Kindle Direct Publishing – Paperback

5111xg4qthl-_sx311_bo1204203200_1About a week ago, I noticed a new chart on my daily sales report on KDP: Paperback. Turns out, Amazon decided to cannibalize its own print-on-demand branch, CreateSpace, and offer KDP authors an option to drop their books to paper straight from the KDP dashboard.

For the moment, there is little incentive to do so on books that are already printed via CreateSpace. The options are limited – there is no Alternative Distribution, no free copies. The pricing – as you can see below – is identical to CS. The service is very much in beta. So for the sake of testing, I chose to paper-ize my haiku booklet, as there’s no chance of my experiment harming its sales  🙂

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Starting out, the interface is a combination of KDP aesthetics and CreateSpace options. You’ve got your usual setup, already filled in with information from the ebook version. If you have the ebook all set up, there’s nothing for you to do here other than approve and click Save and Continue.

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If you have the book already as paperback in CS, this screen is where you let Amazon know about it so they can automatically import all the paperback settings for you – although, as I said, at the moment there’s no incentive to do that.

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On the next page, if you haven’t imported CS settings, you’ll get a bunch of options to choose from. As far as I can tell, these all cost the same in print, except the difference in color and black & white. Here’s more pricing information from the help page – looks identical to CS prices.Screenshot 2016-10-22 08.49.54.png

NB, at the top of the second page you can assign your own ISBN, or let Amazon assign it for you.

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From the second page, you can launch the Cover Creator if you don’t want to create the cover yourself. Again, standard CreateSpace fare. The selection of layouts and colors is limited – I certainly would advise creating your own image if cover quality is important for you. There are a few bugs here, too – for example, only on the second time I launched the creator did it tell me that the book is too narrow for the spine text – after I’ve already previewed and approved the book to print. I’m not sure what the final product of this would look like, and it’s a pity I wasn’t told beforehand, especially considering Amazon doesn’t offer free author copies like CS.

Screenshot 2016-10-22 08.59.10.pngThis is the screen you get after uploading the content PDF and cover, and approving everything to get to the next stage. For me this took a long time, even though the booklet is tiny.

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The editor found one major problem: the content PDF didn’t fit the print size. This threw me off a bit, since all I did was save doc as PDF from Word, without changing anything – I guess Word took my printer settings for PDF? Anyway, the editor fixed the scaling with a push of a button, and the rest of problems were not critical to the quality of the book (mostly having to do with DPI of images and embedding of fonts, neither of which was important for this experiment).

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The standard 3d preview of the “ready” paperback

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The final page, as always, is the pricing. I thought the prices were better than CS at first, but no, CreateSpace offers exactly the same prices and royalties for its main distribution channel.

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Two versions of the same book. Unplusgood. 

Weirdly, Amazon is unable to automatically link the paperback and ebook versions, despite them both coming from the same source; same problem as on CreateSpace, but you’d think they fixed it for their in-house solution. I hope it’s just a matter of time, or of the service being in beta, otherwise it’s going to be a bit of a pain. If the two versions do get linked eventually, I’ll update this post to let you know.

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KDP and CreateSpace comparison chart

So there you have it – the KDP paperback. The setup is easy, especially if you’ve already did some work for CreateSpace version. If you only care about selling paperbacks on Amazon, this is a valid option – but you get that from CreateSpace anyway, and you miss out on Extended Distribution. Amazon promises to add that, as well as proof and author copies, eventually – and once they do that, I guess KDP will replace CS as the go-to paperback solution, but for now that seems a long way away.

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12 thoughts on “Kindle Direct Publishing – Paperback

  1. You said “I thought the prices were better than CS at first, but no, CreateSpace offers exactly the same prices and royalties for its main distribution channel.”

    Maybe I’m still missing something, but CreateSpace offers dramatically different prices and royalties “for its main distribution channel” vs Amazon.com, right? I tried the CS Royalty Calculator here: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/ and told it I wanted to know about a B&W, 5×8, 280-page book. At a list price of $7.99, the royalties listed for me were:
    $0.58 for Amazon.com
    $2.18 for eStore
    -$1.02 for Expanded Distribution.

    I tried the same exercise for the KDP Paperback beta. At a list price of $7.99, with a printing cost of $4.21, the 60% royalty for Amazon.com would be $2.27. Of course, the royalty for CreateSpace’s eStore would be zero, because it would only be on Amazon.com at that point.

    If one is focused on Amazon.com, $2.27 seems considerably better than $0.58. That’s a big IF, of course, but am I missing anything here other than that?

      1. I was directly responding to the author who wrote “I’m not sure what the final product of this would look like, and it’s a pity I wasn’t told beforehand, especially considering Amazon doesn’t offer free author copies like CS.” Again, the author wrote (emphasis mine) “… Amazon doesn’t offer FREE AUTHOR COPIES LIKE CS.” I’ve been publishing through CS for over 6 years and CS does not offer free author copies.

  2. I’m in beta for this, too, but I noticed my paperback sales aren’t showing up on my sales chart. I physically watched my bf purchase the book, and it shipped, and it should’ve registered at least as 1 sale (for testing purposes).

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