A lot of people dream of becoming an author, but only a few achieve that dream. One of the main barriers that prevent people from achieving this dream is publishing.
Getting your work published by big publishing companies is no easy task and doing everything yourself is also a challenge.
Fortunately, there are companies out there that provide self-publishing services to help small companies and individual authors to publish their books.
One such company that offers this is Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The online retail giant had an earlier self-publishing company called CreateSpace, but they merged it with KDP in late 2018.
The company created a Print on Demand division and it offers almost everything that CreateSpace offered while making improvements where the latter fell short.
Is KDP Print, though, a legitimate company that offers a self-publishing service to people who needs it or is it just a scam that you should avoid?
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KDP Is A Legit Company That Offers A Self-Publishing Service
KDP is a company that offers a self-publishing service to individuals and publishers. Founded in 2007, it is the e-book publishing unit of online retail giant Amazon.
It also has a Print on Demand service, where authors are allowed to self-publish their book in paperback and sell it on Amazon. This is similar to what CreateSpace was offering.
From the looks of it, KDP is a legitimate self-publishing company that can help authors and small publishers to publish their work.
The fact that it is owned by Amazon is a huge indicator that the company is legit and can provide publishing services.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any issues or concerns with KDP. Probably one of the biggest issues with this company is that there are restrictions when it comes to setting the price.
KDP also publishes an e-book in only one file format. I’ll discuss these issues in more detail as we progress further in this review.
Who Uses KDP?
KDP is designed for individual authors and small publishers looking for a self-publishing service for their books. The company offers a variety of tools and services that you will need to make publishing your book simple and easy.
It’s also owned by Amazon, so you can have your book listed on the online retail giant’s different international websites, giving you a wide exposure.
They also offer expanded distribution, which means more distributors can gain access to your work. And the best part for all is that using KDP’s service is free for both e-book and paperback.
I’ll discuss in more detail how this opportunity works and how the merger between CreateSpace and KDP improved it.
How Does KDP Work?
Kindle Direct Publishing is a company that offers a self-publishing service to anyone who may need it. Owned by Amazon, the company provides all the tools you’ll need to help you publish and distribute your book.
The first step to self-publishing your book is to create an account. You’ll use your Amazon account to sign up to KDP.
You’ll also need to provide important details like your name, address, and phone number. Your bank name, account number, and routing number will also be needed, as well as your tax information.
After setting up your account, the next step is to provide the details of the book that you’ll be publishing like the title of the book, the name of the author, and a brief description.
Once the book details have been taken care of, the next step is the book cover and formatting of your manuscript. KDP offers a variety of tools that can help you create the cover and format of your book, whether it’s e-book or paperback and has templates available to make it easier.
Once that is taken care of, the last step is to determine the rights and pricing. For the rights, you get to select the territories for which you will hold distribution rights. You can choose worldwide, where everyone in the world can access your book or certain individual territories.
It is important to remember that publishing of the paperback book is not yet available for titles written in Japanese.
As for the royalties, KDP’s royalty for paperback versions is 60% off the list price, minus the printing costs and the applicable taxes.
For the e-book, two options are given, 35% royalty or 70% royalty. Now, to get the 70% royalty option, there are several things that your e-book will need.
First, your book content should not be in the public domain. Second, it should not contain a lot of graphic and images since the company will deduct delivery cost if you go for the 70% royalty.
Lastly, the pricing of your e-book would need to be between $2.99 and $9.99. If you meet all of the criteria, you can get the option for 70% royalty. But if you don’t meet all, you can only get the 35% option.
The last thing you need to set up is the pricing for your book. For paperback books, you can choose a territory and set a list price in the currency of the territory.
KDP will automatically convert the book into the currency of other territories that it’s available in. You can also choose to set a specific amount by territory and available currency.
For the e-book, the two options to set price are also available. But KDP adds a 3rd option, and its to use the KDP Price Support.
This feature will allow you to see the impact of changes in KDP book prices on a number of the book sold and author earnings.
It is important to remember that KDP has a minimum and maximum price that you need to follow. The minimum price you can set is calculated based on the cost of printing your book.
As for the maximum, you can set your price to as high as $250, €250, or ¥30,000. For the schedule of payment, the company will pay your royalty, 60 days after its earned.
For example, your books were bought in July, you can expect to get your money in September.
What KDP Offers that CreateSpace Doesn’t And What Are People Saying about This Self-Publishing Company?
As mentioned above, Amazon has merged CreateSpace with KDP and has enhanced some of the services offered.
Amazon announced that they have added Extended Distribution in KDP, as well as the option to sell in Amazon.ca so that the distribution is on par with CreateSpace.
But aside from the enhancements, KDP also has other features that CreateSpace doesn’t. One of the options is the ability to purchase ads to promote paperbacks on Amazon.com.
The self-publishing service also offers interior templates in Word, as well as a Cover Creator Tool. You are also allowed to track your sales and downloads for e-books and prints in one convenient place.
KDP also offers several nom-standard trim size option for your book, something that CreateSpace doesn’t offer.
Lastly, the company also doesn’t take down an existing book, while a newer version is awaiting approval. Now, you won’t have to worry about your current book being taken down while you’re in the process of publishing a newer version.
Despite all of these enhancements and good features, there are still issues about KDP. Chief among the issues is that there are restrictions when it comes to setting the price for your book.
The maximum amount that you can charge for your book is only $250. Though this is good value for a lot of books, some might feel that this is low for the book that they created.
But the real limiting factor when it comes to setting the price for your paperback is that you cannot set it $0, meaning placing a book for free.
The minimum amount that the company requires is calculated based on the cost of printing your book. I understand the reason for not allowing free books on the site as publishing them will cost money.
But for a lot of authors, this can be limiting since there are various good reasons why they’ll make certain books available for free.
Another issue with KDP is that their e-book version is only formatted in one file formatting. This is an issue because it limits the devices or apps that readers can use when it comes to reading the e-book.
What I Like about KDP
Now that we know what KDP is and what it is offering, it’s time to discuss what I like about this opportunity.
- The first thing that I like about KDP is the fact that you can use it for free. Yes, you don’t have to pay anything to use this self-publishing service, as any cost that will occur when publishing and printing your book will be deducted from the sale of the book. This is great since it means you only need to pay for the cost of the publication when you make a sale.
- I also like that KDP is available worldwide, this service can benefit a lot of people from all over the world. You just need to use your Amazon account to start your KDP account.
- It’s also good that KDP has expanded its distribution list, which means you don’t just have to rely on Amazon and its websites to distribute your book.
What I Dislike about KDP
Of course, there are also things about KDP that I don’t like.
- One of the things that I don’t like about KDP is the fact that there’s a limit to their pricing option. You cannot go beyond $250 and you cannot list your book with $0 and make it free. Though this might not be a big issue for a lot of people, some might feel limited by this.
- I also don’t like that the e-book version can only be formatted in one book file format. This limits the device and apps that people can use to read the e-book.
Do I Recommend KDP?
After learning more about KDP and what it can bring to the table, I would say that this is a self-publishing company that I would recommend.
Though the pricing option and e-book format are limited, these negatives pale in comparison to the positives that the company offers.
It’s free to use, as the company will just deduct the publication cost on sales of your book. Plus, it’s backed by Amazon, which means your book is exposed greatly all over the world.
The company captures 80% of U.S. e-book sales and a big portion of the global book sales. This shows that a lot of people look to Amazon when it comes to purchasing books.
So listing your book there will increase its chances of getting sold and making you money.