We all go through it. An endless parade of updates, changes to TOS, you know the drill. It’s in everything we do online today, the boilerplate we all ignore and click that we’ve read.
But then there’s the part of the online world in which we make a living, and that does get some more of our attention. We learn how to properly list our products and comply with every platform’s wishes and then just when you think you have it right, something changes.
It’s usually a tiny alteration or addition, something their legal department insists on posting, but sometimes it can directly affect how we do business online. And that is what we’re talking about today: how to keep up with changes to KDP and why it’s important to do so.
MAKE IT PART OF YOUR MONTHLY ROUTINE
Since publishing online is either part (or all) of your livelihood, it is absolutely crucial to check for changes on a frequent basis to ensure compliance and prevent complications with KDP. Policies, guidelines, and terms of service for publishing platforms like KDP may vary over time to reflect shifting industry norms, statutory mandates, or user preferences. As a result, you should make it a habit to check for updates once a month or every six or so weeks, and certainly before making any major modifications to your account or publications.
IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR LOW-CONTENT PUBLISHERS
For an example of significant change, one needs look no further than the low to no content rules in place now from a relatively recent KDP update. For those of us who publish books like these, KDP has shifted the rules.
THE END OF FREE ISBNS
As a result of the adjustments, low-content books will no longer qualify for free KDP ISBNs. You can still include your own ISBN if you’d like, but doing so is optional. However, you must select “low content book” as the category for your work. If you don’t, your proposed title won’t be accepted. And then you’re dead in the water.
KDP has also revealed beta updates to its reporting capabilities. The most notable difference appears to be a timelier forecast of revenue from Kindle Unlimited. While this may take a little getting used to, the royalty estimates are presented in a way that is both easy to understand and more intuitive than in past reports.
Royalty percentages are broken down for each book by sale channel and Kindle Unlimited page reads, and this comes together to reveal segmented data for each market. While this is more of a tech change than a policy change, it’s still an example of how fluid things are when it comes to how the platform is being run.
RESOURCES TO KEEP CURRENT
But there are other things you can do as pro-active steps to keep yourself current. If you want to know about any changes or modifications to their policies, you can simply join the KDP mailing list and receive official newsletters and email updates. In order to keep writers and publishers up-to-date on any policy shifts or major updates, KDP frequently sends out newsletters and notices so you’ll get this information just as soon as it’s released to the public.
You can also join author communities and forums to keep up with policy changes and related discussions. KDP’s official forums and other online communities are great places to do this, but there are also third-party independent forums out there and this might also allow you to connect on a personal level with your peers. Information in such groups and debates about policy changes will go hand-in-hand, and someone in one of them might have points of view that never occurred to you before. The free exchange of ideas is what this country was founded on, so why not make it part of your routine to keep up with the latest news?
Keeping up with KDP on their official social media platforms is again a great thing to do as they may make important announcements there first. But to catch up on pervious information, just visit the KDP Support Center. This feature is regularly updated with new material and frequently asked questions that might shed light on any questions you may have about the policies. And keep an eye on KDP’s official blog and announcements for any updates that could affect your use of the service.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
As with anything, some of the rules might impact you more than others. Rules on minor things can be easily handled but there are very important clauses in the KDP TOS that you should check more often than others. Good examples of these are the rules pertaining to your Intellectual Property rights.
In section 5.5 of their TOS, it details how rights are granted and to whom. For the duration of your agreement, you give each Amazon party a nonexclusive, irrevocable right and license to print (on demand and in anticipation of customer demand) and distribute Books, both directly and through distributors, in any format you choose to make available through KDP, using any distribution channels at your disposal.
These permissions allow KDP to reproduce, index, and store your work of course, but it also says that they can display, market, transmit, distribute, sell, license and otherwise make available all or any portion of your work through Amazon Properties for customers and prospective customers to download, access, copy and paste, print, annotate and/or view online and offline. We’re sure you’ve read and understand these rules, it’s the standard way your work will be distributed, but what if this section was to someday change and expand on what you’re agreeing to? What if the changes gave away permissions you do not agree with? If you don’t know about it, you can’t argue it.
THEY MAY NOT AFFECT YOU NOW, BUT…
But, you may be asking yourself at this point, these changes are not that crazy; is it that important for me to keep up with them all? Well, you can run your business in any way you wish of course, but please keep in mind that KDP has rules and regulations in place for a reason: they help keep the platform running smoothly, safeguard authors’ and readers’ copyright and intellectual property, and make sure everyone has a good time.
Keeping up with publishing standards and regulations will help you avoid headaches and keep things running smoothly. It’s important to keep up with the KDP Terms of Service: you and KDP are legally bound by the Terms of Service, so it’s important to check back on a regular basis to see if anything has changed.