Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon's eBook publishing platform. It allows authors to upload their work and publish it in Kindle format, for sale in Amazon's online store.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) was launched by Amazon alongside its first Kindle eReader in 2007. KDP was designed to enable authors and publishers to publish books directly to the Amazon online bookstore, to be downloaded and read on Kindles and Kindle Apps. Once uploaded, the book is published in Mobi format which can be read on any Kindle device.
Publishing with KDP
To be able to publish a book and have it feature in the Amazon Kindle Library, you will need to sign up to KDP (). You will require an existing Amazon account.
Before you can publish a book, you will need to provide account information. This will include completing a US tax survey so that Amazon can comply with US tax regulations, as well as bank details for royalty payments. Once this has been completed, you can start a book project on the KDP website under 'Bookshelf' and by selecting 'Create a new title'.
You will then be directed to complete basic information about the book including title, edition number, publisher details and description. You will also be asked if you want to enrol your book on KDP Select. By checking this option, authors choose to publish their books in digital format exclusively with Amazon.
Next, choose the book's category fields, which enable readers to find your book when browsing Amazon's categories. Selecting the most appropriate categories will allow you to target the right audience. You are limited to two categories so these should be the most appropriate fit for your book's genre.
You can also add up to seven keywords or phrases for your book. These can help place your book in relevant subcategories. For example, a category of 'horror' and a keyword of 'British' is likely to place your book in the British Horror subcategory.
You will then be given the option to either upload your book cover or create one using KDP's Cover Creator which enables a wide range of design options.
KDP allows an author to choose the publication release type. You can choose to publish your book immediately or you can allow the book to be pre-ordered by readers. You will also need to include details of copyright and territories.
- Upload formats
Your book can be uploaded in various formats. For best results Amazon recommend using either Microsoft Word .doc or .docx files, or HTML. However, the following formats can also be used:
- Mobi - This must be created using Amazon’s KindleGen software which can be downloaded from the Amazon website (). Alternatively, there is free conversion software available.
- ePub - This is the format that Apple uses and is one of the more popular formats when uploading onto KDP. It is worth noting that Amazon only support unzipped ePub files.
- Rich Text Format (.RTF) and Plain Text Format (.TXT) - These can only be used for documents that do not contain any images because KDP convert the files to HTML, and any image locations referenced in the file can not be converted to the HTML format.
- Adobe PDF - PDF Files can often contain embedded formatting or images. These do not convert well to eBooks. Problems may occur with randomised text formatting, irregular page breaks, or even missing or oversized images.
- Kindle Package Format (KPF) - These files are produced using the Kindle Textbook Creator.
It is possible to pay a digital publisher to convert your work to a more suitable format for KDP. They will ensure that the work is correctly laid out and formatted for publication. However, it can cost a lot of money to do this.
After you have uploaded your file, you can preview your eBook by using the Online Previewer or downloadable Previewer to see what it will look like on Kindle devices and apps. The Online Previewer may be faster, but to see what the book will look like on either a Kindle Touch or Kindle DX, use the downloadable version. Any interactive features cannot be displayed on either Previewer.
The next step on KDP is to set the price as well as royalty percentage. See below for details.
After this stage you can choose to save and publish your book.
Once the book has been uploaded and saved, it takes 24 to 48 hours for it to appear on the Amazon Kindle Store. In practice, it usually takes just under 24 hours for a new book to be approved, but can take a little longer to receive a notice if there's an issue that needs addressing.
You will receive a notification via email once your eBook is available in the Amazon Kindle Store.
KDP Select is a specific KDP programme that offers advantages in exchange for eBook exclusivity, including the option to set promotions where your book's price is temporarily reduced. See KDP Select.
Amazon offers a choice of royalty payments of either 35% or 70%. This depends on the price of the book. Where you live and what territory you fall under may also affect your royalty payments.
Selecting 35% royalties means that you receive 35% of your list price minus VAT on each book you sell on Amazon.
Selecting 70% royalties means that you receive 70% of your list price minus VAT on each book you sell on Amazon.
If you wish to select the 70% option, your book must qualify for it:
- Your book must be sold within the qualifying '70% territories'. If is is sold outside of those territories, you will receive 35% royalty minus VAT.
- Your book’s list price must be in accordance with Amazon’s list price requirements ().
- Amazon also requires that the list price is at least 20% below the lowest list price for the physical version of the book (paperback or hardback).
- If you are publishing your book in the Amazon stores for Brazil, Japan, Mexico or India, it will need to be enrolled in KDP Select to be eligible for 70% royalties.
Amazon deduct a small 'delivery fee' from the list price before calculating royalties. This is negligible for text-only books but greater for books that contain images. To avoid delivery fees eating into your royalties, reduce image sizes before uploading your interior file, for example by converting them to JPG format.
It is important to note that Amazon reserves the right to amend the price of your book as it appears on the Kindle Store. For example, they may offer your book to readers at a lower price than your list price. They will do this if a competitor to Amazon sells your book at a certain price, or if the physical book has a lower list price than the Kindle version. If you have chosen 70% royalties, Amazon will calculate your royalties of any copies sold from their offer price (as long as the sales meet the 70% requirements). This will not affect you if you have chosen the 35% royalty price as this will always be calculated from your original list price.
KDP Cover Creator
The KDP Cover Creator can use either an uploaded image or you can select one of Amazon's stock images. It offers a number of design and layout options that enable you to create a book cover that you are happy with.