What is Amazon KDP? Definition, Terms, and 2024 Strategies

July 1, 2023

What is Amazon KDP?

Amazon KDP is a program where authors and publishers have simple, easy access to Amazon’s publishing service. It follows a KDP print-on-demand dropshipping business model. Your book can either be printed as a physical book or as a digital version on any Kindle device.

KDP works when new authors or publishers upload a new book to Amazon’s platform. They may use several strategies to produce these books, including writing it themselves or outsourcing them to a creator on Fiverr or UpWork. Customers pay for the book they buy on Amazon in the typical way; though those with Kindle accounts will pay via their monthly subscription.

What is Amazon KDP account? An Amazon KDP account is a subset of Amazon that will allow you to set up your book publishing business.

What is Amazon KDP program? The Amazon KDP program is a part of Amazon that allows you to sell books, rather than its other programs where you sell many physical products.

What is Amazon KDP Select? Amazon KDP Select is a free service from Amazon that allows you to promote your book as a Kindle eBook for 90 days. The KDP Select program can increase your Amazon sales by building your fan base and visibility. 

What is Kindle Unlimited? Kindle Unlimited is a program where potential readers can sign up and read as many books as they want each month.

What is Amazon KDP for smartphone? Amazon KDP for smartphone is part of the Amazon KDP program where you can use your smartphone to upload a book, eliminating the need for a desktop or laptop.

What is Amazon KDP business? An Amazon KDP business is a way to make money by publishing books on Amazon KDP for a profit. An Amazon KDP business is an alternative to pitching clients via cold emails or looking for freelance jobs on writing sites that pay daily

What is Amazon KDP books? Amazon KDP books are the books published through the Amazon KDP program, rather than those being sold through Amazon retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, or wholesale.

What is Amazon KDP royalty? Amazon KDP royalty is the amount of money the publisher or self-published author is paid when a customer buys the book on Amazon. 

What is Amazon KDP passive income generator? The Amazon KDP passive income generator is a term some course coaches use to promote their Amazon KDP courses.

Why Sell Your Book on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing?

You should sell your book on Amazons Kindle Direct Publishing because:

  • Amazon has a large customer base.
  • It’s easier to self-publish than sign with a traditional publishing company- but harder to make sales.
  • You can publish your book in countries worldwide.
  • It’s free to sell on KDP publishing.
  • You keep full rights to your books.

How to Publish a Book on Amazon and Make Money

  • Decide whether you will publish a book you wrote and designed or if you would like to outsource the creative work. You can write your book on Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
  • Depending on your choice, ensure you have enough startup capital for your Amazon self publishing businesses. You do not need any money to start Amazon KDP if you write and design the book yourself, but you may need a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to pay for outsourced work. The cost of printing your book is automatically taken out when a customer buys it.
  • Choose what kind of book you want to publish. On Amazon, you can publish novels, book series, kid’s books, cookbooks, journals, poetry, and more.
  • Edit and proofread your book.
  • Create an Amazon KDP account or use your personal Amazon account. Use your personal amazon account for KDP if you’re the only person who needs access to the account.  Setting up your KDP account is easy- just follow Amazon’s steps. You do not need a business for Amazon KDP.
  • Research keywords (KDSpy is an excellent tool for this) and categories on Amazon.
  • Format your book following KDP format. KDP format is the specific metrics that will make your book look professional and clean. For example, a KDP book must be at least 24 pages long. Kindle Create can help you. Decide if paperback content, ebook content, or hard cover content is best.
  • Create a book launch strategy- The Goodreads author program is one way to promote.
  • Fill out the form to add a new Kindle eBook. You’ll add the language of the book, the title, subtitle, author name, book description, keywords, categories, age range, and certain rights. 
  • Choose royalties.  You’ll be able to choose 70% or 30%.
  • Upload your interior file and book cover file. Your interior file is typically a word doc or PDF of all the words, lines, and images within your book. The cover file will turn into your cover.

Optional: Copyright your book, get an ISBN (Amazon’s is free), and get a barcode (buy your own or use Amazon’s). You do not need to copyright your book before self publishing on Kindle, as your work is automatically yours as soon as you write it.

It takes Amazon KDP up to 72 hours to publish a book. For low content books, it takes up to 10 days. However, Amazon KDP is print on demand, and uses a dropshipping model to send books to customers. Amazon only prints your book after someone orders, and then sends it directly to a customer. So, KDP won’t print a book until you sell one.

To sell on Amazon KDP:

  • Consider enrolling your book in KDP Select, which opens your book up to Kindle Unlimited users.
  • Come up with a marketing strategy. To promote your digital products on Amazon Kindle Publishing, you can list your book on other platforms (like Apple Books), launch an author website, optimize your Amazon author central page, use Amazon advertising (either sponsored listings or related products Amazon ads listings), ask for reviews in your book’s back matter, use Facebook ads, create a book booth at a local craft fair, and/or use email and social media marketing. You can even send a press release about your book.

