Learn How You Can Delete A Book After It Has Been Published

I want to delete my book

Something didn’t work out. Now you want to delete a book after it is published.

It can happen for a lot of reasons. You self-published a book on Amazon and got some terrible reviews.

Perhaps you had a change of heart about the subject of your Kindle ebook.

For whatever reason, you want to delete your book and stop any further distribution.

You can’t completely delete a book after it is published

If you want to delete all traces of your book or ebook from Amazon or any other online book retailer, you can’t.

I know that’s not what you want to hear.

All you can do is unpublish and remove it from distribution and sale.

I’m not a fan of Goodreads, but it gives a good explanation as to why you can’t completely delete a book.

Just as a library would not remove a record from its catalog, so do we not remove books from our database.

If you are an author on Amazon KDP, these notes from KDP help explain what happens when you unpublish a book or Kindle ebook.

You can’t delete books that have been published. Also, paperbacks that were assigned an ISBN can’t be deleted.

When you unpublish an eBook from the Kindle Store, it becomes unavailable to buy and unsearchable on Amazon. It won’t be available for purchase until you republish it.

When you unpublish your paperback, customers won’t be able to buy new copies through KDP. Third parties may still sell used copies of your paperback on Amazon.

That means your paperback’s detail page will stay live on the website. However, customers won’t be able to buy new copies through KDP unless you republish your paperback.

If you have self-published a book and now want to delete it, all you can do is unpublish it.

The same applies if you are managing the books of a deceased self-publishing author.

This will remove it from sale and distribution. However, it will not stop possible sales by third parties on mass-market distribution.

 

Unpublishing an ebook

On most self-publishing platforms, you only need to unpublish your ebook.

On Amazon, click on the hamburger menu next to your book.

Then click Unpublish eBook.

unpublish a book

Your Kindle ebook will be filed as a draft in your dashboard. But you cannot delete it.

It is a similar process for Smashwords and Draft2Digital. However, Draft2Digital does have a delete option.

Your ebooks will be removed from sale and distribution, and your ebook detail page will return a page not found result.

However, anyone who bought your ebook or downloaded it for free will still have a copy.

There is no way to remove your ebook from a reader’s device or ebook library.

If your ebook was available in Kindle Unlimited, readers who have started to read your ebook will be able to finish reading it.

 

Unpublishing a print book

You can use the same process to unpublish your print on demand paperback on Amazon.

Select your title on your KDP dashboard and unpublish the same way as for an ebook.

But unlike an ebook, it will not be removed from sale completely.

It will remain listed and available on Amazon as an out of print or mass-market book.

out of print

Copies of your book may remain available through other third-party sellers on Amazon.

It’s similar to selling used books in a secondhand bookstore. It is something you can’t control.

Once you publish a physical book, the ISBN will remain in book databases forever.

There is no way to delete all traces of a book completely.

 

Your Amazon Author Page

If you have unpublished your book or all your books, you won’t like this.

There is no option to delete an Amazon Author page.

When you unpublish a book, it will be removed from your Author page. But any other data, details, or images about you as an author will remain.

All you can do is remove as much information as possible with the edit options on your Amazon Author page.

 

Remove your posts from social media

If you unpublish a book, don’t forget to delete your posts from Facebook, Twitter, or any other platforms.

It might be a slow process and time-consuming if you shared a lot of book promotion posts.

But if you want to remove all traces of your ebooks or books on social media, it might be worth the effort.

 

Republishing a previously published book

Because your removed books go into a draft file, you do have one other option.

You might consider editing, changing, or repackaging your old book.

You can republish a book with a new title and cover, and it will be like publishing a completely new book.

 

Summary

Very few people think about any of this when they write and publish a book.

It’s an exciting time, and all you want to do is get your book or ebook published and available for readers to buy.

But once you are a published author, you will remain a published author forever.

There is no way that you can completely delete a book after it is published.

However, if you only published in ebook, it’s relatively easy to remove your book.

It will not show on any listing or sales pages after you remove it. But your author name will still appear on the Amazon Author Page.

For a paperback, though, it’s impossible to remove your title from book databases and from its Amazon sales page.

All you can do is use the delisting process to remove it from being directly available for sale.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

5 thoughts on “Learn How You Can Delete A Book After It Has Been Published

  • Avatar for Jemima Pett
    February 28, 2021 at 10:48 pm
    Permalink

    I unpublished a paperback version of the first three books in my Princelings series. After looking into it, I discovered all the things you said. And then I saw that some people were offering it at a ridiculously inflated price in the third-party sellers area.
    Solution: I have a separate seller account in my own name. I offer ‘secondhand as new’ copies at a price below the sharks. Well, I still have about ten in a box somewhere.
    And I made sure the old version blurb states it has an out-of-date version of the stories.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Derek Haines
    February 27, 2021 at 3:36 pm
    Permalink

    Yes, Leon. It’s your book, so you can do as you wish. But it is frustrating with KDP that changing the paper grade means publishing a new book. It was the same with Createspace. I don’t understand why it is, and surely it’s not a huge technical difficulty for Amazon. But that’s the way it is, unfortunately.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Leon Stevens
    February 27, 2021 at 3:17 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for the insight. I always found this aspect of KDP frustrating. I unpublished my paperback because I realized that it had the wrong paper color selected. Not a huge deal, but I wanted my book to look right.

    Who reads all the Unpublish information before they publish? So now I have an out-of-print book.

    “You can republish a book with a new title and cover, and it will be like publishing a completely new book.” – Never thought of this. I have the ISBN. It’s mine. I can do what I what with it, right?

    Reply
    • Avatar for Susan Roulusonis Pione
      September 3, 2021 at 7:19 pm
      Permalink

      I published a book and ebook on Amazon with their free ISBNs. I have since purchased my own ISBNs and would like to republish my book through IngramSpark. Can I just delete the print copy from Amazon and leave the ebook? Ideally, I wanted to publish both through IngramSpark, but I don’t want to lose my Amazon reviews. With what you said, if I delete the book and it remains there for 3rd-party sellers, does that mean my reviews will remain?

      I’d also heard that I could co-publish the book at Ingram with my new ISBN; is that true?

      Thank you!

      Reply
      • Avatar for Derek Haines
        September 3, 2021 at 7:32 pm
        Permalink

        I’m certainly not an expert on this topic, Susan.

        However, I believe that if you delete a print book on Amazon, your reviews will remain for 3rd party sellers. It might pay to check with Amazon KDP, though.

        But I’m not sure what you mean by co-publish on IngramSpark, so I can’t comment on this point.

        Reply

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