Is Amazon KDP Profitable? You can make money on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP as a self published author, but not everyone can generate significant profits from it. Here’s why:
- There is an ever-increasing saturation in the market.
- Established traditional publishers switching over to digital publishing.
- Amazon’s royalty rates are not as profitable as they once were.
- Piracy is spreading like wildfire.
- Marketing is expensive.
- It is difficult to find a profitable niche.
Despite these risks and drawbacks, it’s no surprise that aspiring authors and publishers pick Amazon KDP as their go-to platform for self publishing, given the company’s reputation and the earning potential that comes with it.
You can make money on Amazon KDP in just under 24 hours, as long as your account is fully set up and there are books published under your name.
You can also earn up to 70% in royalties on Amazon KDP, depending on the price of your book. Also, research shows that there have been over 2,000 authors worldwide that have generated approximately $100,000 in sales.
Here are some quick stats to help you understand just how massive the KDP market really is:
When it comes to the Amazon Kindle eBook industry, here are some numbers that show Amazon’s dominance and influence over the market:
Just like any other business, an Amazon KDP business has its fair share of pros and cons. Unfortunately, aspiring authors might be surprised to find out that the risks of Amazon self publishing might just outweigh the benefits.
Thousands of KDP authors have made money on Amazon KDP, but thousands of other authors have also failed to make the platform a sustainable source of income.
As KDP’s popularity grew, it become more crowded and saturated, which ultimately made it very difficult and almost unprofitable to self publish.
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6 Reasons KDP Might Not Be For You (Even Though It Can Be Profitable)
1. There is an ever-increasing saturation in the market
One of the main reasons KDP might not be for you is because of the increasing saturation of the Kindle eBook market.
With so many similar books being published every day, it’s becoming extremely difficult for self-published authors to get noticed and attract a large audience.
As a result, many books go unnoticed and do not generate sales, making it difficult for authors to earn a decent income through Amazon KDP.
Another point that needs to be considered is the decline of publishing low content books. Just a few years ago, low content publishing was the cream of the crop when it came to Amazon KDP.
Today, low content books are profitable only if you get ahead of the competition and come up with a niche or topic that isn’t oversaturated.
Your best bet is to either create a low content paperback book that ties up to one of your medium or high content books, or just stick to publishing medium and high content books.
2. Traditional publishers are switching over to Kindle Publishing
Another factor contributing to the declining profitability of Amazon KDP is the changing landscape of the publishing industry. Traditional publishers are now embracing digital publishing and self-publishing, and are becoming more active on platforms like Amazon KDP.
This increased competition means that self-published authors are facing a larger pool of competitors, making it even more difficult to stand out and attract readers.
To add injury to insult, Amazon’s algorithm favors more experienced and established authors and publishers than those who are just starting out in the KDP space.
KDP Select is a free, 90-day program that gives KDP authors and publishers the power to further promote their books through a variety of premium features, such as:
Kindle Unlimited: A paid service that gives Kindle users access to up to 3 million Kindle books, thousands of audiobooks, and hundreds of magazines. An author enrolled in KDP Select will have their books displayed on Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Create: A formatting tool that helps authors and publishers transform their manuscripts into complete, ready-to-read books.
Kindle Owners Lending Library: A program for Amazon Prime subscribers and Kindle owners that allows them to download one free book per month from the Kindle store. Enrolling in Kindle Select means your books will be released to the Kindle Owners Lending Library.
Marketing tools such as Amazon Author Central, Amazon A+ Content, Kindle Countdown Deals, and Kindle Instant Book Previews.
Higher royalty percentages in other countries.
3. Amazon’s royalty rates are not as profitable as they once were
Amazon’s royalty rates are also a major reason KDP may not be as profitable as it once was. The company’s royalty rates are based on the book’s price, with lower-priced books earning a lower percentage of the sale price.
The amount of money KDP authors make also highly depends on the price of their books.
For example, if an author sells 50 books in a month for $2.99 each and they are eligible for the 70% royalty rate, they would make around $105 in that month alone.
For some books, the royalty rate can be as low as 35%, meaning authors may only receive a smaller portion of the sale price for each book sold.
Ultimately, authors have to abide by Amazon’s pricing requirements if they want to keep their books published on the KDP platform, which may cause some issues, especially for publishers who are new to the industry.
If you want to publish your book without losing out on revenue, your best bet is to turn to other platforms, such as:
Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook
Your own website or blog
4. Piracy is spreading like wildfire
The increasing prevalence of piracy is also affecting the profitability of Amazon KDP.
We live in a world where piracy is rampant and commonplace. As more and more eBooks are being stolen and shared illegally, authors and publishers are losing out on potential sales and revenue.
Unfortunately, it’s the author’s responsibility to make sure that none of their work gets stolen or illegally reproduced, since Amazon KDP does not have any safeguards or procedures in place to counter piracy.
According to Matt Harrison of hairysun.com, The problem lies in the company’s response time.
Yes, Amazon responds to complaints and executes necessary steps against online piracy.
However, it usually takes weeks before any response or action is given. Because of this, authors are losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars because of Amazon’s slow response time.
5. Marketing can eat up your hard-earned revenue
Starting your own KDP business costs nothing. Amazon does not charge authors for setting up an account on the platform.