It can take weeks to months to get your first print book sale on KDP, depending on your marketing plan and how successful it is. If you build awareness before the book comes out, it's possible to have pre-orders lined up. But otherwise, if you make sales in a few days, consider yourself very lucky. The KDP algorithm is more performance based than SEO-based, so these first few days will determine a lot about your book's overall success.

Note: The types of books that sell the most on Amazon KDP are in the religion and spirituality, biographies and memoirs, business and money, self help, and cookbook categories.

How Do I Succeed with Amazon KDP?

To succeed with Amazon KDP, you’ll need to research your niche, genre, and keywords. Do this by looking at successful books and genres already on Amazon, looking at reader reviews, reading Google trends, and finding topics that readers are searching for.

It also helps to diversify your books so you have a better chance of getting sales. You can sell as many books as you want on Amazon KDP. For example, one KDP seller, Sean Dollwet, makes around 12-13K, but that’s with 32 books listed in the Amazon Kindle store. To be #1 on Amazon, you need to sell at least 3500 - 5000 copies in 24 hours. This is why many KDP sellers opt for low content or medium content books, rather than creating the next great American novel.

  • Create simple coloring books, journals, logbooks, etc. Notebooks are also allowed on KDP. Amazon does not allow books with no content, but you can create something like a sketchbook with a simple border on each page. To create a medium content book, choose books with a little more content, like a complex activity book, puzzle book, or education workbook.
  • Come up with a traditional book idea, but outsource the writing to a freelance writer.
  • Market your book using any of the strategies listed above.

Is Selling Low Content Books on Amazon Worth It?

Selling low content books on Amazon is worth it because they are easy to produce and can sell well if you know how to combat the saturated market. Because low content books are simple to produce, the overall quality has gone down and the low barrier to entry has made more sellers attempt this simpler way of selling products online than Amazon FBA.

What Books Does Amazon Refuse to Sell?

Amazon refuses to sell:

  • Books that portray sexual identity as a mental illness

  • Illegal content, like another author’s work

  • Offensive content, like books that contain pornography or hate speech

  • Poor quality books

  • Unchanged versions of public domain books

Can I Make Money from Amazon KDP?

Yes, you can make money from Amazon KDP. When KDP first launched, it was rare to see publishers making $10K. But now, some KDP authors make up to $100K. Overall, Amazon KDP pays 70% of the retail price of your book if its priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Any other price only receives 30% revenue royalties. However, Amazon KDP follows a rev share business model, and so whatever you make is a cut of your actual sales. Amazon has a royalty calculator that will help you understand exactly what profit potential your book has.

With KDP, you get paid 60 days after the end of the month you received sales. So, if you make a sale in April, you won’t receive your 30% or 70% royalty until the end of June. At the very least, it takes about 90  days to make money on KDP if you sell books immediately. It’s more likely that it will take some months for your book to gain an audience- then you will make money about 3 months after that first sale comes in. Still, most KDP authors make less than $100 per month.

NOTE: KDP does not pay per page, but per sale. 

If you use Kindle Select, you can boost sales by doing a countdown deal. When you run a KDP Select countdown deal, your royalty rate sticks to lower prices. So for instance, if you chose the 70% royalty rate, you can still list the book at a discount below $2.99 but make 70% off each sale. 

Is Selling on KDP Profitable?

Selling on KDP is profitable for some people. Many authors and publishers make tens of thousands of dollars per month on the platform. However, to do this, you need an excellent marketing strategy or dozens of published books. Entering the low content book space is probably too saturated in 2023 for most people.

What are the Benefits of Amazon KDP?

  • You have control over your royalties

  • You can format your book as an eBook, paperback book, or hardcover book

  • No need to house your own inventory

  • Free to publish a book you may have dreamed about creating for years

  • Amazon provides an ISBN if you want it

  • You’ll receive reports from Amazon detailing exactly how your book is doing

What is the Downside of Amazon KDP?

  • 30%-70% revenue share with Amazon (though compared to traditional publishing, this is a pretty good deal)

  • Limited profit margins, especially if you outsource the creation of your book

  • Tons of saturation- especially for low and medium content books

  • You’ll have to spend a considerable amount of money on promotion tools and strategies for your books 

  • You may have to publish dozens of books on your KDP Bookshelf to make any profit at all.

Is Selling on Amazon KDP Worth It?

Amazon KDP is worth it if you have the bandwidth to publish dozens of low content books, or plan to write high quality, high content books. The latter is best when paired with a highly active and interested social media presence, like this author.

If this doesn’t sound like you, consider a  more profitable business model like local lead generation. With local lead generation, you compete against local niches- not a global Amazon marketplace. And, you wont need to create dozens of books- rather, you’ll create a single website, and after that is profitable, you can choose to create another as a secondary stream of income.

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Ippei Kanehara

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Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

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