Amazon KDP Self-Publishing–All Costs & Fees Explained

In the last few years, self-publishing is becoming more and more popular. If you also want to publish a book, this post will guide you on the right path. The Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) self-publishing portal is unique among all the platforms that enable indie authors to sell the digital version and Paperbacks of their book.

The best part of self-publishing on Amazon is there are no charges to upload the file or publish the book. Also, it provides a royalty plan of 35% to 70% on sales price depending upon the country.

KDP uses the format known as “Mobi” for digital books. You can use Mobi instead of Word or any other Format because it keeps all the data intact. KDP is the most widely used portal by authors. A survey of 2018 shows that 37% of authors use KDP for self-publishing.

How much Sales Commission Amazon KDP Charges:

Amazon charges a sales commission from your book earning as you are selling by their store, not directly to the reader. Like other stores, Amazon also makes a profit from your selling. Amazon’s sales commission is based on the royalty plan that you choose.

  • 35% Royalty: The Amazon sales commission is 65% for books below $2.99 and above $9.99.
  • 70% Royalty: The Amazon sales commission is 30% for books between $2.99 and $9.99.

There are certain rules and exceptions regarding 70% royalty, you might take into consideration. Not all the books are eligible for 70% royalty. Moreover, there is a list of countries or territories which pay only 30% royalty to sales.

Other Costs to consider for Self-Publishing:

When self-publishing your book, you will have to face seven major costs. All these costs are applicable from editing to printing, depending upon your budget and book. All these costs vary from eBooks to Paperbacks.

Book Editing and Proofreading

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Amazon KDP doesn’t provide any kind of tool to proofread a book. You can do it by yourself or hire an editor.

If you are a good writer and have writing experience you can self-edit with tools like Grammarly, or may have a person who goes through the book for you.

But one thing to note is a good editor will help you become a better writer so it may be a good investment.

When it comes to editing there are three main types to make a book worth reading. From easiest to most difficult ones, these are listed as Proofreading, Copyediting, and Developmental Editing. You can get proofreading done for about $0.01 per word, depending upon the length of your manuscript. Copyediting will cost you between $0.02-0.04 per word. While developmental editing can cost $0.08 or more per word.

Cover Designs and Images

The next cost after Editing is cover designs. Many options are available depending upon your budget and experience. If you are familiar with Graphic designing you can use free tools like KDP Cover Creator or Canva. The cover creator provides a variety of fonts and layouts to customize a design for your eBook and Paperback.

You can use images from the cover creator image gallery or upload an image of your own. But if you don’t have skills in graphics designing, hiring a designer is the best alternative. You can find a beginner cover designer on Fiverr or Upwork for as low as $5.

A mid-level one will run you from $300 to $900 and top-level will charge $1000 to $3000 depending upon your budget. If you are writing fantasy books for children with a whole new world, hire an illustrator. He will create a map of your world that you can use inside of the book. Try to give the reader the best possible experience.

Book Formatting

Book formatting is an important step in self-publishing. Manuscript formatting is about presenting your eBook in a way that appeals to the reader. It may be free or of cost. Amazon KDP provides the tool Kindle Create for free formatting of the book.

It provides a vast world of designed themes with chapter titles. Kindle Create will automatically find the titles from your content while preparing it for publishing. Maybe you don’t know how to use Kindle Create then formatting will be of cost for you. Typically, a simple format for a fiction or non-fiction book will cost you anywhere between $50 to $200 depending upon how large is your book.

If you have a complex book with a lot of images and visuals, then the charges will be higher. You can save the fees of formatting if you learn it in Microsoft Word, it is pretty simple. Once your manuscript is completely turned into an eBook, you can preview it on Kindle Previewer.

Printing Cost

KDP has various parameters to calculate the cost of printing Paperbacks. This is subtracted from your royalty, no need to pay extra money. Cost of printing is affected by the number of pages in your book and which ink (black or color) you are using. Three ink and page types are available. It also depends upon the country from where the book is ordered.

There are two ways of calculating printing cost:

  1. Amazon KDP Calculator will automatically calculate the cost of printing according to your print options
  2. Use this formula to calculate the cost of printing paperback   Fixed cost + (page count * per page cost) = Printing cost

Delivery Cost

Amazon KDP charges a delivery cost for each Paperback sold. It costs $0.15 per MB of a book between the price of $2.99 and $9.99. In other words, a minimum of 1 cent in costs per delivery. No delivery cost applies to books price below $2.99 or above $9.99.

You can roughly calculate the delivery cost by formulae. But the best way is to upload the file on the KDP pricing page and the tool will tell the exact cost.


It is a major cost that publishers have to afford to make a book for the best-selling. Most authors focus on the following marketing platforms:

  • Their Email lists
  • Promotional websites like book bub or the fussy librarian
  • Running ads on Facebook or Amazon

This cost is optional and depends on what are the author’s goals. If you want to hit a best-seller list, then choose a smart marketing strategy. These marketing options range from $20 to $2000. The goal of marketing your self-published book is to make sure that you are spending money to reach the right type of reader, not wasting money.

Book Tax

All the publishers must provide valid taxpayer information to comply with the US rules and regulations. To publish a book, you have to go to a tax interview. Tax withholding varies from the US to the Non-US publisher.

For US publishers, there is no tax withholding on royalty payment if they provide authentic tax information in the interview.

For the non-US publisher, the tax withholding is 30% on royalty payment for sales in US stores. If the publisher country has an income tax treaty with the US, they are eligible for a reduced tax rate.

With all these costs considered, is it worth publishing a book on Amazon?

No doubt, it is worth publishing a book on Amazon. Because it is Free to use, has a wide reach, and decent royalty structure. If you have fair friends and following then it will benefit you a lot in promoting the book for sales. If you are a beginner, then you must publish at least one book on Amazon and you’ll recognize it worth self-publishing on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Amazon KDP Self-Publishing–All Costs & Fees Explained”

  1. Pingback: What are the Best Self-Publishing Platforms for eBooks? - Selfpublished Whiz

  2. Brain Sawyer

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