Category Archives: Amazon

Amazon to Publish Kindle Scout Books

Amazon has turned to crowdsourcing in order to choose its newest selection of books for publication. Utilizing a reader-powered publishing platform called Kindle Scout, Amazon’s Kindle Press will publish books that have been voted on by readers. If a book generates enough interest and receives enough votes in the thirty day campaign period, the author will receive a publishing contract with Kindle Press.

If a book is selected by Kindle Press, the author will receive a five-year renewable publishing contract, a $1,500 advance, and will receive 50% of all e-book royalties. Although Kindle will have the e-book and audio rights to the book, the author will keep other rights, including print rights to the book. If an author is not pleased with the results that they have received during their time with Kindle Press and doesn’t earn $25,000 within the five year span, the author can stop publishing with Kindle Press. There is also a rights revision period after two years if a book under performs at that point as well. Alongside the publishing contract, Amazon will offer marketing for the books that are being published through Kindle Press.

There have been a slew of books that have been voted upon and the first ten of these books will be published by Kindle Press on March 3. Kindle Scout is continuously accepting manuscripts to be voted on and it does not limit the number of applicants. The number of books published using Kindle Press will undoubtedly grow in the near future.

I think that what Kindle Press is doing through Kindle Scout is really innovative and is changing the way publishing works. Not only is it a great opportunity for unpublished authors who have not been able to secure a literary agent, but it is a new option for an independent author who is interested in broadening their readership with their next book. If an independent author submits their manuscript to Kindle Scout, they may have a better chance of receiving feedback and notice than if they decided to self publish on their own.

I really do like the idea of the readers choosing what books should be published because ultimately, it’s the readers who are going to be purchasing the books. Last month, an independent publishing press called Kensington Publishing Corp. announced that it was hosting a crowdsourced writing competition. The manuscripts with the most votes would have the chance to earn a publishing contract with Kensington Publishing Corp.

Now with this announcement from Amazon, it seems like crowdsourcing is becoming increasingly popular as a new means of publication. Although I don’t think that the major publishing houses will respond to this trend, I will be interested to see if any other independent presses begin to adopt the practice.

If you have any thoughts or opinions about Kindle Scout, please share them in the comments. If you would like to learn more about the Kindle Scout program, click here.

Until next week,


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Amazon Allows Educators to Self Publish Textbooks

In September 2014, Amazon introduced a new branch of Kindle Digital Publishing with KDP Kids. Now, Amazon is taking self publishing a step further and allowing educators to self publish their own textbooks and lessons using the Kindle Digital Publishing platform.

Last week, Amazon introduced KDP EDU, which is designed to produce, publish, and promote textbooks and educational content to students around the world. According to Amazon, KDP EDU gives educators a new way to prepare and publish different types of educational content, from textbooks to complex visual information. Utilizing the Textbook Creator, educators will be able to publish textbooks, course notes, study guides, charts, graphs, and equations. The Textbook Creator also has special features built in for students such as a dictionary look-up, notebook, highlighting capabilities, and flashcards.

I think that this new platform is quite groundbreaking. The digital classroom has never been more prominent, whether at the primary or university level, and Amazon is allowing educators to provide students with educational content in a much more efficient way than before. Not only will students have more educational tools at their fingertips, but they will have this at a lower cost as well. Digital textbooks are much less expensive than their hardcover counterparts and the capabilities that KDP EDU has can enable a student to get the most out of their digital textbook. In terms of efficiency, students will not need to purchase or create hundreds of flashcards for classes and instead, they can use the built in features of these digital textbooks.

KDP EDU could also be used as a tutoring tool as well as an instructional tool. Educators may publish educational content over standardized tests, such as AP tests, or the ACT or SAT, and students all over the world would have access to it. Because digital books are cheaper, this would save students the money that a physical study guide would cost. If a student is struggling in math, they could search through the KDP EDU produced lessons in order to find a piece of educational content that may teach them what their teacher in the classroom cannot.

There are a few downsides to the KDP EDU platform and it’s not necessarily with the platform itself. The problem that I see is the probability of educators actually utilizing it, especially older professors at the university level. If a professor has been teaching the same material in the same way for years, it may be difficult for that professor to imagine converting all of their teaching tools to this new format. As a new generation of educators comes into the workforce, they may be more interested in utilizing these tools, but I’m not sure if established educators will. Another downside is that the program is exclusively in English. This means any type of foreign language courses or educational content would not be able to utilize this new platform. Although this may change with time, it is currently a downside.

Although I personally always preferred a physical textbook while I was in school, I think that KDP EDU is an incredible idea. Students from all over the globe will be able to access these materials and the Textbook Creator is making this educational content so much more interactive than coursework that is published on a Word document. I think that it’s a real possibility that other independent publishing platforms, such as NOOK Press, could formulate a similar program in the future.

