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!