Do you love to write your own stories, but wish you had an audience to share them with? Getting your book published can be a difficult and expensive process — but not with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on Amazon.
With KDP, you can publish your own ebook or paperback on Amazon for free, where it will be available digitally to the millions of Amazon shoppers who use Kindle readers. With Amazon’s free print-on-demand service, you can also offer your customers a physical paperback copy of your book.
Ready to get started? Let’s go over:
- What is Kindle Direct Publishing?
- Kindle Direct Publishing royalties
- How to advertise your book
- How to sign up for a KDP account
- How to create Medium Content Books on Amazon KDP
What is Kindle Direct Publishing?
Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is Amazon’s self-publishing platform that allows authors to sell their books to Amazon’s massive audience — without the hassle of going through a traditional publishing company.
With KDP, authors can create ebooks and paperback books, all without any upfront costs or inventory orders. On top of that, KDP gives authors full rights to their books, something that a traditional publishing house typically won’t do.
If you are an author of any kind, KDP is a great way to get your books published and listed for sale — for free! You won’t pay fees to Amazon until you make a sale — but we’ll go over that in a later section.
What are the benefits of KDP?
At this point, I’m sure you’ve deduced the biggest benefit — zero cost to publish and list your book. But let’s go over more reasons why you should sign up for KDP.
- You can publish ebooks and paperback books. With KDP, you have the option of publishing a Kindle ebook or paperback book — or both! If you choose to sell a paperback book, Amazon will print your book and ship it out to your customer for you. No need to purchase bulk inventory ahead of time.
- No upfront costs in exchange for a revenue share. While it is free to list your ebooks for sale on Amazon KDP, you will split the revenue of the ebook sale with Amazon. How large that share is depends on which royalty option you choose and how large your ebook file is. I’ll explain that more soon.
- You can publish as many ebooks as you want. Under one account, you can publish as many ebooks or paperback books as you can write, even under different pen names and categories.
- You can buy your own paperback books wholesale through KDP. If you would like to have some physical copies of your book on hand to sell or give to friends, you can place a wholesale book order within your KDP dashboard. Amazon will then print the number of copies you ordered and ship them to you — you’ll pay the printing cost for each book.
- Your books will have a sales rank on the Kindle Store just like Amazon.com. This is great news — as a small author, you’ll have the same opportunity as larger, better-known authors to rise in rank and make sales.
- Sell worldwide to Amazon’s massive audience. Obviously, a major benefit to self-publishing on Amazon is the fact that you’ll have access to millions of Kindle users. As long as you own the rights to your book in each country it’s sold in (which Amazon refers to as territories on its KDP help pages), you can list your book for sale across Amazon’s global marketplaces. See the royalty help page for more information.
What kind of content can you publish with KDP?
According to the KDP help page, content typically published using KDP includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Book Series
- Children’s Books
Kindle Direct Publishing Royalties
When you publish ebooks through KDP, you will get paid in royalties — both you and Amazon receive a percentage of the revenue.
There are two royalty rates to choose from: 35% and 70%.
70% Royalty Option
I know what you’re thinking: well, obviously, you should go with the 70% royalty option, right?
It’s not that simple. In order to qualify for the 70% royalty rate on Amazon KDP, you must meet certain criteria:
- Pricing. Your ebook will need to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99
- Distribution fee. You will need to pay a distribution fee, or “delivery fee,” for each purchase, which will depend on your ebook’s digital file size. Amazon charges $0.15 per megabyte for each book sold between $2.99 and $9.99. Amazon compresses ebook files, so your fee may not be as hefty as you think. You can try out their fee calculator on the pricing page after you list your book.
- Physical books. If you sell physical copies, the ebook price must be at least 20% below the paperback’s list price.
- Copyright. You must own the copyright to the ebook. If the book is public domain, you cannot receive a 70% royalty.
- International sales. Your books must be enrolled in KDP Select to be eligible for 70% royalty on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India.
Here are the requirements for the 35% royalty rate option:
- If your book is priced below $2.99 or above $9.99, you will receive a 35% royalty.
- You will not pay a delivery fee when choosing this option.
- 35% royalties make sense for large books such as textbooks, cookbooks, or picture books with big file sizes.
Amazon also places list price requirements on ebooks published through KDP.
List Price Requirements for Amazon.com (USD)
|Royalty Rate Option||Minimum List Price||Maximum List Price|
|35%||Less than 3 MB||$0.99||$200.00|
|3 MB to 10 MB||$1.99||$200.00|
|Over 10 MB||$2.99||$200.00|
The royalty structure for paperback books is different.
KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on paperbacks sold on Amazon. Amazon will then subtract the printing costs from your royalty, which depend on page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace your paperback was ordered from.
To figure out exactly how much you will be paid for your paperback book, you can use Amazon’s printing cost calculator or this handy equation:
(Royalty rate x list price) – printing costs = royalty
For example, your list price is $15. Your book is a 333-page paperback with black ink sold on the US marketplace:
(0.60 x $15) – $4.85 = $4.15
The $4.15 is what you will be paid for that sale.
How to advertise your book
Luckily, you don’t just have to list your book and hope it sells. Amazon offers cool marketing tools to get your books in front of potential buyers. One of them is Amazon Advertising.
If you sell physical products on Amazon.com, you should be familiar with Sponsored Product ads, a type of Amazon pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
Here’s how it works:
- You set up an ad campaign in which you target specific keywords relevant to your book — keywords your intended audience will likely use in the Amazon search bar.
- Then, when a customer searches for those keywords on Amazon, your ad may appear within the search results, where the customer can click through to your book’s product detail page. With PPC, you bid on clicks for those targeted keywords — the better your bid, the more likely your ad will appear.
For example, say you published a comic book about a new superhero through KDP. You’d want to target keywords such as “comic books”, “superhero comic book”, and “superhero stories”. With the right bid, your ad could appear within search results — or even on product detail pages for similar superhero comic books.
This is a great way to get your new book title out in front of potential readers who are already interested in buying the kinds of books you write.
READ MORE | 2023 Amazon Advertising Guide for Sellers
KDP Select is another way ebook sellers can get noticed on Amazon. This program is optional and only eligible for ebooks, not paperbacks.
According to Amazon, “KDP Select is a free Kindle book program that gives you the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money at no additional cost. All authors and publishers, regardless of where they live, are eligible to enroll their Kindle books in KDP Select.”
While the “reach more readers and earn more money at no additional cost” part sounds great, there is a catch.
Benefits of KDP Select:
- Higher royalties in select countries. Make your Kindle book eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico. If not enrolled in KDP Select, your royalty will be 35% for these countries.
- Access to additional promotional tools. Kindle Countdown Deals: Only KDP Select authors can limited-time discounts on their ebooks to customers on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Customers will see both the regular price and the promotional price, along with a countdown clock for the discount.
- Free Book Promotions. Authors can offer their book for free for up to 5 days out of each 90-day KDP Select enrollment period. While you won’t earn royalties through a Free Book Promotion, it can help you earn a ton of downloads and reviews and build social proof around your book to entice paying customers when your promotion ends.
- Kindle Unlimited. Your book will be enrolled into Kindle Unlimited, which allows customers of this program to read an unlimited amount of books for a monthly $9.99 fee. You won’t be paid the usual royalty price through Kindle Unlimited — you’ll be paid per page that the customer reads from your book. This may seem counterintuitive, but it can pay off. While Kindle Unlimited users may not be willing to pay for a book by an indie author outright, they can try a few pages, then get hooked, and leave a social proof-boosting review.
Drawbacks of KDP Select:
- Potentially lower earnings than from book sales. Since Kindle Unlimited royalties are paid per page read, you may not make as much money as you would if someone bought your book outright.
- Your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon. There is a minimum 90-day enrollment period during which your book can only be sold on the Amazon Kindle store—not your own website, on another marketplace, or even given away for free.
How to sign up for a KDP account
With KDP, you get to list an ebook for free AND create your own print-on-demand paperback version. This all sounds pretty great, right? If you’re an author of any kind, it only makes sense to offer your books on Amazon through KDP.
Signing up for an account is very simple, and you can have your own ebook published in no time.
First, go to the Kindle Direct Publishing website and click “Sign up.”
Once you fill in some basic information, you can begin uploading your books!
To start, go to “Create a New Title” and choose Kindle eBook or Paperback.
Next, you will fill in information about your book such as Title, Edition, Author, Description, Publishing Rights, and Keywords.
In the next section, you will upload your Manuscript, eBook Cover, eBook Preview, and an optional Kindle eBook ISBN.
Make sure you read the KDP Content Guidelines before uploading your ebook.
Next is pricing your book. In this section, you will choose if you want to enroll in KDP Select, choose the territories where you want to list your book, and select your royalty rate and price.
Under “Royalty and Pricing”, you can choose the 35% plan or the 70% plan. Amazon will show you what your royalty will be based on your list price.
Remember, if your price is over $9.99, then you are only eligible for the 35% royalty.
After you fill in all this information, your book is ready to be published! Just like that, your very own authored ebook or paperback will be available for sale on Amazon.
