How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book on Amazon? (How Much Do Amazon KDP Authors Make?)

November 8, 2023

Technically, it costs nothing to publish a book on Amazon, but you should spend at least $50 to $100 in ads and marketing costs to attract converting traffic. You'll also have to put up approximately $1,000 if you plan to outsource the creation of your book, which includes writing, proofreading, copyediting, and designing.

Here are some risks you'll have to watch out for before publishing a book on Amazon:

  • It’s highly saturated and competitive: There are around 2 million books published on the Kindle store, 12 million Amazon Kindle eBooks, and 48.5 million listed books altogether. Over 50,000 new books are published every month on Amazon, 1,600 Kindle eBooks every day, and 70 every hour.
  • Marketing and advertising can be expensive: You'll have to pay for ads if you want your publications to be seen. Unfortunately, thousands of other publishers are also paying the same amount you are, or even more.
  • It’s not passive income: Publishing on Amazon in 2024 is not a source of passive income anymore. You'll have to put in a lot of work if you want your publications to be profitable. Aside from consistently marketing and advertising your books, you'll have to find a niche that's unique, profitable, and less saturated.

Overall, you can still make money by publishing on Amazon, but it would be very difficult to become profitable. In this article, you'll learn about the costs of publishing a book on Amazon, as well as a realistic overview of how much Amazon KDP authors can actually make.

How Much Do Publishers on Amazon Make?

Normally, publishers make around 35% to 70% in royalties for each book they sell on Amazon KDP. For eBooks, authors can choose between the 35% and 70% royalty packages. Digital storage fees for each book are waived in the 35% royalty option. For paperbacks and hardcovers, Amazon has a fixed 60% royalty for each book sold. 

Generally speaking, you can make anywhere between $100 to $20,000 per month by self publishing on Amazon. Beginners typically generate around $100 to $1,000 during their first year. An average self publishing author can make $5,000 to $10,000 per month, with the assumption that they've been in the self publishing scene for more than 2 years and already have a collection of publications that generate revenue consistently. A veteran, self published author that's already established in the Amazon publishing space can earn up to $20,000 or more. Additionally, studies show that over 2,000 authors have reportedly already surpassed the $100,000 in total revenue. 

These figures might seem promising to aspiring Amazon publishers, but reality sets in quickly once you realize just how difficult it is to make money by publishing on Amazon. Those who consistently generate $5,000 to $10,000 a month have been publishing on Amazon for a significant amount of time already. You also have to consider that not all publishers turn out to be successful. The reasons may vary, but the point remains the same - publishing on Amazon is not a surefire way to make money online. In fact, it may take 6 months to 1 year before beginners can make money on KDP.

With that being said, publishing on Amazon is not a get-rich-quick scheme that's designed to be successful right from the get-go. Just like traditional publishing, it's a business model that requires extensive research, maximum effort and dedication, and even an initial monetary investment. You can definitely make a lot of money by publishing on Amazon, but it's not as easy as you might think.

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book on Amazon?

1. Printing ($30 - $50)

Printing a book through Amazon would cost anywhere between $30 to $50, depending on the size of the book and the ink to be used. Publishing on Amazon means you'll be able to sell not just eBooks, but paperbacks and hardcovers as well. When a customer purchases a paperback book or a hardcover book from you, Amazon has a service called KDP Print, which allows you to fulfill print book orders on demand. Printing fees are automatically deducted from your royalties, meaning you won't have to put up any money to have your books printed. It's also important to note that print books require an ISBN or an International Standard Book Number, which usually costs anywhere between $20 to $30.

Amazon calculates printing costs using this formula:

Printing cost = Fixed cost + (page count x per page cost)

To further help you help you calculate the cost of your books before you publish them, below are printing cost calculations depending on the size of your print book, what ink it will need, and how many pages it will have:


Fixed cost

Per-page cost

Regular trim, 24-108 pages

$2.30 per book


Regular trim, 110-828 pages

$1.00 per book

$0.012 per page

Large trim, 24-108 pages

$2.84 per book


Large trim, 110-828 pages

$1.00 per book

$0.017 / page


Fixed cost

Per-page cost

Premium ink, regular trim, 24-108 pages

$3.60 per book


Premium ink, regular trim, 42-828 pages

$1.00 per book

$0.065 per page

Standard ink, regular trim, 72-600 pages

$1.00 per book

$0.027 per page

Premium ink, large trim, 24-40 pages

$1.00 per book


Premium ink, large trim, 42-828 pages

$1.00 per book

$0.08 per page

Standard ink, large trim, 72-600 pages

$1.00 per book

$0.042 per page


Fixed cost

Per-page cost

Regular trim, 75-108 pages

$6.80 per book


Regular trim, 110-550 pages

$5.65 per book

$0.012 per page

Large trim, 75-108 pages

$7.49 per book


Large trim, 110-550 pages

$5.65 per book

$0.017 per page


Fixed cost

Per-page cost

Regular trim, 75-550 pages

$5.65 per book

$0.065 per page

Large trim, 75-550 pages

$5.65 per book

$0.080 per page

Amazon offers colored ink packages since you have the option to publish low content books. Low content book ideas include picture books and children's books.

2. Delivery ($0.15 per megabyte)

Contrary to what "delivery" actually means, Amazon charges this fee simply because they have to maintain or manage the servers or databases, where thousands of books are digitally stored. Without this fee:

  • Amazon would have to stop accommodating new publishers from publishing new eBooks since their servers would not have enough storage for both new and old eBooks.
  • Amazon would have to delete old eBooks from their servers in order to allow new eBooks to be uploaded.
  • Amazon could accommodate everyone, but that would inevitably result in their servers crashing because they won't have any money to maintain or expand the storage of their databases.

Typically, Amazon charges $0.15 per megabyte in the US and Canada. In the UK, they charge $0.10 per megabyte. This is with the assumption that you're availing of the 70% royalty option. If you avail of the 35% royalty option, where your books will be priced anywhere between $2.99 to $9.99, the delivery fee will be waived.

The best way to calculate your eBook's delivery fee is to go to Amazon KDP's pricing page and input the details of your book. Do not make the mistake of simply multiplying the delivery fee by the file size of your book because Amazon typically formats all eBooks before coming up with a final file size.

3. Marketing and advertising ($50 to $500)

Marketing and advertising a book on Amazon can cost anywhere between $50 to $500. Book marketing is optional, but it's extremely crucial in making sure potential readers can actually see your eBooks and other publications. You can publish your books without spending a single cent on advertising, but don't expect anyone to read, or let alone see them.

On average, publishers pay $0.81 every time their eBooks ads are clicked. You can spend as low as $5 on your ads, but thousands of people spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on ad spend.

In order to run ads on Amazon, you will have to sign up for the Amazon Advertising Program. Amazon Ads offers three types of advertisement types:

  • Sponsored products: Sponsored products are ads that appear on Google's SERPs and are usually charged on a per-click basis, also known as PPC.
  • Sponsored brands: Sponsored brands are ads that appear at the top of Google's SERPs, and are usually charged for each impression, also known as cost-per-impression (CPI).
  • Display ads: Display ads, also known as banner ads, are ads that appear on other platforms and websites are also charged per impression.

Amazon also allows authors to enroll their books on Kindle Select, which is a free 90-day program that allows you to reach more potential readers and audiences through Kindle. Users who choose to subscribe to Kindle Select can read as many Kindle book titles as they want, which is a good way for KDP authors to gain exposure.

Here's a quick step-by-step guide to help you get started in running ads for your eBooks and publications.

Check if your books are eligible for Amazon Ads

You can run ads for books that are:

  • Published using KDP.
  • Books published outside of KDP.
  • Co-authored books or books with more than one author. 

For books published using KDP, you can run ads in the following countries:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • France
  • Australia
  • Italy

For books published outside of KDP, you can run ads in the following countries:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Germany

Amazon also has a set of guidelines called the "Book Ads Creative Acceptance Policies, which your eBook must adhere to before it can be eligible for Amazon Ads.

Add your eBooks and publications on Amazon Author Central

In order to advertise your books, you must add at least one pen name and one book title under your Author Central account. In order to create a sponsored brand campaign, you must add at least one pen name and three unique titles or multiple books under your Author Central account.

Launch an ad campaign

Once everything is set, you can now launch an ad campaign. You can choose from the advertising options mentioned above, but Amazon recommends beginners to opt for the Sponsored Products option because it appears in search results and product pages much faster.

After launching your first campaign, it will go through Amazon's moderators, where they check whether your ad campaign complies with their rules and guidelines. This not only helps keep Amazon safe and family-friendly, it also safeguards authors from violating any regulations in place, which could potentially lead to a suspension or indefinite ban.

