Is Amazon KDP Worth It? (5 Reasons Why It Isn’t + Real Life Experiences)

April 20, 2024

Is Amazon KDP worth it? Amazon KDP can be worth it for people who genuinely enjoy writing that are looking for a low-cost opportunity to publish their works and who are willing to do their own marketing. Publishing quality books on Amazon KDP that actually sell requires considerable effort and solid writing ability, and there’s ultimately no guarantee anyone will buy and read the book. 

A low barrier to entry has led to extremely high competition, so Amazon KDP requires a good marketing strategy. Amazon KDP writers recommend marketing channels like social media marketing or buying paid advertising placements on platforms like Google, Amazon, or Reddit. 

An Amazon KDP writer on Reddit claims to have made $1.5 million in revenue between 2015 and 2021. However, they admit only half of those earnings were actually profit as a large portion of their earnings went to marketing. Although marketing is a major expense, the KDP author still averaged around 6 figures a year over 6 years of selling on Amazon KDP, which many people would consider a worthwhile investment. 

Amazon KDP typically isn’t worth it if you’re only going to write one book because Amazon KDP books are usually lower cost so you'll need to sell a large quantity of books to make solid income. In fact, Amazon rewards pricing books between just $2.99 to $9.99 by offering sellers the maximum 70% royalty in this range. Books priced outside this range only command a 35% royalty. Therefore, you should really have multiple books priced in the 70% royalty range to realize optimal earnings with Amazon KDP.  

Amazon KDP might also not be worth it for writers looking for extensive support in getting their book published. Although Amazon KDP makes it free and easy to publish books, they don’t offer high level support in helping that book be a success like other publishers do. Many Amazon KDP sellers even complain about the poor quality of support provided by Amazon, with many experiencing insufficient communication on major issues like account termination. 

For example, Natalie of the YouTube channel Think Big Profits with Natalie is a former Amazon KDP author who had her account terminated without clear communication from Amazon, a common theme among Amazon KDP seller experiences. Despite Natalie spending money on advertising to promote her Amazon KDP books, Amazon abruptly closed her account and kept her expected earnings. 

An alternative online business model to consider where you don’t need to worry about a major corporation stealing your earnings is local lead generation. Local lead generation entails creating websites that attract customers for local businesses and then selling those leads to real local businesses for a recurring fee each month. 

In the following article, we discuss further whether Amazon KDP is worth it, including providing real-life experiences from 3 KDP authors. 

5 Reasons Amazon KDP Isn’t Worth It in 2023

1. It’s highly saturated

Amazon KDP has been around since 2009, and since then, thousand of authors and writers around the world have published millions of books that span across multiple genres.

To give you context, here are some numbers to help you understand just how saturated the KDP market is:

  • There are around 2 million books published on the KDP platform, 12 million Kindle eBooks on Amazon, and 48.5 million listed books altogether, which might raise some eyebrows for authors planning to enter the market.
  • Over 50,000 new books are published every month on Amazon.
  • There are over 1,600 Kindle eBooks being released to the public every day.
  • The number of books being published every hour is close to 70.

These are only some of the horrific figures that paint an accurate picture of how massive and saturated the Amazon KDP industry really is.

If you’re planning on writing and publishing a book on Amazon KDP or the Kindle Store, be sure to conduct extensive research that will help you come up with a publication that resonates and stands out.

2. It’s extremely competitive

Having competitors is inevitable in almost every industry. Starting an online venture entails having to compete with hundreds, if not thousands, of other individuals doing the same thing you are.

Competing in the KDP space, however, is much harder than you might think.

Many people have made money on KDP. There are over 2,000 authors on Amazon KDP that have generated $100,000 in sales, but there are approximately 100,000 authors in India ALONE, which shows just how difficult it is to be successful on the KDP Platform.

Frankly, despite Amazon having 300 million customers worldwide, there’s no guarantee your book will be noticed, let alone purchased, considering the amount of books and authors in the KDP industry and Amazon as a whole.

If you want your books to gain some exposure and get ahead of the competition, you could try KDP Select for free.

However, Amazon KDP Select might not be worth it since it can only be used for 90-days and is available for free to anyone.

Enrolling in KDP Select also means giving full publishing rights to Amazon, which means you won’t be able to publish your work anywhere else.

Simply put, you can still publish elsewhere even if you publish on Amazon, unless you apply for the KDP Select Program and give your publishing rights to them.

What is Amazon KDP Select?

Amazon KDP Select, also known as Kindle Select, is a version of KDP that’s provides premium features and benefits such as:

  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Kindle Create
  • Higher royalties in other countries
  • Marketing and advertising tools such as Kindle Instant Book Previews, Amazon Author Central, Amazon A+ Content, and Kindle Countdown Deals
  • Kindle Owners Lending Library

3. Marketing and advertising are expensive

You need to run ads and marketing campaigns for your books to be seen by the public. Publishing books on the KDP platform and praying for the best is simply not going to cut it. It does not work that way. 

Think of it this way: Your book is a party and ads are your invitations. Without ads, how do you expect people to go to your party? Instead, they’ll end up going to parties thrown by individuals who sent out invitations to them.

Unfortunately, running an Amazon ad every day will be costly and could take a huge toll on your revenue if you don’t sell enough books to cover ad spend.

While you could run ads daily with as little as $5, most successful businesses spend up to $100 every day in order to gain exposure and actually reach their target audience.

4. KDP’s royalty system might cause you to lose revenue

If you already have a following and you know for a fact that you have a book that sells, KDP might not be for you.

KDP has a pricing plan of $2.99 to $9.99, which depends on the type of book being sold. KDP authors also get paid for every book sold by receiving a 70% royalty per sale.

