Is Amazon KDP Worth It? VERY Useful Advice You Need!

Trying to work your way through a maze of information to answer the question ‘Is Amazon KDP worth it’?

I feel your pain, I’ve been there!

trying to decide is amazon kdp worth it

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I have self-published both fiction and low-content books on Amazon KDP. Now I want to use my experience (and extensive research) to help you understand whether or not Amazon KDP will be worth it for you.

Before we dive in to understanding exactly what Amazon KDP is, how it works, and how you can make money from it, let me give you a general overview of the answer to your question.

Is Amazon KDP worth it?

Amazon KDP is worth it if you want to self-publish a book easily, at a low cost. But if your sole objective is to make large amounts of money, it may not be worth it. It’s possible, but the chances are fairly slim. So whether or not Amazon KDP is worth it depends on what you want to achieve on the platform.

If your focus is soley on making a good side-income, I suggest skipping to the end of this post for a better alternative.

So that’s my overall answer to the question ‘Is Amazon KDP worth it?’. But, like most things in life, it’s sometimes a bit more complicated than that!

I’m going to tell you honestly exactly what you need to know in order to understand whether or not Amazon KDP might be worth it for you. You will find other posts and YouTubers telling you that you WILL make a ton of money from it, and that’s a nicer thing to hear, but I want to be honest and realistic.

Be sure to read ’till the end because I have some interesting and profitable alternatives for you too!

What is Amazon KDP?

Since you’re here reading about whether or not Amazon KDP is worth it, I’m going to assume that you have a basic understanding of what it is.

But let’s just do a high-level overview to make sure we’re all on the same page (pardon the pun).

KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. It is basically Amazon’s self-publishing platform.

amazon kdp information page for is amazon kdp worth it

The ‘Kindle’ part can be a little misleading, because you can publish paperbacks, hardbacks and ebooks on the platform.

The actual process of publishing a book on Amazon KDP is totally free – which is amazing really!

If you can handle designing a book cover yourself, as well as writing or creating the content, then there is absolutely no financial outlay when publishing a book on Amazon KDP.

That’s because it works on a print on demand basis, so there is no cost for Amazon until a customer actually buys a copy of your book.

So if you want to create a book yourself, purely for the satisfaction of publishing it and having your story or information ‘out there’, then of course Amazon KDP is totally worth it. That’s a no-brainer.

But self-publishing on Amazon KDP isn’t limited to fiction and non-fiction written works.

You can also publish low-content books such as journals with prompts, or even no-content books like notebooks.

How do you make money on Amazon KDP?

Because Amazon KDP has no financial outlay if you don’t outsource any of the work, any sales you make are directly profitable.

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And the royalties on your sales can be very high, ranging from 40% right up to 70%.

So you can see how this can be a very attractive business model!

Technically then, so long as you make at least one sale of a book you’ve published on Amazon KDP, you’ve made money. In that sense, it’s almost guaranteed that you can make some money on KDP.

To make significant amounts of money on Amazon KDP, there are three main strategies that most people use:

  1. Write a book, fiction or non-fiction, and hope that it’s a hit best-seller. You might have a small amount of financial outlay, for example cover design or illustrations.
  2. Outsource the writing of several books, preferably a lot of books, and aim to make more money on the sales than you’ve spent on the writing.
  3. Create a high volume of low-content books or no-content books that sell in large enough volumes to make a good profit.

All of these strategies can work. However, all of these strategies can also fail.

How much money can you make on Amazon KDP?

how much money can you make on amazon kdp image

There are lots of Amazon KDP success stories out there, and of course there’s no reason you shouldn’t be one of them.

However there are also lots of Amazon KDP creators who have made only very small amounts of money.

The most likely scenario, if you work hard at this business model, is that you’ll make a small side income.

However it is very difficult to predict.

Imagine you were asking the question, ‘how much money can I make from being an actor?’

Well, I wouldn’t want to discourage you because there’s no particular reason you couldn’t be the next Jennifer Lawrence or Denzel Washington. You stand as good a chance as anyone else if you work hard, have talent, and some good luck comes your way. In that case you would make HUGE amounts of money!

But if we were to look at the cold hard statistics, I would have to tell you that it’s more likely that you’ll make only an average income from acting.

It’s the same with Amazon KDP. You can succeed, it’s totally possible to make a very good income from Amazon KDP and have lots of fun in the process. But unfortunately, if you’re asking ‘Is Amazon KDP worth it?’ from a purely financial perspective, the answer is more often ‘no’.

So if your sole objective is to make a good side-income through Amazon KDP, I suggest scrolling to the end of this post for a better alternative.

The reason Amazon KDP often doesn’t result in huge profits is partly because of the fact that you have A LOT of competition on Amazon, so just getting potential customers to see your book for sale can be very difficult.

Particularly when it comes to low-content and no-content books.

Because publishing this type of book on KDP is such an attractive business model, and so achievable for most people (see the next section), one could say that the market is now saturated.

The flip side of this is that Amazon is such a huge market place that you could have access to millions of potential customers – if your book shows up in the listings when they run a search.

How easy is Amazon KDP?

It can actually be very easy to publish on Amazon KDP!

Particularly if you’re creating a low-content or no-content book.

Let’s look at an example. Bear in mind that this isn’t intended to be a tutorial, just a walk-through of the process!

Say I want to create a notebook to publish and sell. Which, incidentally, I have done many many times.

First I would go to Canva and design my notebook cover. I happen to have a premium subscription to Canva, but the free version does just fine initially. There are other similar platforms you can use, I just like Canva.

You can find all the options for the various dimensions you can use for different sized notebooks within the KDP platform.

It can take a little while to understand how Canva works and what you need to do, but it’s really very easy and they provide lots of tutorials for support.

