Unpublishing, Republishing, and Updating Your Book

Ideally, you would publish your book perfectly the first time, everything would work out nicely, and you’d live your happily ever after publishing fairy tale.

Ah, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

For whatever reason, suppose you’re considering whether or not to unpublish your book.

Before you decide, you should learn exactly what will happen when you unpublish it. Here are some questions you need to ask:

  • Will the book disappear completely? If not, in what ways will it remain visible?
  • Will the book remain on your author page?
  • If you’re only unpublishing one edition, will the reviews stay linked together?
  • If you republish a revised version later, will old reviews return?
  • How long will it take for the book to be unpublished?

Of course, different publishing services have different policies, as do different online booksellers. So you want to consider all the possibilities.

A book won’t vanish from Amazon. However, an unpublished e-book can be removed so that customers won’t find it when they’re shopping. Print books, on the other hand, are permanently listed for the benefit of anybody who might have a used copy to sell.

At Amazon, once you add a physical book to your author page at AuthorCentral, it will evidently remain there forever. If you publish a paperback, for example, and add it to your author page, even if you unpublish the book, it will remain on your author page. The rationale behind it is that a previous customer could potentially have a used copy to sell, and this allows other customers to purchase such copies.

That’s something to consider when you sign up for an author page and when you add a new book to it. Think it over very carefully to make sure you won’t want to remove it from your author page in the future. (Suppose you have a Kindle edition already on your author page and then publish a paperback edition. If these become linked together, your paperback will appear on your author page even though you didn’t specifically add that edition to your author page.)

However, this isn’t an issue with e-books. If you unpublish a Kindle edition, the e-book can be removed from your author page. If it’s linked to a print edition, the print edition will remain on your author page, but the Kindle edition can be removed.

Suppose you have Kindle and print editions linked together. Some reviews may declare that they are for the Kindle edition or for the print edition. If you unpublish the Kindle edition, all of the reviews for both editions will remain on the print edition’s product page. However, you can politely ask AuthorCentral to unlink the two editions once the Kindle edition is unpublished, if you wish to have the reviews from the Kindle edition removed from the print edition.

A print book can’t truly be unpublished from Amazon. You can disable the Amazon sales channel. If you publish through CreateSpace, you can disable all other sales channels, too. You can even ask CreateSpace to retire the book for you once the sales channels have been disabled. However, the book will still continue to appear on Amazon, even though customers won’t be able to buy new copies directly from Amazon. This allows any customers or vendors who have new or used copies to resell them on Amazon.

If you unpublish an e-book and republish a revised version later, any reviews that you had before could suddenly appear on the republished e-book. It might be a month down the line, if not sooner. (I’ve never tried republishing an e-book, but other authors have discussed their experiences with this.) If it does happen and you’ve made significant revisions, you might contact Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and politely explain this. Nevertheless, nothing prevents a customer who left a review the first time from finding your e-book again and leaving a new review.

You could republish an e-book with a new title or cover. However, this may confuse customers to the point that some of your previous customers buy a second copy of the same book by mistake, which could result in negative reviews. (Perhaps a clear explanation in the blurb could help minimize this.) With a new title, old reviews are unlikely to show up on the republished e-book.

If you just need to revise your book, you may not need to unpublish it. It depends on the circumstances. If it’s desirable to prevent the sale of your book until the corrections are made, then for an e-book you must unpublish it in the meantime, and or a print book you must disable the sales channels until the changes are made.

It’s not necessary to create a new edition (with a new ISBN, for a print book) when revising your book. You can simply update the current edition, perhaps mentioning this briefly in the blurb. Include the edition number (or something that you’ll recognize) in the Look Inside for your own benefit. This way, when you check out the Look Inside at Amazon, you’ll be able to tell precisely which edition is showing; and if a customer shows you your book or inquires about the content, you’ll be able to check which edition the customer is referencing.

With Kindle, it is possible to notify previous customers that a file has been revised, but it depends on the circumstances and what KDP (not you) decides. You can find a place to send a request to KDP from the KDP help pages.

  • If KDP determines that the issue is minor, they will not contact customers. However, if a customer visits the Managing Your Kindle page at Amazon, the customer can receive the update there. The problem is that the customer won’t know to look for the update.
  • If KDP declares that the issue is critical, your e-book will go off sale until you correct the problem. When you fix it, notify KDP of the update. Then there may be a lengthy delay. Once KDP approves the revision and puts the book back on sale, customers will be notified.
  • If the issue is major, but not critical, in KDP’s eyes, then customers will be notified that an update is available.

