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Old 11-22-2019, 03:34 PM   #1
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Self publishing via Amazon

Asking for a friend (no, really)!

He wants to make an ebook that his wife can download via (I assume) Kindle like a real ebook.

Are you able to publish "free" books and/or are you able to NOT have them available to the public?

Personally, I'd just either use Calibre (or whatever) to create the ebook and gift that to her, but he's fixated on the "Kindle Thing" route.
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:31 PM   #2
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It might just be possible ... sort of. Except maybe the "free" part of it - tell him not to be stingy.

Publish (best not to make any preview available). Buy the book and gift it. Unpublish.

As they say here, once a book has been published it cannot be deleted; I believe that is because Amazon will keep the old edition on their servers for those people that purchased. (I know an early edition of my first novel, from before I went direct with Amazon, is still available to those that purchased that despite it no longer being available to purchase.)

There will be a short period in which the book will be available to the public, but unless the person's name is Stephen King or Stephenie Meyer*, the chances of making a sale (especially if you price the book appropriately) should be slim.


* putting these two names up together is just having a bit of fun with Mr King

Last edited by gmw; 11-22-2019 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 11-23-2019, 08:28 AM   #3
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Can it be done? Yes, partly.
Is it simple? No.

To do this, your friend will have to:

1) Create an account with Amazon's KDP which will include giving them bank account and tax information
2) Learn to create EBooks and properly format/process them so that they will work on Amazon's platform.
3) Create cover art for said ebook, and blurb
4) Publish the book via Amazon's KDP service and price it one of two ways:
--- 99 cents, so that it is cheap to buy and gift, but might be bought by someone else
--- $10 or $20 so that no one else buys it, knowing they will get about 70% back.
5) Once purchased, unpublish the book from the store. Or not, maybe someone will buy it? I mean money is money

OR there is a better option. Your friend can create the file, as above, and then email it to her kindle. It will then appear on her Kindle like a book, and be kept as a digital file in her Kindle library to download to future Kindles. Here are directions on how to do that:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custo...deId=201974220

Then you do not need a KDP account, do not need to provide Amazon with bank information, and etc. All the cost then would be labor, assuming your friend does all the work themselves. There are software tools out there to make creating the file much easier.
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Old 11-23-2019, 05:02 PM   #4
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Thank you, GMW and VydorScope. I've relayed your excellent answers.

Personally, if I just wanted to "publish" an ebook, I'd bypass the whole Amazon thing and do it myself, but as I mentioned...he's fixated on Amazon etc.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:44 AM   #5
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If it's just for Wife & Friends, forget Amazon. Amazon doesn't really allow free and the upload is most predicable if you use epub2 format rather than MS Doc /Docx.

Use Calibre, import a "docx" file with a table of contents, where each line is a link to an anchor at each chapter heading. Though the "automatic" insert TOC can work if you edit settings so there are no page numbers.

Use paragraph styles. Use Level1, Level2 etc for chapters.

You can use MS Word or LibreOffice Writer.

Calibre can make just about any kind of ebook.

Smashwords allows free, but if it's just for people you know, you can just email them the ebook that Calibre makes. A Dual Mobi and an ePub2 will cover almost any model of Kindle and any model of "not-Kindle" except very very old Sony or Palm / WinCE PDAs.

Smashwords also distribute to Kobo, Apple, Tolino, Barnes & Noble, Libraries etc (almost everywhere except Amazon & Google Playstore/Books). For iOS, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc. They will have it free if it's set "Free" on Smashwords.

It's hard to do less than 99c on Amazon. Also ANY Kindle user can use an ebook made by Calibre or downloaded from Smashwords.

I do sell ebooks. We upload epub2 to Amazon and Smashwords. We upload "dual Mobi" from Calibre to Smashwords, which works with almost every Kindle, maybe every Kindle. We also upload MS Doc (from LibreOffice Writer) for Smashwords to make HTML, Palm, ancient Sony, text and PDF (you pick the options, we don't select PDF or text).


Epub readers and Kindle apps are free for phones and tablets.
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Publish (best not to make any preview available). Buy the book and gift it. Unpublish.
Don't upload to Amazon unless you want to sell on Amazon!

Make the ebook by importing docx to Calibre (Free on Mac, Windows and Linux).

