How to start a Kindle Direct Publishing business

Kindle Direct Publishing

Let’s say you have completed that one book you have been writing for a really long time. You have put every ounce of effort and time into making your writing exceptional and you have finally completed it. But publishing the book? That’s probably not something you have given a thought about before starting the book.

Publishing a book and reaching an audience far and wide is no easy task especially if you want to spread your book globally. Finding an agent or a publishing house seems like a lot of unnecessary hassle if you can publish the book yourself and reach audiences globally. It’s easy through a platform called Kindle Direct Publishing.

What is Kindle Direct Publishing?

Kindle Direct Publishing

KDP originally started as a self-publishing eBook platform but eventually, it expanded to print books and audiobooks as we. KDP was launched in 2007 concurrently with its first Kindle device but it wasn’t until 2013 that it got popular for its eBook gallery. It’s regarded as the largest virtual library in the world with hundreds of books still being uploaded regularly in KDP.

KDP is one of those profitable online business models where you can make lots of money if you are passionate about it. Whether you want to publish just a single entry or create digital assets that you can sell regularly, it’s effective and proven that you can build your own library of books.

Everyone nowadays has a chance to publish their books independently, whether it’s a completely fresh work or it’s been waiting on a shelf for a long time. KDP offers exactly that opportunity for not only the writers but for the designers as well! It’s fascinating that KDP offers various types of digital assets to sell on Amazon.

And It’s not just books! You can create self-made cover art on Journal or Diaries and sell it on Amazon as well. KDP provides global distribution to more than 40 major sales territories all around the world thanks to the authority of Amazon.

What is the Royalty Structure of KDP?

Depending on your pricing and geographical location, there are types of royalty structures within the platform. One of the royalty structures will give you 35% while the other one will give you 70%. The difference is huge, we all can understand that, while KDP doesn’t clearly state why there is a big difference between the two mentioned royalty structures, we can clearly assume why.

One of the core reasons is the KDP select program. Pricing is also an issue as well as a geographical location but it doesn’t have the level of influence the KDP select program has. The first thing we have to understand is that the platform is 100% free. It means there is no cost to publishing content on the platform.

The only defined cost is that no one will get 100% royalty and that’s pretty natural. Even when it comes to traditional publishing, the authors get around 10% – 30% depending on the retail price and the tenure of the duration of the sale. So, when it comes to KDP, there is already a comparative advantage, to begin with.

Let’s begin with the pricing of publishing eBooks through the KDP platform first. Their eBook sales royalty structure is a little hard to grasp. However, once you start publishing content through KDP, it will get easier and it’ll make more sense. As we said above, the eBook royalty structure is of two types – 35% & 70% of all sales.

You should keep in mind that any other kind of regional tax will also be cut off from those figures. All the relevant information is provided on the dashboard. So, you can see for yourself what the costs are during publishing the content. Most publishers try to make it to the 70% royalty structure and why wouldn’t they?

It basically gives you more money and there are some tricks to how you can apply the 70% royalty structure. This means you’re getting 70 cents of every dollar your content earns. There is a catch though. They will take the usual regional sales tax as well as something called “delivery fee”. Now you might wonder, where does delivery fees fit in an online book shop.

It’s still part of their business model. The delivery fee is approximately 15 cents per megabyte and a minimum of one cent will be deducted as delivery fees. The price mentioned here is according to the US region. The price varies from region to region but the difference isn’t that much. It’s quite negligible.

According to research by various marketers, the most optimum price range for 70% royalty is found to be between $2.99 to $9.99. If you price it outside the range, KDP tends to push you down to a 35% royalty structure. There is no clear explanation of why KDP does that but it’s highly likely Amazon did some research and they determined this price range as the most optimum.

What is the KDP Select Program?

KDP Select is an optional program of KDP which makes your books exclusive to Amazon and its affiliated platforms. It’s a 90-day renewable exclusive program available for any publisher and content creator in KDP. However, it doesn’t include your print book. It only includes eBooks. Even if you’re not enrolled in this program it doesn’t affect your distribution or anything else.

When you enroll in the KDP select program, you will only be able to sell your books exclusively on Amazon, affiliated platforms, and Kindle. The incentive KDP select program offers is the global 70% royalty structure for any content creator within the price range. Some regions don’t have the 70% royalty structure. They have a 35% royalty structure regardless of the price range.

The KDP select program nullifies that barrier and offers the content creator/publisher the opportunity to get in the 70% royalty structure within the price range. The KDP Select program is a renewable subscription-based service. There are other features available in the select program such as the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library.

The membership in the program allows you to check any other books enlisted in the KDP select program for free.  There are other features like crowdsourcing where you can get paid from a global fund in the KDP select program. In order for you to enjoy the maximum benefits offered by Amazon, you can check the website and the details yourself.

The KDP Print Books Model

 Kindle Direct Publishing

The print book service of KDP came around 2016 and it used to be exclusively paperback but now they offer hardcovers well. The fulfillment is done by CreateSpace. It is an Amazon-owned company that later merged with KDP itself.

Even though you can publish your books through the same dashboard, the entire model is still different. The way you get paid is also different. KDP print distribution goes to 9 different regions (US, UK, Germany, France. Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada, Australia).

Their printed books come with two types of covers – glossy and matte finish and two types of paper –  white and cream-colored papers. When it comes to the royalty structure, it is also different from the eBook version. Its 60% royalty structure minus the printing cost. Even though you don’t necessarily have to pay anything upfront, there is still the printing cost.

The number of pages will determine the printing cost of the book. Regardless of the trim size, if it is 108 pages or less, the price remains static. Once you go beyond the limit, it’ll be an additional 1/2 cent per page. So, if you’re planning to write a novel or anything relevant, you might just want to give a second thought to that. The printing cost will be massive then.

Price your book accordingly so that you can profit from it and so that the printing cost doesn’t affect that much. After we price our books in an optimum price range and by taking every expense in the list, there is about 35% to 50% royalty for each sale of a copy of the book. This covers all types of additional costs.

Now there is another option involved in the print books model called the expanded distribution. The people who fulfill the expanded distribution are considered some type of middlemen. They distribute the books to thousands of third-party retailers including online places like Walmart and Target.

In order to get your books enlisted in Walmart.com, you just have to click the expanded distribution tab. The royalty rate in expanded distribution is significantly less than the usual royalty rates. It’s around 40% minus the printing cost. The page count here is important as well. So make sure it’s well optimized to make a decent profit.

Conclusion

Amazon is a massive online platform in the world and KDP is a platform under Amazon. The equation is very simple here. Amazon already has massive existing traffic on the website. The users can directly search for a kindle store from the website regardless if they have a Kindle device or not.

KDP is such a profitable business platform where you can sell and create your own content library with eBooks, print books, and audiobooks as well. The smart way to advertise in Amazon would be to work on SEO and make your content more attractive to the users.

You will have to publish content yourself in order to completely understand the platform and see how it functions. Whether you’re a passionate writer or a designer who loves to work on cover arts, KDP can become your dream platform to work on!

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