MY EXPERIENCE WITH KDP PAPERBACK PUBLISHING (BETA)
There is a new option with Kindle direct publishing to add a print book along with your ebook through their site. Formerly, most people would add a print version of their book via CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon. Now you have the option to do this directly via KDP Paperback (beta).
I have no experience with CreateSpace, but prior to deciding to go with KDP Paperback (beta) I had looked at this option. In summary, CreateSpace is a separate company, although owned by Amazon. You need two accounts, one for CreateSpace and one for KDP, and if you are entering tax and personal information for payments, you will need to do all this twice.
It’s my understanding that not all KDP users have the ‘Print Book’ option yet, but that may have changed over the last couple of months (See KDP Print – Amazon is Beta-Testing a Combined Kindle and POD Dashboard). If you don’t have the KDP print option you may not be able to open some of the links supplied below. I really hope they do roll it out soon if they haven’t already, I found it easy to use and was delighted with the finished book.
FORMATTING THE BOOK CONTENTS
In my last article FORMATTING A PRINT BOOK, I covered the details of preparing my manuscript using the templates supplied by KDP Paperback (beta).
THE BOOK COVER
I had my cover created by a designer using 99 Designs (a topic for a future post). Whether you create one yourself or use a designer, here are some considerations:
- You have a full wrap opportunity, so why not take advantage of it and select an image that goes all the way around.
- You need to be mindful of the space for the binding…and the space for the binding will depend on:
- How many pages you have
- The font and line spacing applied
- The trim size of the book
- Whether you use white or cream paper!
- Here is the Amazon guide…Paperback Book Cover (Beta)
Cover v format v trim size…which comes first: My cover was designed before I got into the details of formatting…not the best way round as the ebook page count can be very different to the print book page count depending on the trim size…but a lesson learned. I definitely recommend you format your manuscript for your preferred trim size before you get the cover design finalised, and better still, before you start designing in case you need to try an alternative to your preferred size as the picture can look very different.
My cover is 6″x9″ which is a large book, and if your book has a smaller number of pages this can look a little slim. At 320 pages on the 6″x9″ format mine looks fine, but at 75k word count you might want to consider a smaller book trim size. Once you have your final number of pages, the binding needs to be adjusted based on the page count / colour option you select.
The above amazon guide has details of the correct cover size and binding size for each book format.
CREATING THE NEW TITLE
When creating a print book on your KDP virtual bookshelf, you have the option to add the Print version to the existing ebook (Select the ‘Add bar’ next to your existing ebook rather than the big ‘Add’ button at the top of the bookshelf page), and this copies all the book information across – bonus! All you need to add is the new ISBN if you have your own, and to select the print options.
KDP PRINT STYLE OPTIONS and UPLOADING YOUR BOOK
The main print options are:
- Trim Size: There are numerous book size options, as I mentioned above I went with 6″x9″, which is fairly large, but the most common. Depending on your word count and whether your book is fiction or non-fiction, this is an important consideration and very specific to your own book.
- Page colour: White / Cream: A personal choice, but fiction is more commonly cream, and non-fiction is more commonly white.
- Cover finish: Matt / Gloss: From reading the forums, matt is a new offering both for CreateSpace and KDP print, and everyone seems to love it. The general feedback was that the matt looked more professional, but again this is a personal choice. I went with matt…and love it!
- Bleed: For books with images or drawings that extend to the edge of the page.
Uploading: Once you have selected your print options, got your cover ready, and your manuscript formatted, you can upload. Both the cover and the manuscript (recommended) are uploaded in PDF format (unlike the ebook which takes a JPG for the cover and word, mobi etc for the manuscript).
See Amazon help on Supported Paperback File Types (Beta). It’s worth noting that PDF is not recommended for ebooks.
It is pretty easy to upload the manuscript and cover, and if you have done the ebook version it is all the same. Just select the file and click to upload, and you are ready to preview your book.
KDP PRINT PREVIEWER
Just like with the ebook there is a print book previewer, and the usual spelling check on the manuscript. The previewer here is a little more detailed and throws up all kinds of checks and warnings…I guess the greater consequence of getting your print book wrong! In particular the cover and binding size. I uploaded several times before I was happy…and that was fine by me. You have to press ‘approve’ before you can proceed to publish, or return to the upload page if you need to tweak it. My advice is take your time, have a good browse around the book, zoom in on the font, and make sure everything looks good before you hit approve and move on to publish.
KDP PRINT COSTS
Before you get commission, there is a printing cost, and, Amazon set a minimum sales price. So even if the printing costs x, you can only sell your book for a minimum of printing cost /royalty %. It’s not huge, but just something to be aware of. Unlike an ebook that you can give away for free, the print book minimum sale price is the printing costs + extra. See Paperback Pricing (beta) for more details. From looking at the overall royalty received via CreatSpace for the same trim x page count, my book royalty earnings is exactly the same for sales through Amazon.
Author printing discount: At the moment there is no option to print your own book at less than this minimum cost. However, on CreateSpace I understand you can print your own copy(s) for just the print cost and the shipping. Since I am not intending to print a large number for distribution myself at this stage, I was Okay with the extra couple of dollars for my own copy (and since I live in Australia I get a hefty slug on the exchange rate and shipping anyway – we do not have a printing centre here). If you want to print a batch for friends, family, or personal distribution this is worth considering before you chose KDP Paperback (beta). I am hoping they provide this feature in the future on the KDP one, but will have to wait and see…but definitely worth considering before you commit.
Update Aug 2018: You can now order up to 5 proof copies via Amazon, however, these have a watermark, which I believe is different to CreateSpace.
Finally, as part of the listing, you have an option to let paperback purchasers have an ebook version for free or at a nominal 99 cent.
TIME TO PUBLISH
When I published my ebook it was available within a few hours.
The print book took several days before I could order it. It was reviewed within a few hours, appeared on the site but independent of the ebook the next day, and then finally sat in a status of ‘not available’ for 2 days. Once it reached this ‘not available’ status the two books were already connected.
I found KDP Paperback (beta) easy to use. There was plenty of guidance along the way in terms of formatting the manuscript and the cover. And now that I have a copy, I am delighted with the result!
Would I use KDP Paperback again? Absolutely. The worst part was the manuscript formatting, which took me a good day and half, but much of this was pausing to research the various options along the way.
Having no prior account with CreateSpace, publishing both versions of my book with KDP made the job easy, and I can now see all my earnings and sales stats in one place.
Finally, if you like the sound of having a single account with all your books in one place but have previously created your print book on CreateSpace, you can now Move your Existing CreateSpace print books, to KDP Print (Beta).
If you have experience or insights on using the KDP Paperback (beta), I would love to hear what you think!