With Kindle posting impressive numbers in the last decade, you might be thinking: Is Amazon KDP still worth it in 2022 and beyond?
The e-com book retail giant also continues to expand aggressively worldwide, opening its print-on-demand services to self-publishers in Australia, Japan, and the Netherlands.
Of course, the competition has increased and selling books on Amazon isn’t as easy as it once used to be but so has the volume on Kindle.
In this blog, we’ll explain why publishing books on Amazon KDP is still worth it.
As an author with a decent following, you can sell well over 3000 copies of your book per month on Kindle. However, beginners may find it hard to hit these numbers. In the end, it all comes down to how well you execute your book launch.
Here is a fun stat:
In October 2021, Kindle Unlimited paid out $39.8million in royalties to self-publishers. That’s just one month of royalties alone!
So what can you expect in terms of sales?
Amazon assigns a Best Seller Rank (BSR) to all authors on Kindle. The more books you sell, the lower your BSR. To make decent sales, you should aim for a BSR of less than 20k. This is very much achievable even if you are publishing a book on Amazon for the first time.
Based on different BSR ranges, the sales estimates look like these:
Not bad at all, considering many people start with writing as a side hustle!
Okay, but what about the profits?
Amazon KDP offers different royalty options to self publishers. The highest you can go is 70% if you price your ebook between $2.99 and $9.99. Most authors prefer to list their books at $6. It is considered a sweet spot in terms of pricing–customers don’t have to burn their wallets to afford a book, while you can enjoy handsome royalties on sales.
This is what you can expect in profits if you stick to the above convention:
Of course, your actual earnings can be different depending on if you outsource some of the book publishing tasks to freelancers or use tools to make your job easier. However, these can also help you scale faster and sell multiple books at one time, thus increasing your overall earnings.
Amazon KDP is a great way to make passive income, doing what you enjoy the most–writing. However, like anything else, it comes with a few drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of publishing on Amazon Kindle:
There was a time when writers would chase publishing houses, hoping one of them would pick their book up. Thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing, this is no longer an issue.
You may ask, is publishing on Amazon easy? It definitely is.
Amazon KDP has a simple, user-friendly interface with useful prompts, demonstration videos, forums, help centers, and FAQs. Even if you’ve never published a book before, there is nothing to worry about. Amazon will guide you through the process step-by-step. You can publish your book in a matter of hours.
As a self-publisher, you want your book to be available to the masses. This is probably Amazon’s biggest strength. No competitor comes close to its huge customer base.
Furthermore, you can select the territories you want to sell your book in with just the click of a button. You can even handpick the distributors you want to work with, right from your Kindle dashboard.
Once you’ve published your book, you can ensure it is visible to readers by using targeted Amazon Ads.
Does Amazon KDP print books?
As a Kindle author, you can offer electronic versions (ebooks and audiobooks) as well as physical copies of your book.
Amazon is essentially a one-stop shop for publishers. All you have to do is upload your manuscript, and it will take care of the rest - printing and delivering your book for you at your maximum convenience.
KDP offers higher royalties than most self-publishing platforms. You can enjoy up to 70% royalties on each ebook sale. However, there are some conditions you must meet. Print books come with a fixed 60% royalty rate, unless you decide to sell your books through Amazon’s Expanded Distribution Network, in which case you get a 40% share.
Amazon pays you monthly, sixty days after the closing of the sales month. For example, if you sell 10 books in January, you’ll be paid for them in March. While this makes for a long initial wait period, once you get over it, things flow smoothly. Rest assured, you’ll face no delays in the release of the payments.
If you have ever approached traditional publishers, you’d know about all the demands they make before agreeing to publish a book. Everything from the cover to the content of the book can be challenged. And so, until you satisfy them to the tee, you can’t really expect your book to be published.
Amazon KDP fixes these issues. As an indie author on Kindle, you have complete creative control over your book. You may work with reviewers, designers, editors, etc. but you always have the last word.
If you have the manuscript of your book ready, you can go live with your book listing in less than 72 hours. Amazon KDP has managed to streamline the book publishing process to a few simple steps that anyone can follow.
One of the biggest benefits of publishing a book on Kindle is that you can track sales data and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Amazon KDP offers an easy-to-use dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view of your daily sales, earned royalties, Kindle Unlimited activity, and much more.
This data can provide insight into what your readers are responding to and how your marketing campaigns can be tweaked to increase sales.
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when selling books on Kindle. The platform comes with a few challenges too.
Here are some of the cons of publishing on Amazon KDP:
While the process of uploading a book on Amazon takes a few minutes, writing and listing the book can be a harrowing task. This is especially true if you have a limited writing experience and don’t know much about how online marketplaces work.
If you are a newbie, you will likely require assistance from other professionals like editors, proofreaders, cover designers, photographers, etc. You might even need help with Kindle SEO to optimize your listing.
Amazon is massive. And while this gives self-publishers access to millions of readers, it also means you face intense competition.
As a self-publisher on KDP, you must understand the importance of niching down and familiarize yourself with the concept of keyword research.
Lastly, you must incorporate Amazon Ads into your promotional strategies to beat your competitors.
A lot of self-publishers choose Amazon to reap the benefits of its 70% royalty programs not realizing that there is a criteria they need to meet before qualifying for it.
For example, the 70% program is only for books that are priced within the $2.99-$9.99 range. If you price your book higher, you won’t qualify for it.