Here’s an example of some notebook covers I made on Canva.

is amazon kdp worth it image of notebook designs

Then, after a brief time spent navigating how the KDP publishing platform works, I would upload my cover design.

After that, I’d upload a file of lined notebook paper – you can find such files easily available from various sources on line.

Then I would spend some time researching what keywords to use in my notebook description and the behind the scenes ‘back-end’ section of the KDP platform. Plenty of good YouTube videos out there to teach you how to do keyword research for KDP.

Finding good keywords can be rather boring and time consuming, but I certainly wouldn’t say it was difficult. And it’s an essential part of the process because your keywords can determine whether or not your book shows up for various customer search terms.

Then I input my keywords and book description, decide on pricing, and ta-dah… my book is published on Amazon!

The process is essentially the same for fiction and non-fiction books, except that there is also the rather important step of writing the book to consider!

How much time does Amazon KDP take?

Another tricky question to answer!!

Of course, it depends on what you are creating on the platform.

If you include the time it takes to write a novel, it’s obviously going to take a while. Creating a notebook though… well it would depend on how detailed your cover design was, but let’s say about an hour for the whole process. That’s once you’ve mastered the KDP platform and working with Canva.

writing a book for amazon kdp

But then with notebooks (or low-content books), you really want to be aiming to create hundreds of them to make up for the lower potential for large numbers of sales and lower profit (assuming you price them lower than a regular content book).

Then you have to take into account how much time you can dedicate to the process. If you’re able to work on this full time you can potentially achieve a lot in six months. But if you have to hustle in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed, you’ll likely achieve less in the same time frame.

So I said it was a tricky question to answer – maybe we should change that to impossible!

And of course if you’re adopting the business model of outsourcing everything to publish lots of books… well then it’s a whole different ball game!

What are the risks with Amazon KDP?

Most importantly, you don’t have to pay to publish your books on Amazon KDP.

So in that respect it is extremely low-risk, particularly if you compare it to some self-publishing companies that charge extortionate amounts.

We can therefore say that if you’re publishing a book for your own satisfaction, and you’re doing it all yourself, Amazon KDP is zero risk financially.

Of course, if you outsource the work, you risk losing that money. It’s a gamble that may or may not pay off.

Then there’s the time – you risk ‘losing’ hundreds of hours spent working on your book or books.

That’s not just the time itself you might lose, it’s also the income you might have been making doing something else (more on that in a moment).

With that said, you will be learning new skills and you might really enjoy doing it (as I do).

How to start a blog step by step guide

This page uses affiliate links – if you click on a link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you; as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases – thank you!

And there is one very significant risk that you might not have thought of.

There is a very real risk of Amazon terminating your KDP account, in which case you could lose everything.

In theory this shouldn’t happen unless you breach copyright or do something that violates Amazon’s specified rules and standards.

However there are many cases of KDP users having their accounts suspended or permanently terminated when they’ve not knowingly done anything wrong.

I’ve had my account suspended before for allegedly breaching copyright on a notebook. I definitely didn’t as I designed it myself, so I have no idea why it was flagged as suspicious.

I assume that these ‘violations’ are picked up on by a ‘bot’ in the first instance (rather than a person), and the bot makes mistakes!

Since it was just a notebook, I simply removed it from sale and managed to resolve the problem, but others have not been so fortunate.

Something to consider before you put all your eggs in one basket.

So, is Amazon KDP worth it?

I hope that by now you can see that it’s a really difficult question to answer!

But coming back to my answer right at the start of this post, my opinion is this…

Amazon KDP is totally worth it if you want to publish a book for your own satisfaction and to get your work ‘out there’.

Amazon KDP is not necessarily worth it if you want to use the platform to make lots of money… but at the same time it is true that some people do make a good income from publishing books on KDP.

What is the best way to make money on-line?

If you were trying to decide whether or not Amazon KDP is worth it purely because you want to make money on-line, there is a much better way!

My suggestion is that you simply create a blog – you can make an excellent passive income if you go about this the right way.

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It’s also a scaleable model – I have created multiple successful profitable blogs.

It’s also very inexpensive to get started (so long as you do it the right way and don’t get ripped off!) and it’s not at all difficult when you have the right advice – really!

I had no techie knowledge at all when I created my first blog. But once I got my head round it I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it and how quickly I started to make money.

So, while I’m not suggesting you abandon Amazon KDP, my recommendation is that starting your own blog is a much more reliable way to start making money on-line, if making money is your main objective.

You can get started right away on bluehost, or you can read more about my own experience of starting to make money with my first blog. Along with some invaluable advice, and links to my own easy step by step guide to walk you through the whole process of getting started up (I really recommend following it, you’ll struggle to find as detailed and helpful a guide anywhere else for free :)).

I hope this post has helped you to decide whether or not Amazon KDP is worth it for you.

I’d love to know what you decide!

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  1. Brad Ellis
    February 8, 2023 / 8:33 pm

    If KDP pubslishing is asking for money, am I getting conned?

    • Tara
      March 16, 2023 / 10:00 am

      Hello Brad, thanks for your comment and I’m sorry for the late response, it had gone to my spam! I’m not sure what you mean, can you give me more detail on what you’re being asked to pay for, if you’re still having an issue? I hope you’ve resolved it, but let me know if not and I’ll try to help 🙂

  2. November 1, 2023 / 9:26 pm

    Hello, I published my first hardcover on Amazon, but haven’t seen a proof yet, what is the quality of the print? I found conflicting reviews.

    • Tara
      December 28, 2023 / 7:35 pm

      Hey, I’m sorry for just replying to your comment! I would love to know what your thoughts were once you got your proofs, hope it all went well for you! 🙂

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