Amazon KDP hates your low content books, but I’ve got some insider publishing tips that can help!
I know, after hearing that low content books were the way to go for years, you probably have smoke billowing from your ears at this news. I’ve been publishing low content books since 2016, and the evolution of this genre has been nothing short of insane.
I don’t flex paychecks. You’ll never find one video of me talking specifics when it comes to my earnings. What I will say is that I made more than a significant living from low content books over the years; however, I have a few problems I’m going to discuss and some insider publishing tips to help solve them.
Slow Processing Times
In the early days of low content publishing, everyone was testing the waters. No one was uploading thousands of books per day.
Then some genius ruined it for us all and flooded the market with crappy low content books.
Naturally, the influx meant the KDP team’s workload increased, meaning delays in approval times. Ever since that time, the system has been unpredictably slow.
Some people have waited weeks at a time for approval when the standard approval time is supposed to be 24 to 72 hours.
No insider publishing tips are going to fix this one. KDP needs time to define what low content books mean on their platform.
We can hope they take the initiative to build a focus team to address low content books and build out a space for them as part of KDP that is separate from literature.
Prior to any acknowledgement, KDP got a little irritated because a few clowns created and abused some automation software for creating and uploading low content books.
They put their foot down a few years ago by limiting the number of of uploads. The weird thing was they never stated a number. They just told people when they exceeded the amount.
KDP never intended to deal with low content books. They started out as an eBook distribution platform. They really didn’t think it would be possible for any small business owners to publish over a thousand publications in a day.
Once it happened, they said no more and placed limits on uploads.
As an insider publishing tip, I don’t recommend uploading tons of low content books per day. That’s sacrificing quality to get quantity.
Of course, be efficient with your uploads, but not reckless.
No Low Content Categories
Even though a blank book with a unicorn on it hardly qualifies as being fantasy literature, it still gets sorted into that category.
Because Amazon needs to build the infrastructure to support this product!
It would be nice if KDP would encourage Amazon to allow access to other product categories for low content books or make new browse paths to support the niche.
I can’t imagine that it’s helping customers much when they search for young adult fantasy only to find a lined unicorn journal. That’s hardly the ideal customer experience Amazon strives for. Am I right?
No Acknowledgement of Low Content Books
I started in 2016 publishing what we called at the time no content books. Those consisted primarily of blank books like diaries, journals, planners, etc.
I always liken it back then to Fight Club because the first rule of low content books was to not talk about low content books.
We didn’t talk about it much because no one was really sure that we weren’t exploiting some type of loophole. Back then, CreateSpace was the print-on-demand arm of KDP and completely separate from it.
We rarely got pushback for low content books. If they questioned it, we explained the purpose of the low content, and they’d push it through with no real friction.
For years, KDP remained silent outside of private correspondence with account holders. They never uttered a word about their stance on the product until May 2022.
They finally acknowledged low content books.
They don’t consider activity books, puzzle books, coloring books as low content. The rest seem to be fair game; however, not without some limitations.
No Expanded Distribution for Low Content Books
In early March 2020, IngramSpark announced they were no longer accepting blank books or lined notebooks. The content of a book must be at least 90% written content.
This wasn’t a big deal to most self-publishers; however, IngramSpark is owned by parent company Ingram Content Group who also run and own another print-on-demand company called Lightning Source.
Founder of IngramSpark, Robin Cutler, shared with me in an interview on my YouTube channel how Lightning Source fulfills distribution for KDP’s expanded distribution.
I don’t have any real insights into IngramSpark, but I theorize this change most likely originated from their parent company and would soon be reflected through KDP’s expanded distribution as well.
While some of these overnight low content millionaire gurus would have you believe that expanded distribution wasn’t anything to sweat, we were pulling in about a quarter of our sales through that avenue.
The graph always exploded at the end of the month when earnings were deposited from expanded distribution. Not anymore.
My insider publishing tip for this one is if you want to distribute low content books through Ingram, go directly to IngramSpark. They evaluate what they’ll distribute on a case-by-case basis.
I’ve heard that activity books, workbooks, and low content books with substance tend to get approval.
No Duplicate Interiors
That means you can’t just create a basic lined journal and publish it 7,000 times with unique covers.
Over the past few years, I’ve seen and heard of countless account getting suspended and often terminated for using duplicate interiors.
KDP hasn’t formally addressed their stance on duplicate interiors. This information is only coming through terminated account holders.
When KDP terminates an account, they give out very little insight or reasoning.
If you want to avoid the chances of account termination, my insider publishing tip is the make each book unique, and not just slight variations or deviations from one title to the next.
One easy way to do that is with BookBolt Studio. It allows you to create low content books from the inside out.
You have the choice of doing it yourself or choosing from their wide array of fully customizable templates.
BookBolt has something for every self-publisher.
Even if you aren’t publishing low content books, having access to the Cover Creator Tool makes life easier. You don’t have to worry about learning GIMP or paying a monthly subscription fee for Photoshop.
So, what’s the catch?
There’s really not one and unlike Photoshop or any other cover design tool out there, BookBolt runs weekly live broadcasts showcasing all the tools in their arsenal. They answer questions too!
You won’t be seeing Adobe doing that now, will you? Get 20% off for the lifetime of your account when you use my link and the code DALE20.
No Free ISBNs
KDP provides all print books with an International Standard Book Number, also known as an ISBN. It’s a unique identifier intended usually for literature.
The only way you could publish most low content books was to use the free ISBN they provided.
The only way to legitimately get the ISBN was to have some literature to justify the identifier. Notebooks are classified differently than literature.
Now the lines are blurred because if you wanted to get your low content book on Amazon, you needed to use their ISBN or bring your own. Either way, you had to have an ISBN. That is not the case anymore.
Soon after acknowledging low content books, Amazon added an option to mark your book as a low content book which then allows you to publish without an ISBN.
With the good news comes the bad…
No Look Inside Feature for Low Content Books
Without an ISBN, your low content books lose the Look Inside feature.
If you don’t know, this is a feature on Amazon where customers can view up to the first 10% of your book right on the Amazon website.
People were freaking out because without this feature, it was harder to convince people to buy your book.
It’s no problem. Catch this insider publishing tip: the simple solution is A+ Content.
You’re allowed to add a “From the Publisher” section where you can showcase images of your interiors and the sweet thing is if you use any module with an image and text, you’re indexing your content even more.
Insert relevant keywords in your text to make your product more discoverable on Amazon.
That’s all covered in the Amazon Advertising Certification courses, which I highly recommend.
What Do You Think?
What did you think of these problems and my insider publishing tips? Am I missing anything? Let us know in the comments below and it could get added to a future update of this content!