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Publishing Pathways: Comparing KDP and Private Printing

Something to consider when self-publishing a book is your method of printing. There are several printing methods to choose from, including digital printing, offset printing, and print-on-demand services. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, quality, and speed. Throughout the decision-making process, it's important to keep in mind the overall purpose and goals of the book, as well as any budgetary constraints or deadlines that may affect the printing process. The most popular options among my clients are print with Amazon (KDP) and printing locally with a small business.

Author and illustrator holding book

By working with clients to create their dream books and publishing my own in 2020 (Dawn - The Eating Disorder Recovery Workbook) I have seen the pros and cons of both of these options. My intention with this blog is to present both perspectives and assist you in making the best decision for your own book printing needs. Ultimately, there is no definitive right or wrong choice, and the decision should be based on what works best for you.

Self-publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Print on demand book printing

Kindle publishing is a great option for many self-publishing authors because it is an easy way of publishing your book and getting it in front of a marketplace.

  • You don’t have to store all the books (I have 150 of mine at home at a time so I can see the benefit of this)

  • It’s relatively simple and they have a good troubleshooting team if there are any problems

  • You have access to amazons marketplace

  • Cheaper to get started (they take a commission plus cost rather than you paying for books and then selling)

  • Shipping is sorted by them :)

  • As an illustrator, I don’t think their image quality is as good as getting it done from a local printer.

  • You have preset options on size and paper finish so fewer options

  • The thing that made me choose to print privately was because the cost of my book meant it would be impossible to make any money (it was 307 pages of colour so it was an expensive book)

Self-publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a popular option for independent authors who want to publish their books and sell them through Amazon's Kindle Store. Here are some key pieces of information about self-publishing with KDP:

  1. Getting started: To get started with KDP, you'll need to create an account on the KDP website. Once you're logged in, you can start uploading your book, including the manuscript file and cover image.

  2. Formatting: KDP supports a range of file formats, including Microsoft Word, HTML, and ePub. However, you'll need to ensure your manuscript is formatted correctly for Kindle devices. Amazon provides a formatting guide to help you prepare your manuscript for upload.

  3. Pricing: With KDP, you can choose your own pricing for your book. Amazon takes a percentage of each sale, which varies depending on the price and size of the book.

  4. Royalties: KDP offers two royalty options: a 35% royalty or a 70% royalty. The 35% option is available for books priced under $2.99, while the 70% option is available for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

  5. Distribution: When you publish your book with KDP, it will be available for sale on Amazon's Kindle Store. You can also choose to make your book available for distribution to other online retailers, such as Barnes & Noble and Apple Books, through Amazon's Expanded Distribution program.

  6. Marketing: While KDP does offer some promotional tools, such as the ability to offer your book for free for a limited time, you'll need to do your own marketing to get your book in front of readers. This could include things like running ads, reaching out to book bloggers for reviews, and promoting your book on social media.

  7. Support: KDP offers a range of support options for self-published authors, including a Help Center with articles and FAQs, a community forum where authors can connect with each other, and a contact form for direct support from Amazon.

Overall, self-publishing with KDP can be a great option for independent authors who want to get their books in front of readers and retain control over the publishing process. However, it's important to do your research and carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding if KDP is the right choice for you.

Printing a book through a local printer

Pantone colours for printing

Printing a book through a local printer can be a good option for authors who want more control over the printing process, or who have specific printing requirements that aren't met by online self-publishing platforms like Amazon's KDP. Here are some key things to keep in mind when printing a book through a local printer:

  1. Find a printer: Start by researching local printers in your area that offer book printing services. You may want to look for a printer that has experience working with authors or publishers, and that can provide references or samples of their work.

  2. Get a quote: Contact the printer to get a quote for your book printing job. You'll need to provide information such as the number of copies you want to print, the size of the book, the type of paper and binding you want, and any special finishing options like embossing or foil stamping.

  3. Prepare your files: Once you've agreed on a price with the printer, you'll need to prepare your files for printing. This may involve creating a print-ready PDF of your manuscript and cover design, and ensuring that all fonts, images, and graphics are embedded and correctly formatted for printing.

  4. Proofread: Before sending your files to the printer, make sure to carefully proofread them to catch any errors or typos. It's also a good idea to order a physical proof copy of your book to check for any printing issues or quality concerns.

  5. Print and bind: Once you've approved the proof and finalized your files, the printer will start the printing and binding process. Depending on the size of your print run, this may take several days or weeks to complete.

  6. Delivery and distribution: Once your books are printed and bound, you'll need to arrange for delivery or pickup from the printer. You'll also need to decide how you want to distribute your books, whether through online sales channels or by selling them directly to readers.

Overall, printing a book through a local printer can be a good option for authors who want more control over the printing process, or who have specific printing requirements that aren't met by online self-publishing platforms. However, it's important to do your research and carefully compare prices and services from different printers to ensure you get the best quality and value for your money.


  • More control over the finish of the books, this can make it look more professional.

  • Support local businesses that are passionate about book printing.


  • Storing the books

  • More upfront cost

  • You have to sell the books and send them to customers. You can sell through Amazon and other marketplaces but each will come with its own commission (I use Etsy and Shopify)

  • Need to purchase a barcode and donate between 1 and 5 copies to The British Library

In conclusion, the decision to print a book is a complex process that involves multiple factors such as budget, purpose, printing method, printer selection, book design, manuscript preparation, and final printing. Whether you choose to use a print-on-demand service like KDP or a private printing company, it's important to carefully consider all options and choose what works best for your specific needs. With the right research and planning, you can successfully bring your book to life and share your message with the world. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to print a book, only the way that works best for you.

If you would like to publish your own book and need an illustrator I would love to hear from you!

Illustrator holding pencils and paintbrushes

To get in contact email me at

or message me on social media @brushandbrewillustrations


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