There may be lengthy delays if you use an e-book aggregator like Smashwords, if the e-book has already been distributed.

The best action is to do everything possible to get the book right the first time. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

98 comments on “Unpublishing, Republishing, and Updating Your Book

  1. Over the past year I have updated the Kindle e-book of Catskinner’s Book twice, changed the cover once, and I have changed the cover of the print edition twice, and updated the text of the print edition three times. (So if you have an early copy of my print edition, it’s a collector’s item now!)

    All of these changes were quick and painless, and none of them involved the book being off-line. Granted they were all small changes, but the point is that both e-books and POD print editions are much more flexible for updates than traditionally published books.

  2. Chris, Amazon now automatically provides the latest version of a Kindle book as long as the reader has signed up for “Automatic Book Update”. That means that an author doesn’t have to contact KDP and explain the edits. I verified this recently with a couple of my books.

    • That’s good to know. 🙂 If the reader must sign up for this service, though, there will surely be readers who aren’t signed up. Plus others who are reading on a device that’s presently offline (that’s the case with some people I know who have a Fire; it’s only connected when they go to buy a new book). But this is a step in the right direction.

  3. I published a book with SBPRA. They are not willing to make it an e-book because of the sexual content. The book is highly erotic but with no controversial themes(no incest, beastiality etc). I want to rewrite the book in the third person and republish with a different publisher. (1) Is this acceptable? (2) do I have to change the name of the book? It is currently in print at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other stores..

    • (1) First, that depends on your current publishing contract. Your rights may be locked up with the current publisher, unless you can persuade them to release those rights to you in writing (which may not be easy). You have to analyze your contract. Secondly, whether or not Amazon or other companies will accept it in e-book format depends on their specific publishing criteria. (2) Just changing the title won’t release you from any publishing rights that you’ve granted to a publisher. If a publisher holds the rights, what you really need is a written statement from the publisher transferring the rights to you.

      If the publisher only holds the print rights, but not the e-book rights, that’s different, though most publishers retain as many rights as possible, including electronic and international.

      Of course, I’m not an attorney. An attorney can help you better understand what rights you may have.

      • Thanks, Chris. I looked at the contract, and it allows me to be released on payment to the publisher of $175. Therefore, I assume I can make whatever stylistic/name changes and get another publisher. My limited experience makes me wonder about the fairness of this as it relates to a reader. He/she may buy the book under the new name not realizing he/she may have read that very story under the original name. I hope I’m making my concern clear. Regards.

      • That’s a good question. It may be possible to include a note in the description that it was previously published as… If you get a new publisher, that’s a concern you can bring up.

  4. Thanks for this. Lots of great information to contemplate. I think I want to give my published trilogy a bit of an editing overhaul…. just trimming some fluff and maybe cleaning up some typos/minor grammar things. Reviews are good and for the most part I’m happy with them, but they could be better and I feel like I want to do more with the story. Now I’m thinking I might leave the books published and then just upload a new version when I have it ready.

  5. Should the same “You could republish an e-book with a new title or cover. However, this may confuse customers to the point that some of your previous customers buy a second copy of the same book by mistake, which could result in negative reviews. (Perhaps a clear explanation in the blurb could help minimize this.) ” be handled this way in the event you wanted to unpublish a book written by your pen name and republish under your real name or another pen?

  6. Hi Chris, thanks for this information.
    I published my first ebook on Amazon and not knowing better, I enabled DRM. I’ve since understood that this wasn’t a good idea. Since it’s not possible to change it on Amazon, I wondered whether I could unpublished the ebook and republish it without DRM. Do you know whether this is possible?
    I’ve read that republishing an ebook isn’t a good idea either because the old version can still float around and compete with the new version.
    What’s your advice?

    • Some people advise DRM, others against it. Here is a recent discussion on DRM and a recent case of piracy, in favor of using DRM: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=741939&#741939. On the other hand, enabling DRM can affect sharing between friends and family. For example, see https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=188548&start=0&tstart=0, and check out JT’s response. I actually enable DRM on my e-books. Some people think it may hurt sales slightly, but it also enables some measure of protection.

