Can you self-publish a hardcover book? Yes, you can.
But the first thing you need to know is that
there is no option with Amazon KDP to publish in hardcover. (Refer to the update at the end of this article.)
You will need to use another self-publishing service to produce your book. But you will be able to sell your book on Amazon and have it linked to your other versions.
However, it is not a simple process like self-publishing ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks. For a lot of authors, it’s not going to be worth all the bother and expense.
Do you need a hardcover version?
If you are happy selling ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks on Amazon because it’s easy, then the hassle involved might not be for you.
In fact, it’s easier to produce and distribute audiobooks than hardcover books. It’s a simple audio file, so there is no shipping involved.
With a hardcover, you have to produce and ship every copy. There are always shipping and handling costs.
On top of that, there’s a lot of work involved, and you will probably need the help of a professional to format your book interior, book cover, and dust jacket.
You will also need an ISBN, which is an additional cost that you don’t need with print-on-demand paperbacks.
On the plus side, though, you might find that bookstores will be more willing to stock your book in hardcover.
Another reason is that for some authors, having a hardcover version adds a little prestige.
It also makes it more of a keepsake book that you can give to family and friends or perhaps work associates.
If you have your heart set on a hardcover version, it’s possible for sure. But be prepared for some hard work and expense.
Where can you self-publish a hardcover version of your book?
You have three practical choices. You can use Blurb, Lulu, or IngramSpark.
Your choice will depend on where you live because shipping costs can become expensive.
You will also need to consider the type of book you want, the quality, and the size.
Blurb is a popular publishing service for photo books, cookbooks, and children’s books. But it also offers trade book publishing.
Lulu is well-known and was one of the first self-publishing providers for print books. So it is popular with a lot of authors.
IngramSpark offers print book self-publishing. However, it is also one of the biggest distributors of books in the world. This fact makes it an attractive option for self-publishing authors.
Indicative pricing of a hardcover book
All three services offer similar pricing, but it can vary depending on the type of book you choose and the quantity you order.
There is also a difference between print on demand and offset printing.
If you choose offset printing, the quality of your book will be of a much higher standard, but logically, more expensive.
But to give you an indication, the panel above is for one copy of a 300 page print-on-demand book delivered within the United States.
As you can see, the base cost is around $10.00, which is similar to the other providers.
But it’s the shipping and handling fees as well as the tax that nearly doubles the price. If you don’t live in the US or UK, these charges will be much higher.
If you are still reading this article, you must be keen to self-publish a hardcover book. So what do you need to do?
Preparation steps for a hardcover version
If you have already published a paperback, your interior and cover files won’t be suitable for a hardcover version.
Here are the basic steps you will need to complete before you can self-publish your book.
1. Decide on your book size and dimensions.
2. Write new content for the front and back dust cover flaps.
3. Purchase your ISBN. You will need to check where you can buy one depending on where you live.
3. Format the interior file for your book. You have to do this before you prepare your cover file because you need to know the total number of pages to calculate the spine dimensions.
4. Format your book cover or dustjacket, depending on the type of book you choose.
5. Hire a book designer. File formatting for a hardcover is not an easy task.
For most authors, it’s best to hire a professional to do the job. If you don’t know one, you can try Upwork or Fiverr to find a book formatter.
6. Upload your files. This process will depend on which service you decide to use. But they are very similar.
7. Check your proof copy. You have a choice between an online and a physical proof copy.
It’s always better to wait and get a physical copy, so you are sure everything is perfect.
8. Approve and publish your book. When you publish, you will also select your distribution options.
Make sure you choose print-on-demand wholesale distribution.
9. Claim your book on Amazon. When your book is available, use your Author Central account to claim your book.
Within a few days, your hardcover version should appear on your sales page along with the other versions of your book.
If it doesn’t happen, contact Amazon to help merge your book versions.
Deciding to self-publish a hardcover book is not for every author.
It’s a time-consuming and costly process. Also, if it’s a long book and you choose top-end features, the cost per copy will make the retail price extremely expensive.
The other consideration is that most book buyers opt for ebook or paperback, so your sales potential will be quite low.
Although this article covers the basic steps for self-publishing, there is another option.
Many vanity publishers offer hardcover book production. However, it will always be far more expensive than self-publishing.
If you have your heart set on having your book in hardcover, yes, it’s possible. But you really have to want to do it, and be prepared to pay the price.
Update to this article
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), now offers the option to publish a book in hardcover.
The option is still in beta, but you can find out more by reading the KDP instructions for creating a hardcover book.
However, you need to be aware that KDP will use print-on-demand (POD) technology. The quality of POD will not be as good as a book produced using offset printing.
But at least you now have an extra choice if you want to publish a hardcover version of your book.