How to create Medium Content Books on Amazon KDP
Creating low content books for Amazon KDP used to be a fantastic way to publish books on Amazon KDP. They’re easy to make with lots of different niches to target. However, low content books have become extremely saturated over the years.
Check out our new video on YouTube that explains how you can create MEDIUM content books to publish on Amazon KDP. We go step-by-step in showing you how to find a niche with high demand, low competition, and high royalties!
You don’t need to be a writer to launch a popular book on Amazon, you just need to know how to do your research and how to create an eye-catching book cover. Watch the video to learn how!
Start selling your books on Kindle Direct Publishing
Hopefully this helped give you a better understanding of how KDP works and how any author, big or small, can publish their own writings. Whether you write mystery novels, bedtime stories, or scientific textbooks, KDP can help you reach the masses.
Have you published a book through KDP? Let us know below, or share a question you have about selling your books on Amazon.
Want to learn more about how you can use Jungle Scout to launch, grow, and run your Amazon business? Click the “Learn More” button below!
Cam ,I use kdp paperback service to publish under my own isbn registered publishing brand?
BTW, thanks for the clarity of your guidance!
THANK YOU THIS HAS BEEN VERY HELPFUL, I THINK I AM READY TO WRITE THAT MINI BOOK KNOW!!
Have some books on Amazon. Have made some tiny sales but never get to see the royalty deposited in my bank account.
Pls, how can you help?
I suggest contacting Amazon seller support with this issue.
Does Jungle scout offer a keyword system that works with KDP
At this point, it does not work with KDP.
How can a Canadian author self publish with kindle? Is there a form available to be usa tax exempt?
You can easily create a KDP account from Canada.
I was not able to find your Jungle Scout Crome extension
Please follow this link: https://www.junglescout.com/features/extension/
I’m a little unclear on two points. One, if self-publishing with KDP, you need to provide your own cover page, correct? Two, as I wrote it myself, do I need to get it copyrighted with the US copyright office first? Or does publishing have anything to do with that? Basically, I need to know the correct procedure for getting my copyright.
Thanks so much for this article and your time answering my questions.
Yes, you will need to provide your own cover for the book. You don’t need to get the book copyrighted to list a book with KDP.
Can someone outside the US publish on KDP?
How will they receive payment when they don’t have a US address, bank account and SSN?
Yes, you can sell on Amazon from outside the US. On the KDP website, it tells you which territories you can sell from.
My question is one of format…I think, ha. I want to know how to also sell my book as a hardcover option. Does KDP offer this service? Or how would I do that and also offer ebook and paperback options????
Yes, KDP does have a hardcover option. When creating your offer, you should have an option for all three.
I want to use this platform to sale books of proven authors with morally acceptable contents.
KDP is used to sell your own self-published books. If you want to sell other authors’ books, you can sell them on Amazon through Seller Central.
Please I am interested in this, I have many books to publish.
Great! Have you created your KDP account yet?
can the Jungle scout research tools work on kindle?
The Chrome Extension works with Kindle but the Product Database and Opportunity Finder does not.
Hi, my name is obiorah victor.
Can i publish my academic thesis, projects on KDP?
Sure you can!
Hi Brian, do i need to convert my book to pdf before I publish in amazon?
See this help page for more info: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202145060
Amazon KDP published my book entitled “Protecting a Valley and Saving a River: The Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association” in 2018. I have not found a way through KDP to place an order for 20 copies of this book. Also, is there an author’s discount? Please advise.
Check out this Amazon help page: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202132360
A Big Thank You to Brain for this, I am indeed grateful
Thanks for reading!
Great info – I’m considering using KDP to publish a coffee table book. Is this a crazy thought?
As long as you believe there is a market for the book you want to publish, then no, it is not a crazy thought.
Is the advert compulsory, or is it advisable
You do not need to advertise your products if you don’t want to.
If you have a book that’s on KDP, but you decide you’d rather sell it as an FBA product – how would you make that switch?
The only way you could do that is if you have physical copies of your book to ship to an Amazon fulfillment center.
I wrote a comment about a published series of mine recently, but it seems to be absent from discussion and I received no answer. this is my problem with KDP: i published a series of of three workbooks of English grammar review exercises with level objectives, each having two grades of the six grades that I designed my books in covering the whole of English grammar which will never change. the three workbooks were blocked as KDP but published as paperback. Yet, who knows what’s in the paperback without without surfing the KDP eBook? eager to get my books published and to circumvent the initial blocking, I published the same(exactly the same) books under a different series with one word change in title and the books were now alternately blocked. So, I tried again and the same thing happened. Where is the problem then? None of my three series is complete which means my publications are killed and cannot reach the millions of people around the world as KDP claims. the Problem is in the system and I challenge KDP from THE RESPECTABLE CEO Mr. Bezos to the lowest reviewer to prove me wrong. all i want them to do is to listen and examine my books and take my reason seriously. I have not given up on taking KDP to court and I will.
