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What’s It Like To Own a Kindle Book Business?

Nick Chi August 5, 2022

All About Owning a KDP Business

Are you interested in owning a business that sells products but you don’t want to deal with buying or managing physical inventory?

Or maybe you’ve wanted to sell digital products, but lack the technical experience to create them.

Or perhaps you just want a hands-off business that can generate thousands of dollars per month without requiring significant delegation or continuous maintenance.

If this describes you, then publishing ebooks on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) might be the business model you’ve been looking for. In this article, we’ll discuss what’s involved in building, operating, and growing a Kindle book business.

By the end of this, you should have a better idea as to whether this business model might be right for you.

To start, let’s discuss what a KDP business is.

What Is The KDP Business Model?

Similar to how Amazon Seller Central is the platform business owners use to sell physical products on Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing is a publishing platform created by Amazon that allows authors and content creators to publish their own books and sell them on Amazon.com.

People sell all types of books from romance novels, to cookbooks, to children’s coloring books.

They can be purchased as ebooks that customers download to their Kindle device, computer, or mobile device or purchased as print-on-demand, where Amazon prints a hard copy of your book and ships it to the customer.

Building and Operating a KDP Business

To help you determine if you’d be interested in owning this business model, let’s talk about what it looks like to build and operate a KDP business:

Choose a niche and book topics

To get started, you’ll need to determine the type of books you want to create. Some niches can be highly profitable though also very competitive.

A common model for choosing niches is to find book niches/topics with high enough search volume/demand and low enough competition.

To help with book research and identify opportunities for entering niches, you can also use tools with both free and paid versions. You can also use Amazon’s search bar to see what auto-fills, as the auto-fill section is produced from customer searches.

Creating the book contents

You can create the contents of the book yourself or hire freelance writers to produce the books under your pen names.

Some KDP owners decide to create low-content books that can be easily and inexpensively produced, while others choose to create more complex books with a higher entry barrier.

When choosing book content, you’ll also want to ensure you’re abiding by KDP’s content guidelines.

Designing the book cover and interiors

If you’re fine with a simpler book cover, you can design the covers yourself using a point-and-click tool like Canva or if you’re slightly more design savvy, you can use a program like Adobe Illustrate.

Otherwise, you can hire designers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork to design book covers and interiors.

Creating an account and uploading your book to KDP

You can create an account on the KDP homepage.

When creating an account, you will want to make sure you’re following KDP’s uploading guidelines for uploading the files.

Most importantly, you want to ensure your book does not infringe on copyright rules, which includes not using someone else’s cover or interior designs, not using phrases that are copyright protected, and of course not plagiarizing materials.

Performing Daily Account Operations

KDP business operations are similar to selling a physical product on Amazon FBA.

Your goal is to rank organically by using keywords that customers search for, drive sales and build positive reviews for your books, and improve your Amazon Best Seller Rank (BSR) as a result.

Amazon BSR indicates your ranking amongst other books within your category. The lower your BSR (closer to #1), the more favorable your organic ranking will be, which means you’ll be closer to the top of page one when people search for your type of book, thereby increasing your organic sales as a result.

How to grow this business model

So let’s say you’ve bought a KDP business on the Empire Flippers marketplace, or you built one from scratch and now you want to know how to grow the business.

Here are five common methods other KDP store owners have used to grow their businesses:

Creating more books:
It’s common for KDP businesses listed on the Empire Flippers marketplace to have dozens or hundreds of books.

For some businesses, only a few books contribute to a majority of the business’s revenue. Your first book may not be your best-selling book, and you should expect to create many books with the expectation that a handful will drive far more profit than others.

Running advertising campaigns:
Your KDP account has a built-in advertising platform called Amazon Marketing Services (AMS).

Running advertising, especially in the early stages of the business, can help to increase sales, accelerate how quickly your books receive reviews, and help you achieve a stronger BSR.

Repurposing content into audiobooks and publishing them on ACX:
ACX is the platform that audiobook makers use to publish their books onto Amazon’s audiobook platform, Audible.

Audiobooks can be a great way to create more products with the books you already have. Also, many people choose to listen to their books rather than read them, so by expanding your book selection into audiobooks, you’re accessing a demographic that may not have purchased your book otherwise.

Publishing your books on other platforms:
Besides Amazon, other popular platforms for publishing your books include sites like Draft2Digital, IngramSpark, and FindawayVoices.

Advertising your books off of Amazon:
Building a following and email list can work particularly well if you’re releasing a series and you have fans that want to know when the next book will be released.

You can also advertise via social media, like Facebook groups or pages.

Pros and Cons

As with any business model, there are pros and cons to the KDP business model. Here are some points to consider to help you determine if this business model is right for you:

Pros

Low upfront cost:
Selling digital books KDP is like experiencing the benefits of manufacturing and selling your own products, but without needing to purchase inventory.

You will still potentially be paying for the creation or designing of the books and may have other expenses like advertising costs, but these costs will likely be much smaller than purchasing physical goods.

Hands-off:
When selling on the KDP platform, Amazon handles a majority of the services, including the selling, shipping, and handling of returns for products.

Additionally, unlike a content site where it helps to continuously post new content, an Amazon KDP store doesn’t require you to do this since you’re selling books. That is, of course, unless you are selling seasonal or time-specific books such as calendars.

Cons

Greater competition in low barrier niches:
Low-content books are easier and less expensive to create, but this also comes with a greater level of competition. If you choose the low-content route, this may require you to produce larger quantities of books. Otherwise, you can choose to sell in more complex categories, such as books that require specific knowledge or skillsets.

You are at the mercy of Amazon and its terms of service:
Similar to selling physical products through Amazon FBA or if you’re monetizing a content site through Amazon Associates, if you’re selling anything on Amazon’s platforms you must abide by Amazon’s terms of service. Individual books or your entire account can be suspended if you’re seen as being in violation of Amazon’s policies.

It can take a while to get paid:
A payout for a book can occur 2-3 months after its sale. This is doable due to the relatively low overhead costs of the business model, but just keep in mind when you actually get paid if you plan to use the revenue for growth such as for ad campaigns or paying freelance writers.

Who might like this business model

While the low barrier to entry makes it easy for most people to start a KDP business, there are certain skillsets or characteristics that could make someone a particularly strong fit for this business model. Here are a few of those characteristics:

Writers or people who enjoy writing:
Before Amazon KDP existed, publishing a single book could’ve cost thousands of dollars. If you like writing or you’ve wanted to publish books, it’s now more affordable and easier than ever to do so. If you have writing skills or just enjoy writing, publishing your work can be a way to monetize this ability.

Those with design skills:
Those with design skills can potentially create slightly more sophisticated low-content books or can design their own covers and interiors. Designers can also potentially produce higher volumes of books than competitors who must pay designers to produce books that are mostly design-centered (i.e. coloring books).

Those who don’t want to deal with inventory:
Selling a digital book and specifically on the Amazon KDP platform is similar to the ecommerce business model but without the risk or upfront cost of buying inventory.

Build or Buy a KDP Business?

A KDP business can be a great business model to build, but also a great business to buy. Buying a KDP business saves significant time and risk by enabling you to start with a business that has a collection of books that are validated within the market, has a proven sales history, and potentially has strong customer ratings that place the books firmly ahead of its competitors.

Feel free to check out the Empire Flippers marketplace of KDP businesses for sale if you’re interested in this path.

You can also schedule a call with one of our sales advisors to determine if a KDP business might be a good fit for you and your specific goals.


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