If your biggest fear is clicking the “publish” button and then finding a typo, we're here to ease your worries.
You just hit the “publish” button on your Kindle book. You're feeling pretty great about it, and you’re proud of all the work you put in so far. But as you're flipping through the pages, you spot a couple of things that aren't quite right…
Maybe you notice a few lines in the text that aren't as sharp as they could be. Or maybe some typos and grammatical errors slipped through the cracks. What’s your next step?
These small oversights, now glaringly obvious, make you start to feel nervous—is it too late to make changes? Can you still edit your book even though it's already out there in the Kindle universe?
Spoiler alert: Yes, you can, and in this article on editing Kindle books, we’ll show you how!
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Although you can’t edit your manuscript directly using Amazon, the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform does allow you to upload refined and enhanced versions of your books or tweak certain book details even after they've hit the digital shelves.
Currently, Amazon offers two different ways to modify your books using the KDP platform:
We’ll cover both in this blog post, but let’s start with a book that needs updating. This option allows you to make small changes to your current book listing while retaining the essential identifiers like the book’s ISBN, ASIN, and sales page.
Here are some book details you might consider updating:
Now, these are for the quicker and easier fixes. If you need to overhaul part of your manuscript completely or reformat multiple chapters, that process will look a little different. We’ll tackle it in the later sections!
Pro Tip: Changes might not reflect immediately on the Amazon product page. Certain changes might require a review process by Amazon before they become visible to customers. If you haven’t heard back within the week, don’t be afraid to reach out to their support team!
Here’s the rundown for making tiny tweaks:
Amazon treats a republished book like it's a brand-new product. In other words, any re-published or reworked book will require new identification numbers (ISBN and ASIN) and a new page where people find and buy your book.
You’ll need to tweak the manuscript using another platform like Microsoft Word or Reedsy and then upload it in the correct file type to the KDP platform as you did with your original manuscript. You’ll go through all the same steps of entering your book details, like your title, author name, and categories. Then, after you hit “publish,” Amazon will review your book within the normal waiting period before it goes live in the Kindle store.
With this fresh launch, your book will be re-listed among the new releases. This has the potential to help your book capture the attention of a broader audience, increasing its exposure and visibility (though it’s never a guarantee).
Let's talk about a few key reasons why republishing might be a better choice than just updating your book’s details:
Anytime that a change in content affects the layout of the book, you’ll be required to re-publish to stay compliant with Amazon’s terms and conditions. Keep in mind these rules are for both deleting sections AND adding new ones!
When you publish a book on Amazon KDP, you’ll have to explicitly choose whether to print in color or black and white, in addition to picking a specific trim size. You are free to choose different settings, but it will result in an entirely new book product and listing.
To be on the safe side, you’ll want to re-publish your book anytime you’re messing with the title, subtitle, or author name because Amazon will flag your book as a new product.
Here are the steps for re-publishing your book through KDP:
Here are some controversial reasons why some indie authors and publishers might choose to re-publish their books (and why we don’t necessarily recommend them).
Whenever you re-publish a book, you are risking losing all the reviews. In theory, you can ask the Kindle support team to move over your old reviews, but this doesn’t always work.
This can be tempting for authors and publishers whose launches don’t go as expected and who are purposely looking forward to wiping the slate clean. But while you might get away with it temporarily, Amazon doesn’t like it when people try to skirt around their terms and conditions.
Besides, negative reviews are meant to be constructive and help you improve the quality of your work. If you just re-publish a book without paying more care and attention to its content or editing, you’re just setting yourself (and your readers) up for another bad experience.
Ask yourself what your long-term goals are and if it’s worth it!
There’s no need to completely re-publish a book if the changes you’re making aren’t going to affect the overall content of the book. That’s what updating is for!
Changing things up won't automatically get you an extra spotlight from Amazon’s side—this means there won’t be any automatic boosts to your book sales and royalties. But don’t let that discourage you.
Even though the platform won't nudge your book up the rankings, the ripple effects of your updates can be significant. For example, if your new cover leads to more readers adding your book to their cart, Amazon WILL take notice. Its algorithm favors eBooks that show higher engagement and sales activity. If they sense your book could be successful, they might start running a promotion on it that reduces the list price without affecting your royalties.
At the end of the day, all that Amazon cares about is making its customers happy. In this case, it’s all about the readers. If you're refining content, fixing errors, or updating information, you're also improving the reader's experience. And happy readers? They're more likely to recommend your book to others and leave positive reviews. (A win-win-win scenario for you, them, and Amazon.)
Before we sign off on this blog post, there’s one last point we need to talk about—overediting.
We’re talking to all the perfectionists here. Does any of this sound familiar?
Here’s the thing, though: Constantly dwelling over past works can be a roadblock in your path as a publisher. It's natural to want your book to be perfect, but at some point, you need to let go. One missed comma or an extra letter won’t take away from a high-quality book packed with stellar content.
Moving forward is the best way to get out of your comfort zone, diversify your income, and GROW! So, set limits. Give yourself permission to make necessary updates but within reason. Decide what needs revising, make those changes, and then commit to looking forward instead of looking back.
Here’s how one perfectionist found success with publishing (and how you can, too):
In our free webinar, we lay it all out for you—how to start your publishing journey without any of the guesswork or trial and error. You'll meet some of the most successful self-publishers in our community who started out just like you. You'll get an insider's look at their strategies and learn how they're making a steady income from anywhere in the world (whether that’s Bali or their own cozy living room).
We cover everything from brainstorming a killer book idea to launching it into the market and watching the income roll in. And if you're swamped with other commitments, no worries—we'll show you how to outsource the bulk of the work without sacrificing quality.
Still not sure if this is right for you? Take a look at our Student Success Hub. It’s filled with stories from hundreds of people who took the plunge and never looked back, from retired teachers, farmers, and dating coaches to college students.