13 Things You'll Ask at Amazon's KDP Program, Part 1

13 Questions You'll Ask At the KDP, And The Answers

Here at Booknook.Biz, we've been doing this for quite a while now.  One thing I can't help but notice is that the same questions get asked at the KDP Publisher's forums, over and over again.  To help prospective publishers, I'm going to answer them here.

Do I have to register my copyright before I publish?  

No, you don't.  In the United States of America, your book is copyrighted as soon as you've completed writing it.  If your book is stolen/pirated, however, you can't file suit until the copyright is registered, which you can do with $35 and the link to ECO, the Electronic Copyright Office. Here's the link to ECO and here's a link to the Tutorial. 

Does enrolling in KDP mean I can't sell my books anywhere else?

 No, it doesn't.  If you enter your book in the KDP, you can sell it any place you'd like (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, KoboBoks, etc.).  The KDP contract does stipulate that you can't sell your eBook at a lower price anywhere else.  If Amazon discovers that you are selling your book for less somewhere else, they'll lower the price of your book (price-match) for the duration that the book is lower-priced elsewhere.  If you join KDP Select, however, then, yes--you are required to give exclusivity for 90 days in return for the features of the KDP Select Program. These features include the ability to make your book free for any five days out of the 90, and capacity to join other marketing programs. 


Where can I get free coupons that I can give away to reviewers and other people?

You can't.  The best you can do is to give the link to your book to those people to use on your KDP Select FREE Days. There is no couponing program through Amazon's KDP program.  

Will my eBook have the same fonts in it that I used in the Word file that I uploaded?

No.  Word can't "carry" fonts with it, to embed in the eBook.  If you upload a Word file, your book will have the standard look of the typical Kindle book, using the basic fonts. If you're interested in this topic, you might want to read About Fonts and Font Embedding here on the website.  If fonts are important to your book, you'll either need to learn HTML, and build your own, or hire a commercial formatter.

Does Amazon format my book for me?  

No, not unless you first buy print-formatting services on Createspace (the Amazon-owned Print on Demand company), and then pay them to "format" your eBook.  We strongly recommend that you search the Net, before you undertake this process, for complaints about formatting.

Does Amazon do automatic promotion of my book?  Like a publisher would? 


Why not? Aren't they obligated to do that? They're my publisher, right?

 Why?  Because you are the publisher--not Amazon. Amazon is your retailer, not your publisher. They're not obliged to correct your content, format your book, or do the heavy lifting of marketing your title.  This is a very common misconception, so be sure you read what I've said again. YOU are the Publisher--not Amazon. 

Why does my book say it has three rankings, but I only see two reviews?

There are two possible reasons. Amazon's provided a ranking feature, at the end of most books these days, asking "So-and-So, how would you rate this book?" with five stars sitting there.  You can tap whatever star ranking you choose.  You don't need to write a review to go with it. So lately, it's quite common to see more rankings than there are reviews. The other possible reason (I've seen this speculated on the KDP forums--I don't know this factually) is that reviews from, say, the UK will be displayed to prospective UK buyers while they won't be to USA buyers.  This is possibly a reason, although, as I said--I have no factual information on this to support the claim that this is so.  

How Can I Find Out How Many People Have Viewed My Book's Sales Page?

 You can't.  That's Amazon's information, and they aren't giving it to you.

Can I Get A List of The Email Addresses of People Who've Bought My Book?

 No.  See the question immediately above.

My Book doesn't start at the Cover?  What's Wrong?

 What's happened is that Amazon has changed the SRL ("Start Reading Location") that you set for your book.  This is often the first full page of content after the Table of Contents--in other words, the first page of Chapter 1.  There's nothing wrong with it.

My Look Inside The Book ("LITB") Is a Mess?  Doesn't Amazon Have to Fix That?

 In short, no, they don't have to fix it. The appearance of the book, both the for-sale version and the sample on display in the LITB, is your responsibility as the publisher.   The good news is, a cleanly-formatted book will present nicely in the Look Inside.  This is true whether your upload file is a Word file, an ePUB, or a formatted MOBI. You can read more about this in How Do I Fix The Look Inside the Book on Amazon? here on the website. 

I've Updated My Book.  Will Amazon  Send Out The New Book To All My Previous Buyers?

No, they won't.  If you update your book to fix typos, grammar errors, etc. (the infamous GPSS--Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling & Syntax), they won't send out new copies to existing purchasers.  Bear in mind that if a reader downloads an updated copy of your book, anything in that book that they may have highlighted, noted, or bookmarked, is all lost.  Naturally, Amazon doesn't want to do that to their customers.  If you upload a changed version of your book, you have to write to Amazon and plead your case as to why they should notify existing buyers of the changes, and why they should make the updated book available to the purchasers' library of books.  At that point, it's optional; for the readers to download the new and improved version. 


That's it for this week.  I'm going to try to post a second article with more post-publishing common questions, in a week. Thanks for reading!


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Due to the COVID-19 onslaught, we currently cannot take incoming phone calls.  

And since nobody reads anything, I've simply removed the phone number from the site.  

A notification about phone calls:  due to the COVID-19 plague, we've significantly increased our incoming inquiries--nearly double our usual volume--and the number of incoming inquiries by phone has been literally overwhelming.  Although most writers will say that their call "will only take 15 minutes," the truth is, that after 10 years of doing this, most author inquiry calls take an hour.  45 minutes at best. I'm currently receiving 7-10 calls/day, and due to that, I've had to stop accepting incoming phone calls, which my voicemail will tell you. You can leave a message--I can't call you back without one--and if a call is needed, I will of course call you.  But we have very complete and extensive email replies, handouts and our website is very informative. Almost all the questions that I receive during a call are actually already answered on our site, or are, in fact, publishing questions, not questions about our services, what we do, what we offer, or the like.  I already handle between 90-130 emails/day, as it is. I can't handle that many emails and take 7-10 hours of calls each day. I can't. So, in order to be able to answer this huge email volume, to help the greatest number of people, with my time, I've had to stop accepting calls.  I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. I'm in the process of setting up a call-appointment function, for free 15-minute calls to answer questions from new prospective customers and longer paid sessions for folks who generally want consulting on "publishing," generally (and for prospective kids' book publishers, as a special category of paid consulting).  But that functionality isn't yet set up. I hope to get that working the 3rd week of July, sometime.  

Thank you for your understanding.