What is Kindle Direct Publishing?
Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP for short, is part of Amazon.com and provides a one-stop-shop for both ebooks and paperbacks. KDP uses ‘Print On Demand’ [POD] technology to produce trade paperbacks that are automatically listed for sale on Amazon.
What is POD?
POD is a relatively new technology that makes it possible to print just one book at a time.
Before the development of POD, all books were printed using offset technology. This involves etching the book onto metal plates, an expensive process. To be economically viable, large quantities of books have to be printed at one time. This is called a ‘run’. 1000 units [books] is often quoted as the realistic minimum per offset print ‘run’.
At such quantities, the cost per book is very low, but the total cost of the ‘run’ can be prohibitive for self-publishers. A POD book is more expensive, per unit, than a book printed the traditional way, but it has other advantages that make it ideal for self-publishers.
How does POD work?
On Amazon, POD works like this:
- A customer sees your book and buys it,
- Amazon sends the order to KDP,
- KDP receives the order and produces a single copy of your book,
- Amazon then posts your newly printed book to the customer,
- The customer receives your book in the mail and the order process is complete.
Why use POD?
The most compelling reason to use POD is that it costs the author nothing up front. The cost of printing and selling the book is subtracted from the sale price of the book…after a customer buys it. The difference between the sale price and the total cost of printing and distributing the book is the author’s royalty.
What if I want to sell my book through bookshops?
At the present time, large bookstore chains do not sell self-published books. These chains are geared towards the traditional publishing houses which allow retailers to return unsold books. These books are then pulped.
Local, independent bookshops, however, may agree to stock self-published books.
Which version of Word does the guide use?
Most of the screenshots and examples used in this guide were developed using Microsoft Word 2016. For certain critical steps, however, information is also provided for Word 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013.
More generally, anyone familiar with the Word Ribbon should have little trouble following the instructions, and the section on KDP does not require Word at all.
To use this guide, you will need:
- your manuscript [in Word],
- the ability to save and retrieve files [in Windows],
- a connection to the internet [to access KDP],
- an email address.