      I don’t know that it’s worth republishing to remove DRM. You can unpublish your book then create a new title (adding the same title again). The new title will allow you to choose new DRM settings.

      I’ve unpublished a couple of e-books, but never for DRM settings. While the page still exists somewhere on the internet, I don’t see them by searching on Amazon. Amazon isn’t trying to show nonexistent books to potential customers, so you needn’t worry about shoppers seeing the old books.

      Personally, I would leave the DRM the way it is, but again that’s just my preference. Good luck. 🙂

  7. Dear Chris, I like to just change the illustration of my book not the the content nor the name of my book. Would it cause any problems?, shell I do it with the same publishing or it is alright to go with different publishing company?

    I do have the copy right.

    Many thanks

    • You can do this. Was this originally published with a publisher? If so, in addition to obtaining the rights from the publishing company, you likely need to release a new edition with a new ISBN and you may need to adopt a new imprint name (your own). You need to work out those details with the publishing company (or you may want to recruit the advice of a contract attorney).

      If you published it yourself originally, then you can simply update the illustration, no problem. You can use your own imprint name or even change your own imprint name used originally to a new one (with the same legal limitations that ordinarily apply to adopting your own imprint, such as avoiding confusion with trademarks).

      The main drawback of changing the illustration is that a customer who previously purchased the old one might accidentally buy the same book again. But if your new illustration brings possible benefits, it may be worth this small risk. Good luck with your book. 🙂

  8. Hi Chris,
    I published my first eBook on smashwords, amazon and ibookstore sometime in February last year, i didn’t promote in anyway and didn’t bother about sales.
    I have now rewritten the book, added more chapters and ready for a large-scale promotion which include heavy social media presence, 2 potentially viral videos and heavy word on the street.
    I have also uploaded the manuscript on createspace and printed 2,000 copies for sale in my country Nigeria.
    The trick is, the PR company I am working with advised i take out previous publications for them to heavily promote the book before an agreed launch date in December so that readers can anticipate it before it is released. I strongly support this plan and believe sales will be really good from the day of launch.
    The problem I have now is what to do about smashwords and the other platforms, the book is supposed to appear as new an not previously published.
    Please advise.


    • It is possible to unpublish at Smashwords. There can be a significant delay in getting your book to disappear from a few of the stores, but it will be unpublished.

      When you republish, if you also have a different title, along with a new cover that will help to differentiate your new book from the old listing (if the old listing is still showing on some sites). Also, you might consider republishing under Draft 2 Digital, an alternative to Smashwords, so those sites see your book coming from a different source. Good luck with your book. I hope your promotional plan works out well.

    • Hi

      SBPRA published my book and it’s currently at Amazon etc. (I bought a few copies myself..lol). I decided to read it again…over a year later, and I see a need for some rewriting. Firstly i want to write it in 3rd person. Secondly I want to make some stylistic changes. Thirdly, I want to delete some stuff and also make some additions. Just as importantly, I want to go with Samhain Publishing (they E-book my genre) because SBPRA is unwilling to make it an E-book. I’m planning to terminate my contract with SBPRA (of course within the terms of our contract). Are there any possible ramifications in republishing with basically the same story line, but with the type of changes i mentioned??


      On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 6:04 AM, chrismcmullen wrote:

      > Dave commented: “Thank you Chris, Never thought of it this way. Quite > insightful.”

      • The first possible ramification is legal. Check your contract (and any termination paperwork) carefully to ensure that you have the republishing rights that you need. (It may help to have an attorney with relevant experience look it over).

        Assuming that you obtain the rights that you need to republish, the one ramification I see is a customer who bought the original book and buys the new book without realizing that it was the same book. The fewer sales you had originally, the less this becomes likely. If the cover is similar, that will help avoid this problem. If not, simply writing a note, like “Originally published as ___ in ___,” may help to avoid this possible confusion.

        Maybe you can hear from other authors who successfully terminated their old contracts and have republished, to find out more about their experiences. Good luck.

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  10. Hi Chris,
    Random question. I only have 1 review for my book and its 1 star because the reviewer made claims that I didn’t know how to write in English. He gave no specifics and didn’t respond to my inquiries. Is there a legit way to start over with publishing my book (i.e. start with 0 reviews) ? Thanks for your time.