Until next week,


A Breakdown of Book Subscription Services

There has been a trend developing in the last year or so in the book industry. A wave of online book subscription services has emerged into the marketplace. For a monthly fee, a reader can have unlimited access to all of the books that this service has in its library. Several websites have adopted this format and this summer, Amazon joined the trend by launching Kindle Unlimited.

With so many different options, it may seem difficult to settle on just one subscription book service. All of them promise hundreds of thousands of books, a number of classics, and thousands of best selling books. In an attempt to wade through the market, I decided to do a quick overview of the three most popular book subscription services: Kindle Unlimited, Scribd, and Oyster.

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited seems to have the largest offering with over 600,000 books and thousands of audiobooks for a reader to access at any time. In terms of best sellers, Kindle Unlimited offers no books on the current New York Times Best Seller List in Fiction and only one book on the current New York Times Best Seller List in Non-Fiction. Although Kindle Unlimited doesn’t offer many current New York Times Best Sellers, it does offer incredibly popular best selling titles like the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games trilogy.

Kindle Unlimited is currently offering a free 30 day trial period so that readers can test out the service. After your free 30 days, the service costs $9.99 per month.


Scribd offers a selection of over 500,000 different books and documents for a reader to access at any time. Although Scribd has a smaller selection than Amazon, it offers more current best selling books as of right now. Scribd has one book that is currently on the New York Times Best Seller List in Fiction and three books that are on the New York Times Best Seller List in Non-Fiction. Some popular titles on Scribd include Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Alchemist.

Scribd is currently offering a free 30 day trial period so readers can test out the service. After your free 30 days, the service costs $8.99 per month.


Oyster offers a selection of over 500,000 different books for a reader to access at any time. Oyster offers no books on the current New York Times Best Seller List in Fiction, but it offers two books on the current New York Times Best Selling List in Non Fiction. Some popular titles in Oyster include The Giver and The Hobbit.

Oyster is currently offering a free 14 day trial period so readers can test out their service. After your free 30 days, the service costs $9.95 per month.

Overall, I think every reader is different and there is no “right” book subscription service. If you are a reader who enjoys listening to audiobooks, Kindle Unlimited would be a great option, as it is the only service that offers audiobooks. If you are interested in documents as well as books, Scribd may be your preference. If you enjoy more books that are listed on the Oyster site, that may be the book subscription service for you. The pricing of these services may also factor into your decision, although they are all within a dollar of each other.

I would strongly recommend doing some research before committing to a service. All three websites have a free trial period of some sort and it would benefit any reader interested in a book subscription to test out all three. If you don’t want to sign up for three different trials, you can simply search for some books that you’ve been interested in lately. Non-members can still search the libraries of all three websites and you can decide on a service based on which website has the most books that you’re interested in.

If you’ve used any of these three book subscription services before, I would love to hear your feedback. If there is another book subscription service that I did not discuss that you find interesting, please let me know.

Until next week,


Amazon Introduces KDP Kids

In 2007, Amazon revolutionized publishing with the launch of Kindle Direct Publishing. This new platform gave authors an opportunity to self publish their own works on one of the Internet’s most popular sites, Independent authors have been incredibly successful through the KDP program and a growing number of those authors are popping up on New York Time’s Best Seller lists.

Seven years and a countless number of self published books later, Amazon is changing the publishing industry again.

Last week, Amazon launched KDP Kids, a new platform for authors to self publish children’s books. According to Amazon, KDP Kids gives authors a new way to prepare and publish illustrated and chapter books for children. Utilizing the Kindle Kid’s Book Creator, authors can bring the pages of their books to life with special effects, such as floating text and pop ups. Authors will also be able to utilize age and grade tools to help parents select the perfect books for their child.

This change is absolutely incredible. Because of their elaborate illustrations, children’s e-books are a bit more complicated to self publish than an e-book with only words. By adding this Kindle Kid’s Book Creator, Amazon has made creating children’s e-books much more simple. It is a real possibility that the Kindle bookstore will be flooded with a wave of new children’s books because of the convenience of this book creator.

With the addition of KDP Kids, the sales of children’s e-books could possibly increase. As of now, the children’s e-book market is a relatively small one. Digital Book World reported that children’s e-book sales made up only 11% of all children’s book sales in 2013. If more books are self published and introduced to the market, there is a potential for more sales. However, if there is an increase, I don’t think it will be a exponential one.

My only concern with KDP Kids is the age and grade tools. I really hope that Amazon has a team that specializes in children’s books and can approve the age and grade selections made by the author. An author who has never worked with children may not know what content would be suitable for each reading level. If there is a flood of children’s books self published through KDP Kids, sorting them out into the appropriate reading levels should be a huge priority for Amazon.

Although I am a bit of a book traditionalist, especially with children’s books, I think that KDP Kids is a great idea. Children are gaining more and more access to technology and having a large variety of age-appropriate books is incredibly important. I think that it’s a real possibility that other independent publishing platforms, such as NOOK Press, could take on a similar idea in the future.

Until next week,