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Kindle Direct Publishing: What You Need to Know

There’s no denying that Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has revolutionized the world of ebook publishing, currently claiming nearly 80% of the ebook market. What was once a costly and lengthy process is now virtually cost-free, allowing authors to self-publish their books without the need for a middleman. 

Through the Kindle store, readers can easily get access to the newest books published literally anywhere in the world. The Kindle changed the world of reading, and KDP has changed the world of publishing.

What exactly is KDP?

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s self-publishing platform for indie authors to publish ebooks, paperbacks and hardcover books for free and reach readers across the globe. It was launched along with its first Kindle device in 2007, and has since taken over the world of self-publishing. It allows you to publish novels, book series, children’s books, comics, cookbooks, journals, poetry, textbooks, etc.

In order to start publishing through KDP, set up an Amazon Author Central account using your Amazon email ID and enter your book details (like book title, series name, keywords, pricing,), bank details, etc. While the self-publishing process via KDP is pretty simple, it can be quite overwhelming to get the formatting of your book right.

What are the benefits of using KDP?

01. No Upfront Cost for Publishing

Unlike traditional publishing, which requires you to make a large investment in your book, there is no upfront cost for publishing through KDP. For ebooks, you can upload your book files to KDP and publish them for free, after which readers can instantly purchase and download the books to their devices. You will then receive a royalty from Amazon for each book sold.

In the case of print books, Amazon uses a print-on-demand technology to print and then ship your books to the relevant customers. This printing cost is deducted from your royalty.

02. Can Choose to Publish via KDP Select

KDP Select, according to Amazon, is “a free Kindle book program that gives you the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money at no additional cost. All authors and publishers, regardless of where they live, are eligible to enroll their Kindle books in KDP Select”.

By enrolling your Kindle book in KDP Select, you get access to additional promotional tools and deals like Kindle Countdown Deals (limited-time discounts) and Free Book Promotions (where you can offer your book free for 5 days out of each 90-day KDP Select enrollment period). Through KDP Select, you also get paid when readers borrow your book through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Lending Library.

There’s one catch, though (which may not sound like one depending on where you come from): if you enroll your book with KDP Select, your book must be exclusive to Amazon—which means you can’t sell it anywhere else, not even on your own website.

03. Get Access to Amazon’s Marketing Tools

With self-publishing, the task of promoting and marketing your book, both before and after publication, becomes your sole responsibility. That can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have no expertise in the area. But when you choose to publish via KDP, you get access to Amazon’s amazing marketing tools, like Amazon advertising, where you can feature your book on their page as a sponsored product.

The other, more sophisticated marketing tools can be accessed by enrolling in Amazon’s KDP Select program, which is perhaps the best option if you’re new to the world of self-publishing. You can always remove your book from KDP Select later, if you would rather prefer selling your book on other sites as well.

KDP Pricing and Royalties

01. Ebook Royalties

There are two royalty rates for ebooks: 35% and 70%, and each has certain criteria. For the 70% royalty rate, your ebook has to be priced between $2.99 to $9.99, but you are required to pay a distribution fee or “delivery fee” for each purchase. This fee will depend on the file size of your ebook. For the 35% royalty rate, your ebook has to be priced below $2.99 or above $9.99, and does not require you to pay a delivery fee.

There are also list price requirements for books published through KDP, which can be accessed through their website.

02. Paperback Royalties

For paperbacks sold on KDP, there is a fixed 60% royalty rate, from which the printing cost is then subtracted. For some marketplaces, Amazon will add the Value Added Tax (VAT), Goods and Services Tax (GST) and consumption tax to the list price of your book, after which customers will see an adjusted price.


Would you like more information on how to get all your editing, formatting and design done on a tight budget? Sign up for Kelsye Nelson’s online class How to Self-Publish Your First Book. You’ll gain a wealth of resources for your indie publishing projects – plus tools to help you set and manage your budget.

And because we know saving money is a priority, here’s $50 off enrollment for How to Self-Publish Your First Book with this code: firstbook


Sharika Hafeez

Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.

November 15, 2021

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