    • If the review is for a Kindle edition, you could try unpublishing and republishing. The review is likely to return. But if you make some revisions, you might be able to gently persuade KDP support to remove the old review from the new edition. (If you change the title a little and add a new title instead of republishing, it might not return. But it might eventually.) However, nothing prevents the same customer from discovering your new or updated edition and writing a review again.

  11. What is the best option if I want to put new title, new cover and book description. Should I unpublish the book and publish new book or should I just update the existing book?

      • Thank you Chris,
        I don’t mind losing customer reviews. At the moment I don’t have many reviews. I agree with your advice to unpublish the book and publish a new book. But, as I am only going to change the title, sub title, cover image and many be chapter names in the book (But not the content), how can I stop the same buyers from buying the same content under different title and book cover?

      • If you only have a Kindle edition, you could just republish. Then customers will see a note that they have purchased the book before (no guarantee that the customer will notice the message).

      • Hello Chris,
        What do you mean by republish? Does it mean unpublishing a old version and publish new book from the scratch? I have four books under one series.

        1. For first book of the series, I am changing book title, sub title, cover image and I AM also DELETING chapters.

        2. For remaining three books of the series, I am changing book title, sub title, cover image and many be chapter names in the book. I am NOT adding or deleting any chapter.

        What should I do here?
        For the sake of the consistency of publication date, I would like to remove all 4 books and publish them as new books. If is a good option?

        And what does it mean by second edition? can I publish new books as second edition?
        Please suggest.

    • By republish, I mean simply to upload new files into your current book and publish the same book again. I suggested this regarding your concern that previous customers may accidentally buy the same book again. If you do this, the book will have the same ASIN, and Amazon will put a message at the top of the page showing customers that they have already purchased the book (though not all customers will notice this message).

      If you remove all of the books and publish new books to replace them, you will get newer publication dates and renewed visibility in the New Release filters. There is a field where you can enter the edition number in the publishing process. (You can also mention this in the description if you think it’s worth putting there.)

      Good luck with your books.

  12. Theoretically speaking, if you publish a book on Amazon and let it collect reviews and sales for a year while you write sequels … and then you unpublish it for a week, then republish it … does it get a fresh chance for a month in Hot New Releases?

    • If you simply unpublish and then republish the same title from your bookshelf, you won’t be able to get back on the new releases (though a few years back this loophole may have worked).

      If you unpublish and then add a new title (instead of republishing the original), recreating the same book, theoretically you can set the publication date as the new date. But you would lose all of your sales rank history as this would have a different ASIN, you would lose all your product associations (like also-bought lists) which bring valuable marketing, and since it would have a new ASIN, review transfer would be an issue. Amazon is clever at catching and penalizing authors who intentionally abuse the system.

      If the book is doing well, I wouldn’t unpublish it. However, if the book isn’t doing well and you’re trying to correct some problem that may help it do better, then either republishing or creating new title to replace the old one may be helpful.

  13. In 2013, I paid Troubador Publishing UK 600 pounds to publish my ebook. Yesterday, I received an email from them telling me that my book is now out of date with new technology and unless I pay them more money to reconvert my book, they will remove it from sale. There is nothing in my contract with them about the short shelf life of digital books and I’m wondering if what they are doing is legal. 600 pounds for 3 years seems a high price to pay.

    • It sounds like a vanity press, as traditional and small publishers will publish a book without any fees. Unless you’ve made good royalties through them, I would avoid paying additional money, and would see if you can get out of your contract and explore other options. Good luck.

  14. My book was published by a small publishing company this year and in reading it over I have caught some editing mistakes, spelling, typos etc. Is it possible to make changes even now?

    • Have you tried contacting the publishing company that you used? Most publishing companies retain the rights and handle updated revisions (when they deem it their while to make them), but you can read your contract regarding who holds the publishing rights and for how long.

  15. My book has a great cover and only one small change needed: A list of characters in the front. I used authorhouse. Very good reviews but only 7 of them. Sales were poor even though its a book about the Ark of the Covenant. Should I try to shop around for a traditional publisher? It is listed on Amazon in all three editions. Published in 2012

    • Traditional publishers generally seek the first rights to a book, not the reprint rights. But perhaps a small publisher specializing in Christian books or historical books would have an interest. Good luck.

