So you’ve decided to expand beyond eBooks?
In addition to eBooks which have lesser and simpler formatting, Amazon KDP also allows you to create a print version such as a paperback of your book.
Here is the step-by-step guide on how to create a paperback on Amazon.
Do check out my step-by-step guide on how you can publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon KDP~
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1. Create Paperback On Amazon KDP
You probably already have an account at Amazon KDP since you’ve published some eBooks. Here’s how you can create a paperback.
Under Bookshelf, you can create a paperback from the “+ Create” button at the top or “+ Create paperback” button at the Kindle eBook.
I did the latter because I wanted Amazon to know that these 2 books are linked, that they’re the eBook and paperback versions of the same story.
Bear in mind that the book’s details need to match completely to link the eBook and paperback. This includes the title, author, series etc.
2. Fill Up Paperback Details
Amazon will ask for basic information about your book. If you already have the eBook version ready, you can keep a window or tab of it open and just copy the information between them. Or if you click the “+ Create paperback” button at the Kindle eBook, most of the information should be duplicated from the eBook version already.
- Book Title & Subtitle
- Add Series Details
- Edition Number
- Description: Ensure that your book blurb is compelling. Check out my blog post for blurb writing tips~
- Publishing Rights: Choose whether you own the copyright & publishing rights or if it’s a public domain work.
- Primary Audience: State whether your book contains sexually explicit images or title. You can also specify the reading age (optional).
- Primary Marketplace
- Categories: Up to 3 categories. Do specify if it’s a low-content book or/and large-print book.
- Keywords: Up to 7 keywords only
- Publication Date
- Release Date
Amazon recently allowed print books to schedule a release. Previously, you only have the option to release now. Although there still isn’t a pre-order option, I think this new feature is better than nothing 😉
There are 2 sides to this. You either choose to release your paperback on the same day as your eBook or release your paperback earlier than your eBook. The former ensures that everyone gets the book on the same day. But the latter allows you to send ARC print copies to your street team, influencers and avid book lovers so they can review your book before your eBook officially launches. So it really depends on your goals and needs.
3. Upload Paperback Content
Next, let’s move to the exciting part… the content of your paperback.
For Print ISBN, you can either get a free ISBN from Amazon KDP or use your own ISBN.
When using your own ISBN, do ensure that the imprint is the same as the one that you used to purchase your ISBN. Amazon KDP will automatically verify the imprint to ensure authenticity. Bear in mind that every country’s ISBN agency is different. The official source of ISBNs in the United States is Bowker where a single ISBN is priced at $125 while 10 ISBNs are priced at $295. In my country, I can get free ISBNs by applying to the library board. So do research thoroughly and figure out how you can get ISBNs in your country.
Note that ISBNs are especially important for print books, including paperbacks and hardcovers. They’re used to generate barcodes which are essential for cataloging of books in libraries and bookstores.
Here are the print options that you can choose from
- Ink and Paper Type: Cream paper is mostly used for fiction
- Trim Size
- Bleed Settings: Choose bleed if you have images, background color or graphics reaching the edges of the page
- Paperback Cover Finish: This is really up to you. I strongly suggest that you get 2 proof copies (matte and glossy) so you can compare which looks best for your book.
NOTE: You can’t change Ink and Paper Type and Trim Size once you publish your book. So don’t rush to click that “Publish Your Paperback Book” button until you’ve really confirmed your print options!
You’ll need to upload your paperback manuscript file. Since it’s a print book, I strongly suggest that you upload a PDF. If you’re scheduling a release, do note that you won’t be able to update your manuscript file or book details, change a scheduled release or order author copies beginning 5 days before the release date. Add a reminder to your calendar if you have to!
For Paperback Book Cover, you can use Cover Creator or upload your PDF cover. If you’re uploading a book cover, you can state whether your book cover includes a barcode. If your cover doesn’t include a barcode, Amazon will add a barcode for you~
Next, answer the AI-Generated Content question. With the rise of ChatGPT, there seems to be an influx of books with AI-generated content. I’m not really sure how Amazon is using this answer though…
Lastly, launch the Book Previewer. Amazon includes this two-page view with gridlines so you can check if the text and images stay within the margins. Remember to do so for both exterior and interior. Check if the text stays within your book’s spine, the blurb doesn’t get covered by the barcode, the page numbers are within margins etc.
Once you approve this book preview, Amazon will list the printing cost of this book across various marketplaces (especially useful when you’re ordering proof and author copies).
I would advise that you save this as draft and order proof copies first before publishing your paperback. For me, I ordered both matte and glossy proof copies just to compare the book cover. Note that you have to receive the proof copy before ordering another proof copy with a different cover finish.
I saw on the /selfpublish subreddit that someone added a proof copy to their cart then changed the cover finish and added the second proof copy to their cart. But when they received the proof copies, both of them were matte (the latest changes made to the book).
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4. Set Paperback Pricing
We’re finally at the last step~
Select the territories for which you hold distribution rights. Essentially, it just means whether you have distribution rights worldwide or only for individual territories.
Primary Marketplace will be what you chose previously.
Finally, let’s set your paperback pricing!
Royalty is fixed at 60% for paperbacks. Amazon also suggests a minimum and maximum list price. The minimum list price is calculated based on your book’s printing cost. It ensures that the royalties earned are always enough to cover the cost of printing your book. As you type out different list prices, you can see the exact royalty amount you’ll get.
Remember how I mentioned having a window open for your eBook version? Now’s the chance to have it side by side as you set your paperback pricing. I think the bare minimum when pricing your paperback is that the royalty needs to be higher than your eBook. Firstly, you probably spend some money to create a back cover for the paperback. Secondly, formatting the paperback either costs money (if you hire a professional) or time and effort (if you do it yourself). So I strongly recommend that your paperback royalty should be higher than your eBook royalty. Do check out my published article on how to price your eBooks and print books~
You can choose to manually edit the list price for all marketplaces or just base it on the USD price.
Next, you can choose whether to enroll your paperback in Expanded Distribution. Enabling Expanded Distribution means that you make your books available for purchase by bookstores, online retailers, libraries and academic institutions. Note that the royalty rate is fixed at 40%. There are indie authors who use IngramSpark for this because bookstores don’t like buying from Amazon. Bear in mind that IngramSpark has 3 book returns options:
- Non-returnable (don’t accept returns from booksellers)
- Yes – Deliver (deliver returned books to you)
- Yes – Destroy (returned books will be shipped back to IngramSpark and destroyed)
For me, I didn’t enable Expanded Distribution in Amazon KDP or use IngramSpark because 1) royalty is too low 2) IngramSpark’s website is not user-friendly 3) IngramSpark’s shipping costs are high because of where I live. But everyone’s situation, needs and goals are different. So do research, see what you’re comfortable with and decide for yourself what’s best for you.
As mentioned earlier, I strongly recommend that you request a proof copy to see and feel how your book is. You can still make changes while it’s still a draft. When you’re satisfied, click the “Publish Your Paperback Book” button and you’re done~! 😆
Now It’s Your Turn
So how was your experience when publishing a paperback on Amazon KDP?
The process is quite straightforward but it takes up to 72 hours for your book to be available for purchase on Amazon. You’ll just have to be patient 🙂
I strongly encourage that you get your formatting right. If you want your book to appear professional, formatting plays a key role. Font should be legible. Sufficient line spacing creates room for readers to breathe and greatly improves readability. You can always hire a professional to get this done for you~