Amazon simplifies self-published paperback printing

Now it's even easier to force your friends to read your novel.

Amazon has a program in place allowing people to self-publish both printed and electronic books, but until now the workflow has been clunky as authors were forced to use a different tool for each format. The company is now streamlining the experience through a new beta initiative within its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program, which used to be only for e-book publishing.

Previously, authors looking to publish a printed book with Amazon had to use its CreateSpace system. They would then need to format their e-book manuscripts through KDP, making for a complex workflow. Though the feature set of the older system is much more robust, including physical proofs and author copies, the new beta KDP process will eventually offer similar tools as well. As it is, the move to a single point of entry will likely help streamline the process of publishing books in both print and digital formats.

Hopefully, then, this new initiative will help authors (and presumably Amazon) reach customers who prefer books on paper. Authors won't need to spend any extra money up front for print runs, as KDP will take printing fees from resulting sales. Self-publishers will receive a 60 percent royalty on all paperbacks sold, which is 10 percent lower than the highest e-book rate. They will never need to worry about running out of copies either, as the books will be printed on demand.

While publishers and distributors struggle over the pricing of e-books, the more traditional format shows a remarkable resilience to the onslaught of electronic versions. This represents a market for self-published creators that has been difficult to break into. Reaching those who prefer print books in the US, Europe and Japan with this new KDP system could be a significant boost to an author's bottom line.