However, more intermediate and experienced writers may have books that are worth more than Amazon’s asking price.

Other avenues where you can advertise your book and find more success include:

  • Book Bolt

  • Publisher Rocket

  • Your own website or blog

  • Social media platforms

5. It’s not passive income

This would have worked in 2015 but since then, Amazon has changed its algorithm in such a way that people who just keep publishing books will get lost in a bin of obscurity.

Today, Amazon rewards those who put in the time and dedication to produce and self publish high-quality books rather than those who prioritize quantity over quality.

To add injury to insult, Amazon does not pay its authors monthly. Instead, they release funds every 60 days, which can become a headache for those trying to make a living off of KDP.

Real-Life Experiences From Amazon KDP Publishers

Gem Blackshaw (Project Rich Mum)

Gem Blackshaw is a YouTuber who started out with low content publishing. Today, she makes thousands of dollars per month on KDP today, but she dismisses the idea that it’s an easy way to make money online.

According to Gem, not making money during your first months is much more realistic than what other KDP enthusiasts are telling you.

During her first three months where she made very little sales, she was doing low content books. 

According to her, selling a low content book on Amazon is not worth it because everybody else is doing it already and a low content book dies off much faster than a medium or high content book.

She took things more seriously during her 4th month and tried to go for medium content books such as children’s workbooks. By the end of the month, she made over $140 in sales.

Gem says it’s much easier to make money with medium to high content books than low to no content books.

By her 6th month, she was making over $300 in sales.

In February 2022, Gem made over $500 in sales through 7 of her published books. She has over 70 books in total.

According to Gem, most people who tell you that KDP is an easy way to make money could be lying about the money they make or are spending ridiculous amounts of money on advertising.

She says that if someone actually makes thousands of money during their first week or month, that person is likely to have “struck gold”, such as finding a topic or niche that isn’t over-saturated.

Can it happen to you? Yes. Is it likely to happen to you? No.

In fact, Gem even claims that people who talk about KDP potentially make more money in their videos rather than their KDP business itself.

Romney Nelson (The Life Graduate)

Romney Nelson is another YouTuber that spent around $5000 on a course that teaches you how to make money on Amazon KDP.

He made zero dollars in his first three months. He never gained back the $5000 he invested in learning Amazon KDP.

He started his Amazon KDP journey in November 2019 and wanted to focus on high-content books.

By the end of March 2020, he had generated a grand total of $120 in his first 5 months of Amazon KDP.

Apart from the initial investment of $5000 for the Amazon KDP course, Romney was also running Amazon advertising every month. By April 2020, he had spent over $1000 in advertising just to make $450 in 6 months.

According to Romney, he exerted maximum effort on Amazon KDP because he was tired of seeing minimal returns. He did extensive research, tried to find good niches, came up with a killer book cover, and did almost everything he could to bump up his sales.

Finally, by the end of December 2020, Romney had over $7,300 in that month alone.

However, he clearly states that Amazon KDP is not as easy as some might say. You need to be focused, determined, and resilient if you want to see results. Don’t think of Amazon KDP as passive because it requires a lot of hard work and motivation.

Nuria Corbi (The Home Boss)

Nuria Corbi is an Amazon KDP author that has made over $10,000 in sales on Amazon KDP, but she tells her viewers that KDP is not all sunshine and rainbows.

According to Nuria, it will take a long time before you make money on the KDP platform.

Her journey began back in November 2019, where she made zero dollars.

She made over $300 in December, but during the first two months of the following year, she struggled to even reach $200.

Because of the lack of income coming from KDP, Nuria looked to other online sources of income while still pursuing Amazon KDP.

Nuria didn’t just leave her books alone and hoped for the best. She put in a lot of hard work and dedication by finding out how she could make better books.

She researched about consumer patterns, applied catchy graphics and designs, optimized the book title of her best seller/s, and many other things that would captivate her readers and target audience.

Finally, in May 2020, she made her first thousand in sales. However, she still struggled to maintain a thousand dollars in revenue from July to September.

Fortunately, she generated over $1000 again in October, and from there, her sales skyrocketed to over $5000 in November and just a little under $10,000 in December.

Nuria’s story just further proves that Amazon KDP is not a guarantee that you will make money online and be successful. Just like any other business or job, you must work hard if you expect to see results.

Conclusion: Is Amazon KDP Really Your Ticket To Financial Freedom?

You can make money on Amazon KDP as long as you put in the work.

There are thousands of other KDP authors and publishers out there that have made a significant amount of money through this platform. To add to that, it costs zero dollars to start an Amazon KDP account. It is absolutely free and has no hidden costs.

However, even if you do put in the work or enroll in the best Amazon KDP courses, you’re not guaranteed to make the same income as them because you’re still a self published author that’s bound to face the issues that come with a self published book.

These difficulties include topic / niche oversaturation, intense competition, expensive ad spend, and many others.

While it's also possible to make money on KDP without writing, that doesn't change the fact that your hands are tied due to these issues.

Ultimately, Amazon KDP might not be worth it if you’re simply looking for a side hustle that could serve as passive income.

Why I Prefer Local Lead Generation Over Amazon KDP

If you’re after a business model that provides more financial stability, flexibility, and control, check out our local lead generation coaching program.

With local lead gen, all you have to do is create a website that ranks on Google using SEO tactics.

Once your website is ranked, you don’t have to do anything. You simply allow local companies to generate leads through your website and make money for each sale.

I have websites from 2014 that still generate over $2000 for me on a monthly basis, and I’ve barely touched them since then.

Local lead generation

Local lead generation not only offers more control and stability over your finances, it also gives you more time for other things in life, which is something Amazon KDP can’t provide.

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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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