Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers a robust on-demand paperback printing capability. Rather than commit to huge volume printing, why not let KDP do it for you? Each time a customer orders a paperback on the Amazon site, KDP will fast-print a paperback and ship it directly to the customer. Ken can help prepare your book for KDP on-demand paperback printing.

KDP Print On-Demand Paperbacks

How KDP Prints Paperbacks


The Easy-Peazy Way
... But Not the Best Looking!


After your InDesign book is converted into a Kindle KPF file with the Kindle Create app, you can submit the KPF to KDP to be used for on-demand paperback printing:

Probably, the only best thing about this approach is that it works. Since the KPF is already approved for eBook use, exporting it for paperback printing won’t usually flag any errors. The bad thing about this approach is that the paperback looks very generic:

With the exception of adding page headers and footers (with page numbers), the paperback looks just like the Kindle eBook!


And what about the cover? KDP offers a cover design service, too. You select the design from a set of predefined template and enter a few  elements (title, subtitle, author name, ISBN, book description, and bio):

Taking this approach practically guarantees that your book will be easily approved by KDP for print on-demand paperbacks. It just isn’t the most exciting cover.

The Complex Way
... and the Best Looking!


Rather than using the Kindle eBook as the basis for printing, PDFs exported from the original InDesign book is preferred. The process is more complex:

Your book must conform to KDP rules for text placement, page layouts, and graphics are suitable for on-demand printing. (The same holds true for a custom cover spread.)


Don’t be surprised if your book requires several passes of fixes before it is approved for printing. On a recent project, Ken “thought” a book (manuscript and cover) was ready for print. It took four passes for KDP until it was finally approved. An example rule is that no text (or art object) can appear within .25 inches of a page margin. KDP takes into account of how the number of pages impacts the gutter width. In that case, the .25 inch rule may require additional space for the inside gutter margin.


So, why go through all of this horror? The benefit is that the paperback printing will look like the original InDesign book:

Rather than use a generic KDP cover template, your cover will look a lot more distinctive using original art. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” isn’t always true. A brilliant cover will definitely help sell your book!


Just like the rules for a book’s manuscript, KDP has strict guidelines for a cover spread. For example, no text or art objects can reside within .375 inches of the trim. The cover spread must be exactly what KDP calculates the spine width to be. (This is based on the number of pages and the grade of paper used.)


The effort to get your original book approved for on-demand paperback printing can be difficult and frustrating. Ken has the experience of going through the entire KDP submittal process.


Our Process


Ken has developed a 60-page internal “playbook” that serves as a step-by-step guide to produce a professional on-demand paperback. By following this process, the number of steps required to earn KDP approval can be minimized:

Ken recently performed a rush job with serial entrepreneur to clean up an InDesign 340-page manuscript and cover spread for uploading to the author’s  Kindle page. KDP software and staff validates the manuscript can be printed correctly. The cover spread (back cover with UPC, spine, and front cover) is also scrutinized for placement of text, art, and safe/trim dimensions. To avoid printing issues that customers may not like, the entire book's layout and quality must be close to perfect.


The manuscript was approved the very first time and the cover spread took only two passes before approval (due to the cover spine’s dependency on paper density and page count).


Click the photograph below to see how the paperback turned out (it is a GREAT read, by the way):





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