in it — if you mouse over that box you’ll see a list of options, one of which is “Request Author Copies” — you can order up to 999 books at printing cost (plus shipping).
What bothers me about Amazon, however, is that, if you order a printed proof copy of your book, Amazon puts up a public web page that says you can order a “PROOF” copy, and if you search for the title of your book (with author name if necessary) in Google, the first page that comes up is the FREE Proof book page on Amazon. Why do they do that? Is it some kind of glitch? I haven’t contacted Amazon yet to ask about that. I have helped 3 authors whom this has happened to through KDP. Hope it is remedied soon!
Grace, thank you so much for sharing this – I appreciate your feedback. I would love to hear what you learn from Amazon regarding the PROOF piece and hope you’ll stop back to let me know!