It seems so simple. Publish your ebook on Kindle, then just continue to publish the print version on the same platform and interface. The ideal publishing process, right? Not so fast!
KDP Print has good intentions, but they are not yet ready for serious consideration for your print books.
To give KDP credit, they do say the program is still in beta. Traditionally that means it’s almost ready for primetime. But their concept of beta leaves a few gaping holes for serious authors. Here’s what I discovered – the hard way.
1. There is no way to purchase your paperbacks at an author’s discount. Typically if you write the book, you get to buy copies of your book for wholesale. After all, it’s YOUR book!
But KDP insists that you pay retail for copies of your books. Of course, they pay you royalties on those copies, but you’re still paying too much for your own book!
They tell us that they are “testing” an author copy discount with “selected” authors, but cannot tell us how long it will be before that program is rolled out to ALL authors. The memo announcing that they would be rolling out this program to all authors is dated September 25, 2017. As of December 20, 2017 it is still not available to all authors (confirmed by an email from KDP)
Lesson 1: If you want to buy quantities of your own book (for gifts, to sell at the back of the room, to include in bundles with other products), then do NOT use KDP Print.
2. They steal your ISBN. Okay, this is probably my fault for not believing that they would do this, but it happened!
I started to publish my book on KDP Print. I used my own ISBN and my own publishing imprint to start publication. But when I discovered I could not buy author copies at a discount I decided NOT to publish my book on KDP. So I deleted the draft of the print book from KDP, even after they warned I could not use my ISBN elsewhere. After all, it was MY ISBN. Surely they couldn’t prohibit my using my own property where I chose to.
I moved back to CreateSpace where I have published all of my prior paperbacks. I went through the publication process there, but when I submitted the files, I was told I could NOT use the ISBN I had submitted.
I called them and they confirmed I could not use the ISBN because I had used it at KDP. I told them I had submitted the files to KDP but it had not completed the publication process so the book was not published. They said it didn’t matter.
Then they transferred me to KDP and they confirmed it. Even though it was MY ISBN number, once they it had been submitted to KDP as part of the would-be publishing process, I was no longer allowed to use that ISBN to publish my book, even on CreateSpace! Essentially they stole my ISBN number and are holding it hostage!
Now to be fair, I did not attempt to submit my book to IngramSpark so I don’t know how that might have worked out. The fact is I paid for the ISBN and it doesn’t seem right that a company can prohibit you using it at their discretion.
Lesson 2: If you use your own ISBN, be very sure before you start a file on KDP Print. You can lose that ISBN at the click of a mouse!
3. CreateSpace is still the way to go. Going back to CreateSpace reminded me that their publication process is just as simple as that offered at KDP. Other than the advantage of the single accounting interface that KDP offers, I can’t see any reason to switch at this time.
Lesson 3: Keep publishing your paperbacks on CreateSpace.
I have since discovered several excellent articles and resources on the two services. I strongly recommend you read them all before you start publishing your paperback:
This excellent article on Kindlepreneur is a Must-Read for everyone! I should have started here!
KDP’s article on moving to KDP Print
Note that there are asterisks on the chart they provide indicating these features are not yet available. Also note that they do not distribute print versions to Canada!
This comparison goes a bit more into the technical aspects, but it is also dated, since some of the features listed are now available. Take it with a grain of salt.
The moral of the story is do your research before you start the publishing process. Just because it’s a trusted name for one format doesn’t mean they are ready for all of your business.