You need very little in the way of software or other tools to publish an e-book through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. However, there’s a handful of free and paid tools, and a couple of inexpensive paid services, that I find make my work easier. One is the free Kindle Reading App.
Frankly, I don’t know why anyone who reads doesn’t already have this app on his or her screens. This goes doubly for anyone with aspirations to be an e-book publisher. Why do I say that?
- It allows you to read Kindle e-books without having to purchase a dedicated Kindle device.
- Even if you’re not fan of e-books for reading by the fire or at the beach, Amazon’s Kindle store does have tons of free titles, which change daily. They often include books on business, self-help and other subjects you might want to read purely for their information value, whether or not the e-book aesthetic is normally to your liking.
- If you’re a Kindle publisher you can use the reading app to double check your books for errors. Although you should have done a final review before publishing, there always seems to be some little typo or funky formatting issue that doesn’t catch the eye until the book is in “print.”
- You can download and read your own self-published books in the app to help kick things off.
- Did I mention that it’s free?
More about Nos. 3 and 4:
Error checking: KDP’s publishing software has a previewer for looking over your book after it has been processed and before you hit “Submit.” However, after the book is live, the reading app can help you see errors you might have missed in the previewer. In that case you simply correct them and upload a clean text file to Amazon. It’s better to fix mistakes before you publish, but it’s nice to have a way to check and correct things afterward, too. (Amazon’s “read in the cloud” option can also serve this purpose, by the way.)
Pump priming: I do two things after I publish a new Kindle book:
Using my own Kindle Unlimited subscription, I first borrow and read it, either in the app or on my Kindle Paperwhite. It’s another chance to catch any errors, and it generates a small bit of immediate change, the same as when someone else borrows and reads it via KU. (As far as I’ve been able to determine, this is perfectly acceptable to Amazon.)
Once I’ve read my book as a KU borrow, I return it and later buy it outright, for which I get back a percentage of the purchase price as a royalty. The money isn’t significant but it’s a way to get things moving after you launch your book.
There’s not much else I can say about the Kindle Reading App. It’s free, and useful. I like and use it daily.