You may need to spend some money on Amazon advertising if you want your books to gain exposure. However, running Amazon ads daily will inevitably be expensive and could eat up your hard-earned revenue if you don’t sell enough books to cover ad spend.
You can run ads for as low as $5 daily, but keep in mind that the most successful authors and publishers allocate over $100 dollars every day.
6. It is almost impossible to find a profitable niche
To find out if a niche is profitable on Amazon KDP or not, there’s really not much you can do.
Sure, you can do keyword research, study your markets, or even identify your target audience, but these are not surefire ways to determine whether a specific niche or book idea is profitable or not.
Unfortunately, It’s hard to get a profitable keyword or niche in the Amazon KDP business because of two things.
First, the market is extremely saturated because of sheer amount of books available on KDP. Keep in mind that over 70 books are being published every hour on the platform.
Second, the competition is intense. Not only are you competing against thousands of other authors who are doing the same thing you are, some are even doing a better job than you.
Established traditional publishers are also switching to digital publishing, which could be bad news for aspiring KDP authors.
Amazon KDP vs Amazon FBA: Which Is More Profitable?
Aside from KDP, Amazon FBA is one of the more popular business models on Amazon. FBA is the process of selling products online without keeping any inventory.
Instead, Amazon stores, ships, and delivers your products for you. On top of that, Amazon also takes care of customer complaints, returns, and refunds for you.
How does it compare to KDP? Here are is a comparison between the two business models to help you decide which one to pursue.
Startup costs are low: You can write the books yourself and pay for nothing, or hire a ghostwriter for under $100.
Aside from the typical startup costs, you need a substantial amount of capital, typically over $2000, to get started.
You can make up to $10,000 within less than a year, if you play your cards right.
You can potentially generate anywhere between $10,000 to $100,000 monthly within a year.
You can publish a book within 24 hours and potentially make money instantly.
Product launch can be accomplished within 8 weeks.
KDP can turn into a source of passive income if you have enough books published.
More work will be involved since you'll have to worry about fulfilling orders, sourcing products, marketing, and many others.
You can diversify your income by using KDP along with other publishing platforms such as CreateSpace, Audible, Book Bolt, and many others.
Apart from Amazon, you can scale your business by selling on other platforms such as eBay, Shopify, and more.
Simply put, Amazon FBA is more long term and has a higher income ceiling. KDP, on the other hand, is more suited for individuals looking for quick, short term income.
At the end of the day, picking which business model to go for depends heavily on you. What do you really wanna do?
Are more passionate about books and publishing written content? Or are you an entrepreneur who loves searching for low-cost products and selling them at a profitable price?
Complaints Against Amazon KDP
Here are some complaints about Amazon KDP from individuals that have had unpleasant experiences on the platform.
Each category has a handful of complaints that could help you make an informed choice before you start your own KDP business.
Also, keep in mind that these are only a few of the many complaints about KDP that can be found all over the web.
Conclusion: Is Amazon KDP Really Profitable? Is It Worth All the Time, Effort, and Money?
KDP can be a profitable business venture for aspiring KDP authors and online entrepreneurs.
Essentially, you only need to have one best seller in order to be profitable. Keep in mind that one high quality Kindle book will inevitably be more profitable than 50 low quality books.
Amazon favors quality over quantity, which is why you should not make the mistake of mass producing books and simply praying for the best.
You can also make money on KDP without writing by hiring a ghostwriter who will write books for you. You can find ghostwriters on job posting websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, LinkedIn, and so much more.
All you have to do is take care of the rest - Setting up your account, marketing and promoting your product, and everything else.
Selling on KDP can be profitable for anybody, especially with hard work, maximum effort, and dedication.
However, even if you come up with an attention grabbing book title or a book cover that’s visually appealing, there are still looming issues revolving around Amazon KDP that are sometimes just out of your control. Oversaturation, intense competition, piracy, the list goes on.
First time authors can expect to make less than a hundred dollars during their first few months. In fact, it may take 6 months to 1 year before they can make money on KDP. Reality sets in pretty quickly once you realize how harsh the KDP industry can be.
As disappointing as it may seem, what people on YouTube tell you simply isn’t true - KDP isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and is not guaranteed to make you rich.
Why Local Lead Generation Might Be Better For You
If you’re searching for an online business where you won’t have to deal with the uncontrollable risks and complications I just mentioned, check out local lead generation.
All you have to do is create a website that ranks using Search Engine Optimization (SEO), allow local businesses to generate leads through your website, and make money for each sale.
Unlike Amazon KDP, where you’ll have to find a profitable niche with little competition, local lead generation is much more promising because every city is practically its own market, where 50 to 100 different niches are waiting to be tapped.
You also won’t have to deal with customer complaints, bad reviews, and negative comments, which is something you have to be prepared for when it comes to Amazon KDP.
The best thing about local lead generation is it requires little to no maintenance. Once it’s setup, your website could potentially still profit after 5 years or more.
I created websites in 2014 that are still making me money to this day - $2000 per month to be exact - and I don’t even have to touch them.
Local lead generation not only provides more financial stability and security, it can also serve as a significant source of passive income for aspiring online entrepreneurs.