EPUBs for Kindle, hardcover binding, and A+ Content • Amazon updates

Trying to keep up with Amazon updates? So are we! There’ve been a few changes lately, so we’re discussing them here to keep you up to date. The main Amazon updates for book authors are: 1) EPUBs are replacing MOBIs for reflowable Kindle ebooks, 2) hardcover binding is now an option, and 3) A+ Content is available for your book’s product page on Amazon. Let’s break it down for you.

MOBIs replaced by EPUBs for reflowable Kindle ebooks

Yes, you read that right! We no longer have to struggle with the ever-problematic MOBI format for reflowable Kindle ebooks. EPUB is now the preferred format across all devices including Kindle. So much easier, right?

Here’s what Amazon has to say about the MOBI format:

We listened to your feedback and are making it simpler to publish eBooks on Kindle. Starting June 28, 2021, we will no longer support files in MOBI, PRC or AZK formats when publishing new reflowable eBooks or updating the content for previously published eBooks. Instead, we ask publishers to use EPUB, KPF (Kindle Create files), or DOC/DOCX (Microsoft Word files) files for reflowable eBooks. Please note MOBI files are still accepted for fixed-layout eBooks.You don’t need to take any action for reflowable eBooks already published unless you are updating the eBook files.

So, just to be clear, EPUBs are now accepted by Amazon for reflowable Kindle ebooks. The MOBI format is still fine for fixed-layout Kindle ebooks (comics, picture books, etc.).

Are you managing two different ebook formats?

ePubs now used for Kindle, photo by Felipe Pelaquim.If you’re like us, you already have two different ebook formats to manage: EPUBs and MOBIs. Now what?

Your already-published reflowable MOBI can carry on as usual on Amazon with no action required on your part. However, if a time comes when you need to make changes, you’ll need to upload the new file as an EPUB, Word doc, or KPF (Kindle Create file). Amazon prefers EPUB now for reflowable ebooks. The MOBI format is still fine for comics and other fixed-layout Kindle ebooks.

Replacing your MOBI with an EPUB will not affect the availability of the title, ranking, or product page on Amazon.

ISBNs for ebook formats

Did you assign one ISBN for all your ebook formats, or a separate ISBN for your EPUB and MOBI files? Amazon only cares about the ASIN for your Kindle ebook, so as long as the ASIN doesn’t change, your ebook retains all of its sales ranking, history, etc.

The best practice moving forward is to submit multiple ebook formats (if you need them) under a single ISBN. Fixed-layout Kindle ebooks can still use the MOBI format, otherwise all ebooks will be EPUBs. We now recommend assigning one ISBN for the EPUB, PDF, and MOBI formats of a title.

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Hardcover binding is now available

Now you can publish your book in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats! All three editions will be listed on your book’s product page to give readers a choice.

What’s included with hardcover binding?

Hardcover binding books example, photo by Kimberly Farmer.Amazon KDP’s hardcover binding includes a printed laminate cover over 2 mm boards. There are five available trim sizes, and the page count must be between 75 and 550 pages. You’ll have a choice of gloss or matte laminate, and white or cream endsheets (to match the pages). Not included at present are dust jackets, cloth wrap, and printed or colored endsheets.

Is the formatting different?

As long as you keep the same trim size, the pages for a hardcover edition will be formatted exactly the same as for the paperback edition. The cover, however, will be a slightly bigger size to allow the printed cover to wrap around the hardcover boards, and therefore the cover template for a hardcover book will be bigger than it was for the paperback cover.

Do I need a separate ISBN for the hardcover edition?

Yes, you do. Each different edition of your book requires a unique ISBN. So if you’re planning to publish your book in three editions (paperback, hardcover, and ebook), be prepared to assign three ISBNs, one for each edition.

If the trim size of the pages of your hardcover book will be the same as your paperback, list all three ISBNs on the copyright page. That way, the same PDF can be uploaded for the pages of all three editions. Plus, it alerts your readers to the fact that other editions are available.

Add A+ Content to your product page

You can now add A+ Content to your book’s Amazon product page! We’re excited about this, as it gives publishers a chance to appeal directly to their own audience and to elaborate on the standard data that is always listed for every book.

What is A+ Content?

A+ Content is additional content that you can create for your book’s product detail page. It lets you improve your book’s listing and expand on its brand by providing additional details and images. This helps your customers understand the features and benefits of your book. Not every publisher is using A+ Content yet, so it really makes your book stand out from the competition.

As an example, check out our product page for Book Design Made Simple. Scroll down to the From the Publisher section, and you’ll see that we’ve added a big colorful banner, a front cover image next to reasons why our book is unique, bulleted lists describing what you’ll learn about designing, printing, and publishing, and finally, a pic of our awards together with an endorsement. Our A+ Content has given viewers more confidence to buy our book (as shown in our book sales since adding the A+ Content), so we’re big fans!

Here are a few more examples of A+ Content to give you some ideas for your book’s product page:

How to add A+ Content to your product page

Start by going to the A+ Content intro page, where you’ll find instructions on how to proceed, plus answers to FAQs. There are three links on this intro page:

1. A+ Content Guidelines. It’s important to read this page, as the Guidelines set out all the restrictions. For example, we mustn’t include pricing details or wording like Free, Bonus, Affordable, etc. There’s a maximum number of quotes/endorsements allowed, and no customer reviews are allowed. So take a look through the Guidelines and make sure to follow the recommendations so your A+ Content will be approved when submitted.

2. Create A+ Content. Here are step-by-step instructions for creating your A+ Content. You’ll sign in to your Amazon KDP account, go to the KDP Marketing page, and get underway using the A+ Content Manager. The A+ Content is created in modules, and you’ll choose which modules you need for your content.

3. A+ Content Examples. See examples of how other KDP authors have designed their A+ Content, and what different modules they’ve used. Your A+ Content can include:

  • Custom headers with text and images
  • Unique image and text layouts
  • Product comparison charts
  • Bulleted feature lists
  • Click-to-enlarge images

Not an Amazon KDP publisher?

If your book is listed on Amazon but you didn’t publish through Amazon KDP, you can still create and upload A+ Content through your Amazon account. Or, like us, if you self published and use a distributor that liaises with Amazon, your distributor can upload your A+ Content to Amazon.

Three great Amazon updates for book authors

We found these Amazon updates to be very helpful for our book creation, marketing, and sales, and we hope you do too! Using EPUBs for Kindle means that you only have to manage one reflowable ebook format for all devices now. Having a hardcover edition gives your readers another option. And the A+ Content provides a great way to present your book and brand to what is probably your largest audience.

Read more: ISBNs for self publishers » how to get and assign them.
And more: POD book publishing » best method using Amazon KDP and IngramSpark.
Read more still: Ebooks vs print books » what you gain and lose with reflowable text.

Book Design Made Simple. You can do it yourself.

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