We all know that KDP is part of Amazon, and as such is one of the biggest online platforms for a self-publishing author, even if you are choosing to sell the book in person yourself, you’d still be crazy not to have in on their bookshelves too.
When you upload your book to KDP, you’ll see on the final third page of the process (which is for Rights & Pricing), in the section for Pricing, Royalty, and distribution, in the far-right section there is a check box labelled as ‘Expanded Distribution’, you may have wondered what this is, and should you enroll your own book into it.
So, first of all, what is Expanded Distribution?
Expanded distribution makes your book available to book distributors in the USA and UK, from these companies, book sellers and libraries purchase books that they will have in their shops or libraries, (although booksellers and libraries from around the globe can also purchase from these USA/UK distributors too).
This allows your book to be made broadly available outside of Amazon, however, it is worth noting that by just enrolling into Expanded Distribution you may not necessarily have your book picked up by a distributor, bookstore, or library, KDP also mention that they do not list or provide the details of which bookstores/libraries purchased your book.
What are the requirements to enroll?
It’s open to all KDP publishers but the book has to be available on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, the other requirements are set by the distributors, the full list can be found at KDP Expanded Distribution Requirements please check for the full list, below are some of the highlights.
The trim size of your book can also affect whether your book can be accepted too, see the chart below which shows which can and which cannot.
So, what about royalties for books sold via Expanded Distribution?
The royalties are 40% of the book’s list price effective at the point of purchase in the distribution channel at that given time, then minus the appropriate taxes, withholding and printing costs.
When you select this option in the pricing page, KDP will work out the royalty per book based on the list price you have set and show it on the far right under Royalty, again, this will only show for the US and UK section of that page.
Reporting and payments take 30 days after the end of the month that the sale was made in, and 60 days for the payment (again, after the end of the month that they have reported the sale).
UPDATE - (March 2023)
After speaking with KDP (regarding an author's question - see comments), they confirmed that you'll get 60% for sales via Amazon and 40% for your sales through other bookstores and libraries, they did not say that royalties would drop to 40% regardless of where sold. However, this is of course subject to change as and when KDP decided to update their policy on royalties and expanded distribution.
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How long will it take for your book to be available to booksellers and libraries?
Once excepted it can take up to eight weeks, but please note, even though it’s available through this channel, it doesn’t mean that the book will be ordered by bookstores and libraries. It’s also worth noting that currently hardbacks are not eligible and in some cases the paperback may be printed by a third party.
Is it worth opting for expanded distribution?
If you are only going to publish your book via KDP and expect the majority of your sales to be via Amazon, then yes, however, if you are selling your book via other channels like IngramSpark, Barnes & Noble etc., then probably not.
The reason being is that opting for it will normally make your book available via these other channels, however, your royalties can be lower. So, if you are planning to upload and promote your book via a multitude of other channels, then it could be better not to opt in on this.
But make sure that your book looks professional
If your book does make it into traditional bookstores, having a professional book cover design is vital, your book will be rubbing shoulders with titles from publishing houses which will pay great attention to their advertising, and the cover design will have to compete with them, so make sure your book cover looks great.
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