Amazon KDP Author Copies: An Essential Guide

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Whether you’re looking to resell your book externally, organize a social media giveaway, or simply showcase your work, Amazon KDP author copies are a great option.

Now, you may be wondering what exactly an author copy is. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Amazon KDP author copies, including the biggest benefits of ordering author copies and how they differ from proof copies. Now, let’s dive in.

What Are Author Copies?

If you’re a book author, Amazon KDP allows you to buy author copies of your book to resell outside the platform, give away to loyal readers, or use for marketing purposes.

Author copies are retail copies of your published Amazon paperback or hardcover book. These copies look exactly the same as the books your readers receive when ordering straight from Amazon. However, author copies are usually cheaper, because the KDP author only has to pay printing costs, shipping fees, and applicable taxes.

Proof Copy vs. Author Copy

An author copy is not the same as a proof copy. There are a few small yet significant differences between author and proof copies, including resale rights.

While you can resell author copies outside of Amazon, proof copies are strictly intended for proofreading and reviewing purposes; authors are not allowed to resell them.

In fact, proof copies have a banner around them stating “Not For Resale”, so you should only use them to review your book for any writing errors or formatting issues.

Comparison Example: Ken Britz – Invisible Enemy

Benefits of Author Copies

There are many benefits to ordering author copies of your book from Amazon KDP. Here are the seven biggest benefits:

Sell Your Books Outside of Amazon

Selling your book outside of Amazon’s marketplaces is by far the greatest benefit of author copies. It gives you the unique opportunity to sell your book for full retail price, unlike on the Amazon marketplace, where you only collect 60% of the list price. Selling your books externally on your website and in bookshops also gives you the opportunity to build a reputable personal brand.

To sell printed copies of your book, you need to have an ISBN (Industry Standard Book Number). While you can get a free ISBN from KDP, there are some potential issues you should be aware of. 

For instance, per Amazon’s terms, you cannot use free ISBNs from KDP outside of their publishing service. So, if you intend on selling your author copies outside of Amazon, your best bet is to buy and register your own ISBN.

Organize a Giveaway

Giveaways are a great way to spread the word about your book. Whether you decide to give your author copies to social media followers or members of your community, you can ensure that your books will end up in the hands of your target readership. 

In addition to being an excellent way to reward your followers, giveaways are also a smart strategy for gaining more readers. This is because the giveaway itself will likely attract more of the right people to your profile.

Send to Book Reviewers

Since proof copies come with a “Not For Resale” label on the cover, they’re not ready to be professionally reviewed. However, author copies look exactly the same as what your buyers would receive, so you can send them off to book reviewers to get their feedback. 

Getting your book reviewed is incredibly important for building a reputation as a new author, so it’s important to take this initiative.

Send to Influencers

Another essential part of your marketing strategy as an author is influencer marketing. Influencers typically have loyal followers that pay close attention to what they buy, read, and recommend.

Consider sending complimentary copies of your book to the biggest influencers in your niche to increase your chances of getting a recommendation from them. Receiving an endorsement from a popular influencer could have a massive impact on your book launch.

Donate to Related Organizations

Depending on the topic of your book, you can consider donating it to relevant organizations and charities. Not only will this be a huge boost to your brand, but it will also mean a lot to people who may not be able to afford your book will have the opportunity to read it.

Give as Gift

Once you have written a book, your friends and family will likely be dying to read it. Ordering author copies gives you the chance to surprise your loved ones by giving them your book as a gift.

Keep for Yourself

Ultimately, one of the biggest incentives for ordering author copies is keeping one or more for yourself. Show your book off in your living room and give yourself a pat on the back every time you see it. You deserve it!

How to Order Author Copies on Amazon KDP

Once your book has been published, you can order author copies of your book from the KDP Bookshelf. You can order a maximum of 999 author copies per order. If you want to order more, you have to place a separate order. 

Keep in mind that you may need to order your author copies from a different Amazon marketplace in some countries. For instance, the marketplaces in Japan, Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden do not currently offer author copies, so you need to order them from a different marketplace. Check out this help section on choosing the right marketplace for your region.

Video Tutorial: Ordering Author Copies on Amazon KDP

Here’s how to order author copies step by step:

1. Open your KDP Bookshelf.

2. Select a specific book by clicking on the ellipsis icon.

3. Click “Order Author Copies”.

4. Enter order quantity. There’s no minimum order quantity. The maximum amount is 999 units per order.

5. Select your marketplace. For example, select to deliver author copies to the United States, Canada (hardcover proof and author copies), and Brazil.

6. Submit Order.

7. Check out through your Amazon shopping cart. A quick reminder that author copy orders don’t qualify for free or Prime shipping.

Shipping and Delivery of Author Copies

Now that you’ve successfully ordered your author copies, you’re likely wondering how long it takes for Amazon KDP to ship and deliver them to you. 

Most authors report a shipping time of around 1-2 weeks for author copies, but sometimes it can take even longer than that. Once you place your order, you should see a delivery estimate on the last page at the checkout before you click “Place your order.”

Prime Shipping for Author Copies

But what if you need your author copy order to arrive faster? You could try this non-official method to get your books delivered via Prime shipping:

All you need to do is head over to your KDP dashboard and edit your book’s pricing for the marketplace in which you are purchasing. Choose the minimum price and click to publish your paperback book. Then, switch over to your buyer’s account to search for the book.

If the new price is not immediately visible, wait a couple of minutes or refresh the page a few times until you see the change. Then, choose the number of books you want to order and go to checkout. Once you’re finished, make sure to return to your KDP bookshelf to reset the price of your book.

How Much Do Author Copies Cost?

Now for perhaps the most pressing question: How much does it cost to order author copies of your book?

As we mentioned earlier, costs include printing, shipping, and applicable taxes. That said, the printing cost depends on several factors, including:

  • The marketplace your author copy will be printed in
  • Page count
  • Book type (paperback or hardcover)
  • Interior type (black ink or color ink, standard, premium, etc.)

You can use our free Book Royalty Calculator to determine your approximate printing costs. For example, let’s say your book with 150 pages has a list price of $14.99 on the marketplace.

For a book that costs $14.99 on, you would pay around $2.15 for printing costs (excluding shipping and taxes).

What if I Have Issues With My Author Copies?

There are some potential Amazon KDP author copy issues that you could encounter. For instance, you could experience quality issues like misprints, damaged products, defective or lost copies, etc. 

For some book defects, Amazon offers a refund or replacement. Not every book will qualify for a refund, however. For example, if your copy has blank pages, in the end, it’s not eligible for a refund because blank pages are an expected variance. 

You can find a detailed table here to check if you should contact Amazon support for a refund. If you do decide to contact Amazon KDP Support for help, make sure you include images of the defect, product ID, and other relevant details such as ISBN, etc.  

Another common issue is ordering the wrong quantity of books at the checkout. This problem is easily solved. You just need to go to your cart or basket and change the number of copies you want. 

Some KDP authors don’t have the option to order author copies from their KDP Bookshelf. This is usually because their book is not yet at “Live” status. If your book is not available for sale on Amazon, you won’t be able to order author copies. If you’ve just published it for sale, you need to wait 24 hours for it to go live.

Grow Further on Your Journey

While Amazon is a great place to launch your writing career, there’s still so much more you can do for your personal brand. Connect with your local library or bookshop. Consider selling on other online marketplaces. Or create your own website where you’ll have a chance to grow your online presence. 

If you want to become a prominent book author, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only Amazon. Author copies can open a world of possibilities for your book. They are a vital tool for building a compelling and long-lasting author brand.

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