I am sorry to hear that you’re having issues with publishing your KDP books. If you keep uploading the same book without any changes, it will still get blocked.
Is Amazon giving you any reason why they’re being rejected? It could be problems with the content, grammar, images, format, etc. I suggest going through the Amazon KDP Publishing Guidelines: https://kindlegen.s3.amazonaws.com/AmazonKindlePublishingGuidelines.pdf
I was wondering if you can offer a paperback book for free, like you can an Ebook? Thanks!
You can make the pricing anything you want but you will need to pay the fees to print the book when someone orders. If it is free, you will lose money each sale.
I’m ready to start publishing my books
That sounds great! Did you get started yet?
Hi Brian, it’s Salman from Pakistan. My Urdu Novel was translated into English in 2007. I don’t have original word file. Do I need to type it again, for sending kdp?. Thanks for your guidance
If you don’t have a digital copy, you will need to either type or send it to a company that can make your book digital.
I AM INTERESTED IN PUBLISHING MY BOOK THROUGH KINDLE
Have you signed up for an account yet?
My book is a poetry book.
Have you listed it on KDP yet?
Hello Brain. I am just starting to write my first book. How can I get my ISBN, because I am going to publish it on Amazon Kindle?
An ISBN is not required to publish an ebook with KDP. Check out Amazon’s help page here:
My book is a 328 page hardcover compilation first published in 1988. There were no PDFs then! I only have a very lovely well,edited book so it’s needs to be digitally adapted.
There are many contributors, most of whom are dead or untraceable. Royalties will not apply.
What is the cost of digital recreation ? Is Amazon the best place to,have that done? I’m in Australia. Maybe somewhere here would be smarter.
I recommend looking up a book scanning service that can convert your book into a PDF. Contact a few companies to see which would work best for you. Amazon does not offer that service.
You mentioned you can buy wholesale copies of your own book from KDP dashboard. There’s no option for that. Can you tell specific steps or a screenshot for reference? I have been trying to figure it out since quite long. Looking forward to hearing back from you on this.
Check out this help page: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340
This may be able to help solve your problem. Many help pages on this.
My book is published eBook & Paperback via Amazon/KDP., Tri-C Parenting, how can I use jungle Scout to sell my book specifically?
You can use Jungle Scout to find high-volume & relevant keywords to target in your advertising campaigns.
I traditionally published a 32-page colored children’s book that has finally gone out of print. I have recovered my rights and now I want to self-publish a paperback and an e-book from it. I have the original back-to-back signature pages (very good condition) as well as an original copy of the book on hand but no WORD version or pdf or formatted-for-Amazon/KDP version.
What is my next step? I think it’s the conversion process that readies it for upload to Amazon. Where do I go for that? I want to use someone who can make use of the excellent artwork in my possession in these new versions.
I suggest searching for ebook conversion companies on Google and research each one until you find a company you like. This would be the best way to get your book reader for Amazon KDP.
This article has been really helpful. thank you.
I have a photo-rich automotive history book that I’m intending to publish in hardback and will apply to Amazon to sell it on their platform using their FBM protocol. However, I am also being supplied a pdf of the finished book that will be used by the contracted publisher, and I will distribute that to my potential reviewers as an advanced-reader-copy (ARC) in hopes of obtaining reader/editorial reviews that can be posted.
My question: is there a way to sell my pdf on Amazon as a pdf? I am concerned that converting the file to MOBI/e-pub format will make it unreadable, and I would therefore like to sell it in pdf, which I know may limit its use, but will guarantee the book’s integrity.
Please comment, and thanks for your work .
You should be able to upload your book as a PDF using Kindle Direct Publishing.
I have manuscripts written in Setswana, are manuscripts in this language accepted?
According to KDP, it is not. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200673300
Due to my moving, I need to know where my royalties are going to: What bank or home address. I last received a check. thanks.
Please contact Amazon seller support with this question.
Doesn’t anyone find it strange that Amazon would deduct the print costs of a paperback from the writer’s royalties, instead of deducting them from the price of the book and paying royalties on the net cost? This is pure greed on their part… No one seems to be talking about this, or is everyone scared that Amazon will block them from selling on their site if they create a fuss?
It’s because the print costs are based on page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace.
Hi Brian I would like to publish my Poetry book but have no idea how to start any advice will be appreciated
That is great! Did you read through the article?