Ever since KDP announced an upcoming price increase for their Print on Demand (POD) services, I’ve seen mass hysteria about what this will mean for authors and publishers who use this service.
And no wonder. When I googled “KDP Print Price Increase” this morning the top headlines were inflammatory.
“KDP Royalties Will Decrease by 35%”
“KDP Print Price Increases Will Affect Us All!”
“AMAZON KDP PRINT COSTS TIME SENSITIVE”
While each of those claims hold truth, they do not paint a full (or realistic) picture of how the upcoming print price increase on KDP will affect most users. Instead, they “hype” the issue, inciting panic among authors and publishers.
There really is no need for that, friends. Promise.
Don’t Panic, Look at the Facts
Change often leads to the unknown and the unknown can be scary. But this price change at KDP? It’s not scary at all when we look at the facts.
- For the first time since 2016, KDP print prices will increase June 20th.
- The average user will see minimal cost increases, and therefore minimal royalty decreases.
- All users have the option (and ample time) to increase their retail sales price to absorb production cost increases if they so choose.
- While competitive pricing is important, the average reader is unlikely to change their purchasing habits based on a small price increase should you decide to increase the retail price of your books.
Minimal Changes for Many
“Regular” trim size paperbacks printed in black and white will see minimal increases.
Since most middle grade, YA and adult fiction titles, and a good chunk of non-fiction titles are printed as 5” x 8” or 6” x 9”, many authors using KDP to print their books will fall into this category.
Case Study: Regular Trim Size, Black and White Printing
6” x 9” BW novel print price increase from $5.72 to $5.87, a total of 15-cents. The resulting royalty decrease is just over 3%.
Who Will Be Most Affected
While the average publisher printing “regular” trim sized novels or books will not see a notable change, there are a few publishers who will see noticeable increase in their print prices and therefore a decrease in their royalties.
- Children’s book authors
- Cookbook authors
- Low-content book publishers
- Those who have workbooks
The reason for this is because the biggest print price changes will be books printed in color and for books with “large trim sizes.”
Large trim sizes as defined by KDP are, “Larger than 6.12 inches (155 mm) in width or 9 inches (229 mm) in height.”
If you fall into this category, you will likely experience royalty decreases ranging from 10-35% depending on your print and trim options.
Case Study: Large Trim Size, Black and White Printing
8” x 10” black and white workbook print price increase from $2.17 to $2.87, a 70-cent difference. The resulting royalty decrease is just under 9%.
As you can see, the larger trim size black and white printed book sees a more significant print price increase, but royalty decreases stay under 10%. The publisher might consider a retail price increase to offset costs, but the loss is overall manageable in this case.
Case Study: Large Trim Size, Color Printing
8.5” x 8.5” color picture book print price increase from $3.65 to $4.20, a 55-cent difference. The resulting royalty decrease is approximately 23%.
This is one group of KDP users where an increase in retail price seems inevitable to avoid significant losses. However, we are talking an increase of $1, maybe $2 which isn’t likely to scare off customers.
How This Affects YOU
The best place to gather specific information on how KDP print prices will affect your titles, is to visit your KDP dashboard.
Navigate to the book you would like to check, click on the ellipses next to “order author copies” and select “Edit print book pricing” from the menu.
Here you will see your current print pricing, print pricing after June 20th and royalty differences.
Adjusting Retail Prices
While we hope most authors and publishers haven’t been undervaluing their books to the point of negative royalties when the KDP print price increase goes into effect, we do understand that KDP users may choose to increase their prices to counteract the increased production costs.
In that event, you have two options.
- Change your pricing right in the book set-up as shown above.
- Take advantage of the bulk pricing update from KDP. This one-time use feature will increase all of your titles retail pricing to maintain your royalty after the print price changes go into effect.
Do keep in mind this may mean your retail prices will increase by odd numbers. For example, your $9.99 book might increase to $10.24.
Still Have Questions?
A valuable (and reliable) resource is the KDP Print Cost Changing FAQ found here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GPGVYM9KWTYLD2GD
I also invite you to comment below or join us any Friday at 10am EST for Free Advice Fridays to get your questions about book marketing, publishing and the KDP print price increase answered live.