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Self publishing via Amazon
#1  skb 11-22-2019, 04:34 PM
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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#2  gmw 11-22-2019, 10:31 PM
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
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#3  VydorScope 11-23-2019, 09:28 AM
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/customer/display.html?nodeId=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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#4  skb 11-23-2019, 06:02 PM
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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#5  FrustratedReader 11-24-2019, 08:44 AM
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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#6  FrustratedReader 11-24-2019, 08:49 AM
Quote gmw
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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#7  pdurrant 11-24-2019, 11:34 AM
Quote skb
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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#8  skb 11-24-2019, 04:10 PM
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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#9  BookCat 11-24-2019, 07:10 PM
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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#10  pdurrant 11-25-2019, 04:08 AM
Quote BookCat
My imagination flies away with me sometimes; I wonder if this could make a good murder plot?
"Publish and Perish"?
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