  16. Hi Chris,
    I’m a new self published author on Amazon. Both my ebook and paperback formats are published there. I made the mistake of finding out about IngramSpark AFTER I had already published on Amazon and used a KDP generated ISBN for my paperback. Now, I am wanting to publish with IngramSpark so that I have wider expansion/distribution. What is my best option? I am considering just doing a hardback on IngramSpark since this is my debut novel and is the first book in a trilogy, but also a standalone. What are your thoughts? I just don’t want the hassle of having to delete my current paperback and re-do it (as a second edition with my own ISBN) but I will if that is the smarter/better option? I just don’t want to lose my reviews. I also don’t want to lose out on sales as it’s been on the market now for almost a month…

    • Honestly, I don’t think you are missing out on much. I would heartily recommend KDP over Ingram Spark for most self-published authors (since KDP is free, whereas Ingram Spark has a setup fee, and since KDP is the natural feed for Amazon sales). Publishing on KDP will get you into the Ingram catalog (and Baker & Taylor if you use KDP’s free ISBN), so this covers bookstores, and KDP is the natural fit for distribution to Amazon. The hard part isn’t getting your book available in catalogs for potential distribution: The hard part is pitching your PR kit to stores and distributors and persuading them to take your book over the millions of others (many of which have bestselling authors or major publishers). Most authors who succeed in selling many print books through wider distribution options are highly effective at meeting bookstore managers (and other regional stores that sometimes sell books, but aren’t bookstores). Also, most authors who succeed at this order author copies and sell them directly to local stores at a discount (40% off the list price), not by persuading the store managers to order from Ingram Spark (but librarians may prefer Baker & Taylor or Ingram Spark over author copies, depending…).

      There are a few exceptions where I would recommend Ingram Spark over KDP. One is for authors in certain countries outside of the US who have good reasons to expect wide distribution outside of the US (few authors fall in this category). Another is for authors who have thoroughly done their homework on how to pitch PR kits to bookstores (most authors struggle with this, even after doing their homework). Another is for illustrated children’s authors, since many successful children’s authors sell well in hardcover.

      For a novel, especially a trilogy, the primary market is usually Kindle eBooks, not paperback, and not hardcover. I would still expand, making a paperback, a hardcover (for this, you should use Ingram Spark), and even an audio book (through ACX). But the majority of sales for a novel typically come through Kindle. Depending on the specific audience and the marketing, a novel may also sell well on Smashwords, Nook, or Kobo, but many sell mainly on Kindle (or Kindle Unlimited if they enroll in KDP Select, but then they can’t publish on Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.) and struggle elsewhere; it depends. The lower price of Kindle often helps, and many of the bestselling self-published novelists apply various promotional techniques (temporary price reductions or Countdown Deals along with various ways of advertising, email newsletters, etc.).

      My #1 rule is not to change things when you’re content with sales and reviews. I wouldn’t unpublish or republish. I would go to Ingram Spark to add a hardcover edition (and to ACX to add an audio edition), if you have some plans for how to use the hardcovers for a little local marketing (or a Goodreads giveaway), for example, so that even if this edition doesn’t sell well, you still get some use out of it. (Whereas a traditional publisher usually releases a higher priced hardcover first, and then paperback and eBook editions come later, many successful self-published authors release Kindle first and the other editions at about the same time or later.)

      Of course, there are no guarantees in the publishing industry, there are just trends. You never ‘know’ what’s ‘best’ for sure until you try it. (But as I mentioned, I wouldn’t change things unless you want to risk losing sales rank or reviews. I try not to change things when I’m content with sales and reviews.)

      Good luck with your book.

  17. Chris, thanks for this great blog post. I’m in the process of moving from a 2-year hybrid deal to self-publishing now that the contract with my Publisher is up. He said I could make changes throughout the book as we transition it to self-publishing. However, I’ve seen posts that say if you make “significant changes” in the book, you need to make it into a second edition.
    I am updating review questions (it’s somewhat of a self-help book–questions at the end of each chapter to reflect on), and in the story I’m replacing some words, replacing sentences, and adding some sentences but the overall content of the book will be the same (it’s a memoir–same storyline). I’m not adding or taking out chapters. Would you recommend putting together a second edition (which I realize would lose the 47 reviews I accumulated), or am I okay with just republishing? I understand the complications with this for the readers and want to avoid making a big mistake. I understand I would likely have to clarify on Amazon that there is an updated version with the same ISBN. So far I have stopped printing for the old version. Not sure what is fair to my readers/buyers, and trying to avoid a whole new ISBN/Second Edition but would really like to make these changes/update.
    Thank you in advance!