Then you can use Smashwords, email, USB stick, anything to distribute it free. Or on Smashwords you can set ANY price such Free, 99c or higher, user choses what to pay, or set a price and generate a 100% discount code to give to those that should have it free. You can set how many times the code is used.
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Old 11-24-2019, 10:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skb View Post
Asking for a friend (no, really)!

He wants to make an ebook that his wife can download via (I assume) Kindle like a real ebook.

Are you able to publish "free" books and/or are you able to NOT have them available to the public?

Personally, I'd just either use Calibre (or whatever) to create the ebook and gift that to her, but he's fixated on the "Kindle Thing" route.

Email it to her Kindle's email address. It'll get added to her Amazon Account as a personal document, and can be downloaded and read on her Kindle.

If you really want it to appear as an ordinary Amazon ebook on her account, you'll need to publish it using kdp for $0.99, buy it on her account, and then make it no longer available. Then no-one else will be able to buy it, but it will remain on your wife's account.
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Old 11-24-2019, 03:10 PM   #8
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Thanks again everyone. I've forwarded the info.

Personally, I think he's making life waaaay too complicated by wanting to "publish". I think this stems from a non-user point of view where they're frightened to not do things "the right way" (not realising, of course, that there are many 'right ways').

Fingers crossed he makes something work for him!
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:10 PM   #9
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Please let us know what he does. I've been reading this thread as though it's an unfolding drama. Wondering why he wants to 'publish' - and imagining possible scenarios.

My imagination flies away with me sometimes; I wonder if this could make a good murder plot?
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:08 AM   #10
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My imagination flies away with me sometimes; I wonder if this could make a good murder plot?
"Publish and Perish"?
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:43 AM   #11
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"Publish and Perish"?
Fortunately titles aren't copyrighted:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001QBPMIM...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:52 PM   #12
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It's a bunch of letters he's written to his wife, I believe. Which is why I suggested the Calibre route but he's a little fixated on Kindle (as only someone who has never known the joy of Calibre and associated whatnots can be).

Sadly, I don't think there will be a satisfying conclusion for us (because it's ALL about us) because it's not a friend but someone on another...gasp...forum.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:43 PM   #13
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For something that personal (assuming his letters to his wife are actually personal, I suppose that need not be the case ) I would be very hesitant about putting it up on Amazon servers. But then people think I'm paranoid - I know this because I can hear them talking about me.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:27 PM   #14
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Yes, I couldn't think of anything worse, to be honest. It's going to be a surprise (nice) for his wife. She might be less than happy to have the letters public (not so nice).

Oh well. I did my best (via all the replies here).
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:02 PM   #15
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Also I don't think you can block Amazon Preview?
They will not EVER remove a title. Just stop selling it. With one exception: Copyright violation. Prove it's been plagiarised and they'll remove the listing, otherwise it's there as long as Amazon.
Goodreads (owned by Amazon) is tricky too. ANYONE can add an Amazon title. If the cover is later changed at launch, even if it was only on pre-order with the cover uploaded to Goodreads they won't remove the invalid never sold cover. I think removing a title or author is hard too. It does now exist to feed Amazon Marketing.
Also Google Books, Scribed and other sites will copy the Amazon meta data and maybe the preview (which usually can be download). Some dubious sites will claim to offer the entire book free (though often it's the preview) or even sell it at a higher than Amazon price. Even paper copies that they have not ordered, I know because I do work for a small indy publisher and we know exactly how many POD paper copies are out and who the ebook is distributed to.

I'm repeating myself, but EVEN if you were publicly publishing, you do docx-> Calibre -> (epub, Dual mobi and azw3) and give "direct" to your trusted readers FIRST.
It's utter madness to use KDP (Amazon Publishing) for something for a friend / relative / partner, especially if personal. I'd not even use the Amazon Kindle "Cloud" email direct to kindle. I'd email to a PC, or send them a cheap SD card in the post with written instructions. You can even use an Android tablet or phone with an adapter (€2) and plug the kindle in and copy the ebook file off the Android to Kindle. Install a free filemanager if the phone/tablet hasn't got one. You can even use the same adapter for a USB stick or an SD card reader to copy a posted file on to the phone/tablet first. An iThing is a bit tricker.

If the wife has a homing pigeon, you can even send about about 200,000 ebooks on one microSDXC card. Or 4,000 on a cheapest ordinary microSD card.

Amazon is only for buying books publicly published that are not on Smashwords (no DRM there). Not for private stuff.
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