One nice thing about publishing on the Kindle platform and about self-published ebooks in general is how easy it is to update your book. If you have written a book about the best smartphones, you can have an updated version of your ebook go live the day after the new iPhone or flagship Android phone is released. That’s a process that would take months, if not years, to do in the world of traditional publishing.

So let’s say you want to make a change to an ebook that you formatted in Word. How do you do that? Where do you start? Well, it’s pretty simple. You essentially just do what you did the first time you uploaded your book to Amazon. Go back into your ebook’s Word file (this is the file that you have been formatting for the Kindle), make any necessary changes, and then save it, as you did before, as a .htm document. If your book has images, compress the .htm file and its images folder in a zipped folder (as covered in the Saving, Packaging, Converting, and Testing section). Then log back into KDP and choose the book in question from your bookshelf. Scroll down to where you uploaded the book file last time (section #5, the “Upload Your Book File” section) and upload your book file (either the .htm file or the zipped folder, depending on whether your book has images or not). Press all of “Save and Continue” and “Publish” buttons you need to, and your updated book will be live as soon as Amazon can make them live.

Notifying customers of updates

Once nice thing about publishing on the Kindle is that you can notify customers of updates to your book. If you’re an avid Kindle book buyer, you may have gotten an email from Amazon with a subject line that looked something like this:

101 Rock Climbing Tips and Tricks (B007G2VSBK) has an available update

And then in the email itself, it’ll say something like this:

Hello Tristan,

An updated version of your past Kindle purchase of 101 Rock Climbing Tips and Tricks by Tristan Higbee is now available.

This book has undergone significant changes, so any bookmarks, notes, or highlights you’ve made will not transfer over to the new version of the book.

The updated version contains the following changes:

  • Improved formatting for readability.
  • Significant editorial changes have been made.

You can get the updated version of this book by going to Manage Your Kindle. Find the book in your Kindle Library, click on the “Update Available” link next to the book’s title, and then follow the update prompts. All your devices that have the eBook currently downloaded will be updated automatically the next time they connect to wireless.

We thank you for your business with Amazon.
Customer Service Department

So now the question is, as an author, how do you send out that kind of email? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy or fast as it should be, though it is relatively simple. According to Amazon, this is what you have to do:

When you send us a message regarding alerting customers of an update to your book, please provide details and specific examples of the corrections made to the book. The more details that you provide, the better we will be able to accurately categorize and message any update to your customers. When we receive the details, we will perform a review of your book and take appropriate action within 4 weeks. The possible results of our review include:

1. If the changes made to your content are considered major, we’ll send an email to all customers who own the book to notify them that the update exists.  These customers can choose to receive the update through their Manage Your Kindle page on [Osmosio note: The email quoted above is an example of this.]

2. If the changes made to your content are considered minor, we won’t be able to notify all customers by email, but we will enable them to update the book’s content through the Manage Your Kindle page on [Osmosio note: This is what that looks like.]

3. If the changes made to your content have caused unexpected critical issues with the book content, we’ll temporarily remove your book from sale. We’ll notify you of the issues we found so that you can fix them.  Once the improvements are made, just let us know and we’ll email customers just as in case 1. Once our review is complete, we’ll email you to share the results and actions taken.

You can contact Amazon and set the process in motion on the KDP Contact Us page.


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