Amazon pushes print with new KDP paperback beta program

The online retailer, and increasingly publisher, Amazon, today reached out to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account holders to let them know of a new feature that will print their digital books on demand.

Amazon, of course, already has its CreateSpace service, which also hooks up with KDP, so those who have published a paperback with Amazon probably have also made that book available for the Kindle. TNM, for instance, published my own paperback version of Talking Digital, while also publishing a Kindle edition. TNM has also published a novel, Drillmaster, in the same way.

But now, I suppose, the process can go the other way.

“Publishing a paperback can help you reach new readers,” Amazon told KDP account holders. “KDP prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties, so you don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory. You can use the KDP website in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese or Dutch. KDP automatically updates your title metadata based on information (book description, categories, keywords) you’ve already provided when setting up your eBook and vice versa. It also enables you to receive consolidated royalty payments for paperback and eBook sales. You can view combined reports and manage your print and eBook publishing from one website.”

Here are the benefits of the program, according to Amazon:

  • Distribution: Reach paperback readers through Amazon websites in the US, Europe, and Japan.
  • Royalties: Earn up to 60% royalties on the list price you set, minus printing costs.
  • Rights: Maintain creative control and own your copyright with our non-exclusive agreement.
  • Get to market fast: Publish your paperback for international sale in just a few days.
  • 100% availability: Printing on demand means your book will never be out of stock.

On the KDP Paperback beta page, Amazon mentions the CreateSpace program, so I suppose they realize that those familiar with the Amazon self-publish system will know that this is nothing earth shattering. But there are a lot of self-publishing authors who go first to KDP, not realizing that they could also publish a paperback.

The downside of printing with Amazon, though, is that one needs to pump up the price substantially in order to make sure they make a profit on a sale.


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