When you’re an established author, Amazon’s pre-orders are an excellent way to create hype for your book. Sadly, pre-orders on Amazon aren’t available for paperback copies. Anyone who wants a physical copy of your book will have to wait until it is published.
Authors publishing ebooks have the luxury of incorporating widgets and other fun stuff in their content. Unfortunately, Amazon only provided limited interactive features for ebooks. If you’re hoping to engage readers with sophisticated media then Amazon may not be the best fit for this type of execution.
High competition on KDP is often a concern for upcoming publishers. However, finding a profitable niche within a high-selling category, riveting cover pages, and making smart use of keywords in the title, subtitle, and description of your book can help you rise above the noise.
There is always an underserved market segment. If you can identify it and plan your book launch accordingly, you don’t have to worry about the competition.
There are no Amazon self-publishing costs. You don’t have to pay any signup or Kindle account maintenance fee. Creating a listing is also free. However, Amazon does charge you for ebook delivery and printing paperback copies of your book. All deductions are made from the royalties you receive. You can learn more about this topic here.
Here is a checklist to help you get started with Amazon KDP:
Having an Amazon Author Central account is not mandatory to sell on Kindle but it definitely helps with your sales. The preferred file format of the manuscript is AZW, but you can also upload your book as PDF, MOBI or EPUB.
As for the book cover, you can design one yourself using free tools like Canva or Adobe Spark. It should be print-ready PDF only. Listings need special attention, and you must do thorough keyword research to make sure they are well optimized for Amazon search.
How to create an account on Kindle?
Go to the Amazon KDP login page and click “Create your KDP account”. Sign up with your email, password, and phone number.
Amazon will verify your Amazon KDP log-in credentials by sending an OTP to your cell phone and email address. Enter the passcode after you’ve received it.
Read the Terms of Agreement and click “Agree”.
Enter your name, date of birth, country of residence, and other personal information. For the Business Type field, select “Individual”, unless you are planning to publish your book under an LLC.
Next, enter your bank details, including bank name, bank location, account title, account type, account number, and routing number.
Finally, provide your tax details. Amazon checks and verifies all the information, so make sure to double check everything. Sign and submit the form to complete the registration process.
You should be able to use your Kindle account, right away.
All books uploaded on Amazon go through a thorough review process. This process can take up to 72 hours. Once your book passes the review stage, it will show up on the Kindle Store and be available for purchase.
You can start earning on Kindle as soon as your book goes live. Realistically speaking, you can expect consistent sales after the first month, provided you have used the keywords wisely and published your book in a low competition niche.
Amazon KDP pays through checks, wire transfers, and direct deposits — with the latter being the safest option of them all.
The struggle for visibility on a platform with millions of competitors like Amazon is real. You can’t expect to stroll your way.
Here are some tips to succeed on Amazon Kindle:
First things first, you must find a niche that has a decent audience size with relatively less competition. You can search for niches manually or use an online tool like ZonGuru’s Niche Finder.
By pricing your ebook within the $2.99-$9.99 range, you can earn maximum royalties and make a decent income online.
KDP Select gives you access to Kindle Unlimited for 90 days. With Kindle Unlimited, you can reach out to millions of Amazon users. They can borrow your book, and you can charge them per page. The program also gives you access to special promotion features that help you boost your book sales.
Bear in mind though, while you’re enrolled in KDP Select, you can’t sell your books outside of Amazon.
If you have a social media following, you can promote your book to them. Use blogs and videos to direct them to your Kindle listing.
Although Amazon doesn’t disclose all the variables that affect the visibility of a book on its platform, it is understood that books with positive reviews tend to rank higher in the search. Encourage people to read your book and leave a review through email campaigns. However, don’t push them.
What about Amazon KDP ads? Are they worth it?
When you’re competing with millions of titles on a single platform, doing everything you can to grab the attention of potential customers can increase sales, including running ads.
Running paid Kindle ads for your book using relevant keywords can help you reach new audiences on Amazon.
You can use tools like Kindle Free Promotions to attract a wider audience by offering your book for free for five days. This option is only available to Amazon KDP Select members.
Don’t like the idea of offering your book for free? Try Kindle Countdown Deals instead!
A Kindle Countdown Deal lets publishers reduce the price of their book for a week or less without impacting their royalties. As you sign-up for Kindle Countdown Deals, Amazon will add a timer to your books to let readers know it is being offered at a discounted price for a limited time period.
You can make money with Kindle low content publishing, but your earnings are likely to be lower compared to if you are selling fiction or non-fiction books. However, you can make up for this gap by selling multiple low content books. Find the best-selling low content niches and see if you have what it takes to stand out in them.
When publishing on Amazon KDP, the official rights of the book remain with you and Amazon only gets the license to sell and distribute it.
Should you add a copyright page in your book?
Adding a copyright page in your book isn’t mandatory but it does provide additional protection.
Yes, Amazon KDP is still a very reliable source of online income with self-publishers making thousands of dollars every month. But to find success on the Kindle Store, it is essential to pick a profitable, low competition niche. This will give you a fighting chance at establishing yourself on an otherwise highly competitive marketplace.
In addition to finding a profitable niche, you should consider implementing effective marketing strategies like Kindle SEO to gain visibility and stand out amongst the competition.
Zonguru tools can help you with that and much more. Whether you need to find a profitable book idea, look for keywords that can be the best fit for your Kindle book, or optimize your existing KDP listing, ZonGuru can help you perform all these tasks with ease. Try it out with this 7-day free trial today!
Discover opportunities. Maximize your sales. Grow your Amazon business!