    • To republish, the book would generally need to republished through the original account (such as a KDP account). When that’s possible, republishing is generally the simplest option, and lets you keep your reviews and sales rank history. A note early in the description is generally adequate to avoid confusion. I try to avoid creating a second edition unless it’s absolutely necessary (or when the book really could benefit from a fresh start). Good luck.

  18. I have a self-published fiction that I might want to revise; remove some filter words, repeat words, strengthen the narrative voice in a few places. Making these changes might drastically lower my word count, but I wouldn’t be making any huge cuts or story changes. Should I make a new edition or just revise my existing files?

  19. I just got my book published. When I received my copy I was disappointed. A word was misspelled quotation marks in places that should not have been.
    Is it legal to unpublished and make corrections then to publish it myself? I got it publushed through a publishing company.

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  21. Howdy!
    I have an eBook published through Amazon. It started life as a single short story in a kind of a test to just see what it was like to publish a book on Amazon. Later, I added four more short stories, added “and other short stuff” to the title, and it went like that for another few months. Now I’d like to update the cover, add two MORE stories and now I’m feeling I should consider unpublishing and republishing it. My rationale is that according to Amazon’s help guide, I haven’t really done anything to it that justifies them making changes and notifying my buyers (of which I doubt there’s been more than a dozen or two). However, should I just ignore the existing users and update the cover, interior and title and go ahead and add a paperback as well? I feel like my existing users will miss out on the new content since it will never propagate to their Kindle. However, unpublishing and republishing would mean they’d have to re-buy anyhow? Confusion reigns.

    • Amazon may not notify customers, but they can make it so that customers can use the manage my Kindle settings to get the latest edition. You can definitely add a paperback either way.

      If you’re content with your reviews and sales rank, I’d recommend just updating the files. If you’d like a new book to have a fresh start with reviews and sales rank, you could do that by adding a new book. Good luck.

  22. Thanks for the quick comeback, Chris. I’ll try requesting an update from Amazon and if they do it, I’m fine with that. If not, I’ll take a more drastic step. 🙂

  23. I made a one character error in the title of my paperback vs. The e-book. So the paperback does not show up on the e-book page on Amazon. Can I unpublish the paperback, correct the error, and re-publish? Thanks.

    • I would contact support and see if they will fix the typo for you. If not, you can republish, but beware that the original listing of the paperback will forever be available.

    • The contact us button for support, or the phone option for authors in the US, which is found in the same place. I contacted support a couple of days ago and received a response the next day.

  24. Hoping you can answer this or direct me to where I can find the answer. I want to publish my book just long enough to order author copies, then unpublish it until my “official” release date. I’m trying to make sure I have author copies on hand when it goes live on Amazon. Is that doable? Thanks in advance

    • You can order limited quantities of proof copies at one time without publishing. You can have author copies printed elsewhere before publishing (even B&N has a pod service for printing author copies, but B&N doesn’t make it available for sale anywhere; I forget the current name because it has changed a couple of times, but once it was Nook Press; other options are Lulu and Ingram Spark). If you publish to order author copies, you really don’t want to unpublish because you get the most new exposure for 30 days after your publication date. Good luck with your book.

  25. Hi Chris! I’m a newly self-published author with my own ISBNS using Amazon and Ingram Spark as my POD distributors. I read all your generous replies about unpublishing, republishing, and updating your books, but I didn’t see an answer to my question, which I always see conflicting information on other sites: A primary ISBN seller, as well as blogs on this subject, have stated that you can only add to, cut, or revise a published book up to 20% otherwise you have to get a new ISBN and republish the book as a new edition.

    I published a MG/YA fantasy series with great professional reviews but minimal sales or reader reviews. The problem lies with the first book (345 pages) of the series being too hard to follow because of character count, and I need to refocus on fewer plot threads up front. The second book in the series has won multiple awards, but I need to get readers to finish and understand book one. I’m terrible at math, so I fear I might go over the rewrite’s 20% limit. I do plan on adding a small but helpful character list that I published in book three. You replied that “a book can be rewritten from first to third person POV,” or “add several new chapters,” so I imagine that alone would be more than a 20% revision, right?

    I don’t plan to change the book’s title or cover, and I am okay with advertising the updates on and inside the book, but I don’t want to get a new ISNB or title. I’d like the liberty to simplify half of book one. Is this 20% revision thing a law or what? And will I have to refile this book with the copyright office after these changes?
    Thank you!

