There’s nothing like holding the hardcover copy of a favorite book in your hands. It gives beautiful, professional covers the chance to come to life beyond the screen. It also becomes easier to take a book wherever you please without fear of running out of battery life. And the best part of all? That feeling when you’re holding a hardcover copy of the book that you wrote.
While figuring out how to publish a hardcover book isn’t a necessity for indie authors, it can be counted as one of those “nice to have” things. Friends, family members, and superfans alike may want to order hardcover copies to have on hand. Authors may enjoy it, too, as a physical representation of the fruits of their labor.
When publishing a hardcover book, you have two primary roads to go down: Indie publishers can do it on their own terms through Amazon KDP or by paying for one of many print-on-demand services.
If you’re trying to determine which hardcover publishing option is best for you, we have two tips to keep in mind:
- Do you exclusively publish your books through Amazon KDP? If so, we suggest publishing your hardcover book through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
- If your books are wide, print-on-demand services such as IngramSpark Publishing make it easy to publish and print your own book.
Now that you have a better understanding of which service will work for you, we’ll spend this article breaking down the fine-print details of how to publish a hardcover book on Amazon KDP. Remember, our details for doing this through print-on-demand services are spelled out in this blog post!
How Do I Publish a Hard Copy Book?
Before we break down the steps for publishing a hardcover book on Amazon KDP, let’s answer a few pressing questions:
1) How much does it cost to publish a hardcover book?
When preparing to print your hardcover book, you’ll need to keep an eye on two primary concerns: printing cost and design cost.
Since hardcover books are actual 3-D objects, there are associated costs that come with bringing them to life. Luckily, Amazon makes it easy to publish and print hardcover books directly from your KDP dashboard. They even bake printing costs into your royalties!
Here are the fixed costs Amazon sets for both black and color ink on hardcover books:
As is to be expected, printing in color has additional costs when compared to printing in black ink. Additionally, keep in mind that Amazon sets maximum list prices for hardcover books:
Minimum list prices can be calculated by dividing your printing cost by Amazon’s set royalty rate.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides to publishing hardcover books is that they accrue unique expenses. Before you can hit publish, you’ll need to plan ahead by paying for and designing a best-selling cover. We suggest working with one of the many professional book cover designers out there to ensure your cover is easy-to-read, eye-catching, and on-genre.
As you’re working to publish a hardcover book on Amazon KDP, you may see a few key terms pop up along the way:
- Dust jacket: This is the detachable cover that goes over many hardcover books. Amazon KDP does not provide these for you.
- Trim size/layout: To publish a hardcover book through Amazon KDP, you’ll need to format and upload a manuscript and cover file. These must be properly formatted to fit KDP’s standards. Check out this resource for KDP formatting tips!
- ISBN: If you’re publishing a hardcover book, you need to register an ISBN for your copyright page. For reference, paperback, eBooks, and hardcovers all necessitate unique ISBNs. As a reminder, KDP enables publishers to register an ISBN for free in the publishing process. More details on that are at this link.
2) What is the KPD royalty rate for hardcovers?
For hardcover books, Amazon KDP provides a 60% royalty rate that is paid out monthly. This is a fixed rate that applies to all hardcover copies on their site. As a reminder, printing costs are subtracted from this before payout.
How to Publish a Hardcover Book on Amazon KDP
Recently, Amazon has made it easier for authors to create hardcover books directly within the KDP dashboard.
Start from your homepage
You can choose to create a book from scratch (as seen in the top “+ Create” button) or create a hardcover book from an existing publication (as seen in the bottom arrow.)
Both processes look relatively similar. For the sake of this article, we’ll be working on a new project. Click “+ Create” to get started.
From there, click the “Create hardcover” button to begin the process.
Complete details, content, and rights & pricing information
As you can see in the screenshot above, Amazon will have you fill out three categories to begin publishing hardcover books:
- Rights & Pricing
For everyone who’s published paperbacks through Amazon KDP, the process will look remarkably similar.
Under the “Details” page, you’ll need to provide Amazon with the basic details of what language your book is written in, what the title is, who the author is, and so forth. This is also where you’ll list keywords and categories – so it’s smart to plan ahead to make Amazon KDP keywords work for you!
Next, the “Content” section is where some of the fine-print details of hardcover books, like trim size and cover finish, come into play. We suggest getting familiar with Amazon’s article on Hardcover Print Elements before you tackle this section alone.
If you’ve worked with a professional designer on the cover of your book, the “Content” section is where your vision comes to life! This is also the area with some of the greatest room for error. Margins will need to be accurate for Amazon to accurately capture your cover. Thankfully, they’ll offer plenty of help along the way.
Lastly, the “Rights & Pricing” page does exactly what it promises. Here, you’ll set the territories in which you’re publishing as well as the price of the book. This will all seem quite similar to the process of paperback publishing.
Once all of your information has been entered, send your hardcover book details off to Amazon and let them handle the rest! They’ll be in touch if any issues arise before hitting publish. If everything goes smoothly, your book should appear for sale between 72 hours and 5 days.
Should I Publish a Hardcover Book on Amazon KDP?
To reiterate, publishing a hardcover book on Amazon KDP is not a must-have for all indie authors. For many, it’s simply a nice option to provide shoppers. Publishing a hardcover book can be expensive, so it’s best to ensure the pros outweigh the cons for your particular situation.
Thankfully, Amazon makes it easy to create new hardcovers or turn existing publications into hardcovers. If at any point you want to test the waters for yourself, everything you need to get started is directly within your KDP account!
To learn more about Amazon KDP and its many intricacies, be sure to familiarize yourself with our own article on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Explained.