4. Outsourcing ($500 to $2,000)

Outsourcing is hiring a third-party employee or contractor to work for you or your company. In this context, Amazon publishers have the option to outsource a writer to write a self published book for them. Outsourced writers and editors typically charge anywhere between $500 to $2000, depending on the specifications of the eBook. This usually includes writing costs, editing costs, and book cover design costs. If you plan to hire separate employees for each of these tasks, here's a quick overview of how much each one will cost:

  • Writer: $0.01 to $2 per word
  • Proofreader: $0.15 per word
  • Copy editor: $0.21 per word
  • Book cover design: $200 to $1,000

Outsourcing is entirely optional since Amazon has a service called Kindle Create which allows authors to turn their manuscripts into a Kindle eBook or print book for free. If you're planning to publish books on Amazon by hiring a writer, you can look through common outsourcing websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, and OnlineJobs PH.

Is Publishing on Amazon Still Profitable in 2024?

Publishing on Amazon is still profitable in 2024. Over 500 million eBooks are sold through Kindle, which is why approximately 80% of all book sales on the internet belong to Amazon. The eCommerce giant is also forecasted to own 90% of the eBook market by 2025, which further demonstrates just how profitable publishing on Amazon can really be.

Unfortunately, despite all these impressive numbers, publishing on Amazon is just not worth it anymore. More on more writers are starting to self publish on the platform, which means the market is becoming more competitive and saturated as time goes by. As of 2023, the number of independent authors who self publish on Amazon is estimated to be around 1 million. Amazon also owns 17 publishing imprints, which means you'll have to compete with Amazon itself.

Not only does this equate to spending more money on advertising and marketing, it also makes niche selection more difficult since almost every topic has already been explored. Overall, the profitability of publishing on Amazon indicates that it should be nothing more than a side hustle, not a way to quit your job and generate passive income. 

Is there a way to publish on Amazon for completely free?

There is no way to publish on Amazon for completely free. Even if you decide not to outsource, do everything on your own, skip the advertising, and choose not to sell any print books, you'll still have to pay the "delivery" fees that Amazon charges for every book that is stored on their platform.

With that in mind, the cheapest way to publish a book on Amazon is to simply publish eBooks and not spend any money on marketing and advertising. If you choose to take this route, the only fee you will pay is the "delivery" or storage fee which costs $0.15 per megabyte. Unfortunately, this is also the least profitable way to publish a book on Amazon since you will be relying solely on eBooks and word of mouth to make money.

Can you publish on Amazon without using KDP?

You cannot publish on Amazon without using KDP, but you can publish on other websites and platforms. These include:

  • Google Play Books
  • Barnes Noble Press
  • Lulu
  • BookBaby
  • Kobo
  • Blurb

However, keep in mind that Amazon KDP is still the best way to launch yourself in the self-publishing space, since it offers everything you need to get started.

Related articles on Amazon KDP and Publishing on Amazon

  • Is Amazon KDP Worth It: Curious to know whether Amazon KDP is worth all the time and effort? This article provides 5 reasons Amazon KDP simply isn't worth it anymore in 2023, as well as real life testimonials that further support this.
  • How to Make Money on Amazon KDP: Simply publishing your books on KDP isn't enough to make money online. This article lists down everything you need to know to make money on KDP, such as niche selection and competitor analysis, as well as common mistakes to avoid.
  • Make Money Publishing Books On Amazon KDP Without Writing: Ever wondered how you can make money on KDP without writing? This article talks about ways you can make money without writing on KDP, such as getting paid to read and review eBooks, hiring a ghostwriter, and many others.

Why Local Lead Generation is Better Than Publishing Books on Amazon

I've created six-figure businesses with various business models such as Amazon FBA, dropshipping, and dropshipping, but the best online business in my opinion would always be local lead generation. Local lead generation is a business model that can be done in 5 easy steps:

  • Select a local niche or industry you want to start with.
  • Build a website, choose a domain name, and pay for hosting.
  • Use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to organically grow and rank your website in accordance with Google’s algorithm.
  • Once your website has been optimized, allow local businesses and companies to generate leads through your website.
  • Repeat this process as much as you want.

Unlike publishing on Amazon, local lead generation does not suffer from market saturation because every city has 50 to 100 niches you can explore. It's also a business model that requires a certain level of skill and expertise, which means it won't be easily replicated by thousands of other aspiring entrepreneurs. 

The best part about local lead generation is it can potentially become a passive source of income. I have websites I created in 2014 that still generate over $2,000 for me every month, and I don't even have to touch or maintain them.

Local lead generation

If you're searching for a way to quit your job without having to worry financially, local lead generation might be the answer to your problems.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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