    • I’m not an attorney, so I can’t give legal advice.

      Regarding your copyright question, there is a lot of helpful information at copyright.gov.

      KDP will probably be pretty flexible regarding just uploading new files to replace the old ones, without creating a new title. I’m not sure about Ingram Spark (but one way to find out is just to try to proceed to make the changes).

      Good luck with your revisions, and congratulations on your awards. Personally, I’m a fan of complexity. I enjoyed a play called The Seagull ages ago, which had several characters and was considered by some critics to be too complex for an audience to follow. Of course, there are a great many audiences (part of the trick is the matchmaking).

      • Chris, thanks for the great response and the link! I might try Ingram first and see what happens. I agree about the complexity and may just need to focus on marketing instead of simplifying.

  26. Hi Chris,

    I published by book then unpublished it so I could make changes to the manuscript (I found spelling and formatting errors). I’ve now updated the manuscript and the book is now available on Amazon.

    Amazon still shows the old manuscript info in the ‘look inside’ page. Do you know whether Amazon will send out my book with the updated manuscript? I am worried that people will get the incorrect old copy.

    Thanks in advance.

    • It can take several days for the Look Inside to update. For a Kindle eBook, new customers should receive the new files. (But if someone bought the original eBook and buys your book again, they will receive the original unless they ask customer service to “push” the new one to their device.) For a paperback, sometimes Amazon prints copies to keep in stock. If they have stock of the original, they will send the originals out. Good luck with your book.

  27. I have an e-book novel first released in 2014 and revised in 2016. Now I want to create the paperback version. So for the paperback do I have to include all publication dates on the inside copyright page this way: (2014,2016, 2021)? Thanks.

  28. Hi Chris
    Could you help me I’m totally new to self publishing having had a publisher for my ebook in the past. He has retired now and given the rights to publish over to me. How do I approach/contact Google to change the ownership over to me, and get the sales. And how do I approach itunes? I’m finding it hard to talk to the right person in these organisations.

    • I haven’t published directly with Google or iTunes (because, in the past, when I distributed to different eBook retailers, I used an aggregator like Smashwords). There should be a contact us option; at least, explore the help links thoroughly.

      Good luck.

  29. Hi Chris,
    I was just wondering if you could help. I published 2 psychological thrillers in 2020. But because of typos, I am going to republish them. However, amazon have said that if I keep the same title and author name, then all of the reviews will be transferred even I republish. Now, I had two really good covers designed and I like the titles, so don’t really want to change. But then I don’t want to keep the reviews, for fear of putting off customers. Can you please give me some advice? I really want to keep my titles and book covers. But I know publishing them as new titles is an option. The reviews were really bad, but about the typos, not the actual plot etc. Would a simple notice in the front of the book be enough?
    Many thanks

  30. I published an ebook version, along with an identical print book, a few years ago with KDP. The print book sells well but the ebook, not so much. It is an instructional text that would benefit from adding instructional videos to accompany the text. I have completed the videos and would like to publish (republish?) the same ebook with the videos added. As I understand it, KDP can only publish links to another hosting site (Youtube, etc.) for the videos, within the body of the text. I would prefer the videos be interactive within the body of the existing ebook, if possible. Do you have any advice on how best to accomplish this? Is it better to stay with Amazon, with its limitations, or consider rewriting the book and use a different publishing company? Would it need a new title, etc.? I’m uncertain about potential ramifications, particularly as related to Amazon.

    • If you’re willing to format it as a fixed format book, check out the Kindle Textbook Creator. I seem to recall some compatibility with video, but forget the exact details offhand. That would require unpublishing and then republishing.

      • Thank you for the reply. For any reader with a similar question….
        Kindle Textbook Creator was actually rolled into Kindle Create in 2019. From the KDP support page:

        Supported devices. Kindle Edition with Audio/Video content is available on Fire tablets (2nd generation and later), iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Audio and video content is not supported on Kindle E-reader devices (customers can read the book, but any audio or video is replaced with a message that it is not supported on this device).

        A later entry is where the bad news is for KDP self-publishers.

        Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP doesn’t currently accept Kindle Edition with Audio/Video content. This format does not currently support Enhanced Typesetting.

        I will continue to research. Gracias…

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