Why Does KDP Put the “Not for Resale” Strip on the Proof Cover?



Ever since I made the switch from CreateSpace to KDP Print, when I order a proof copy there is a horizontal “Not for Resale” strip running across the front cover, spine, and back cover.

CreateSpace didn’t add this strip, but KDP does.

(To be clear, this is just for PROOF copies. Once you publish your book, you can order AUTHOR COPIES that don’t have this strip. It’s just the PROOF copies that are affected.)

Sometimes, that strip interferes with part of the cover that I’m trying to proof. In particular, it often prints over words on the spine or back cover.

My solution is to open the PDF of the cover in Photoshop, crop the image to just the back cover, and print the back cover on my home printer. Similarly, I crop the cover to take a magnified close-up of the spine text and print that. (First save a new copy of your cover file so that you don’t accidentally change the original.)

Today, I received a large envelope from Amazon. I was surprised to find a proof copy of one of my books and two pairs of pants in the same package.

That was odd. I placed the orders separately and didn’t expect a KDP proof copy to be delivered with my pants. Even though I have Amazon Prime, I paid shipping on the proof copy from KDP. But Amazon obviously saved money by delivering the products together.

(In fact, with past KDP proofs I had tried to purchase the proof along with other products, but wasn’t able to do it.)

That doesn’t actually bother me. With CreateSpace, I had always paid shipping. It’s no different now. Amazon KDP is evolving, so maybe in the future…

Rather, I realized something important about that “Not for Resale” strip when this happened.

It reminded me that KDP print makes their proof copies, author copies, and Amazon resale copies in the same facilities.

Imagine this scenario, which may have happened with CreateSpace and which could happen with other POD publishers.

Imagine that an author has piles of books at home. These are mostly author copies, but a few proofs are mixed in. The author sells a copy, or maybe gives a copy away, or maybe a family member sells a copy or gives a copy away. Maybe the author forgot to check if it was a proof copy. Or if it’s a friend or relative making the transaction on the author’s behalf, maybe this person doesn’t know to check if it was a proof copy.

Now someday the person who received this proof copy (by mistake, of course, but mistakes happen) decides to sell the book on Amazon.

If it happened to a KDP author, that proof copy would have a clear notice on the cover, and might help to avoid this undesirable scenario.

I appreciate this label. There have been many times when I have been fumbling through dozens of author copies, inspecting the last page to make sure that they weren’t proof copies. This “Not for Resale” label makes it easy to tell proofs from author copies. And now it’s much harder to forget.

How do you feel about this label? I’ve heard a few authors complain about it. I was surprised at first, but have come to appreciate it.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

22 comments on “Why Does KDP Put the “Not for Resale” Strip on the Proof Cover?

  1. I appreciate the fact that Amazon now ships my author copies together in one order, which saves postage. Formerly, if I ordered one of each of my books, CreateSpace shipped them separately. Now they all go into the cart.

  2. Thank you for providing this important information.

    What I choose to do with my own property (a proof copy) is my own business, not Amazon KDP’s business.

    I will not be starting any new projects with them, now that CreateSpace is defunct.

      • I believe this action on Amazon’s part constitutes consumer fraud, larceny, and a form of copyright infringement, and thus may be grounds for a class-action lawsuit seeking an injunction, damages for lost revenue, and litigation costs. Authors in the hundreds, if not thousands (or even more, considering Amazon KDP’s volume of Indie author output) may have in their possession such ill-branded proof copies, and if they unite, they can put a stop to this practice.

      • Personally, I’m content with the strip, and am happy with Amazon. On behalf of authors who don’t like that strip, I wish KDP would make it optional. Perhaps authors who dislike that strip and who have received proof copies with it (or who would consider using KDP if not for that strip) should contact KDP support.

        (As for your legal concerns, that’s beyond area of my expertise.)

  3. I stopped ordering proof copies because of the print on the last page. Once I’ve proofed it, it becomes *my* copy of the book or might get passed on to a reviewer or whatever. I proof from the digital version they provide and order author copies.

    Maybe if enough people complain, the strip will be discontinued? I’m glad you’ve warned me because I’m not paying for a copy with that on.

  4. CreateSpace allowed me to have my client’s proof copies sent to my address. That allowed me to review them first so I could easily correct anything that didn’t look right. I also used the proof copies as display samples of my work at conferences. I hope KDP will consider making the stripe optional. As difficult as CreateSpace could sometimes be, I found it better in many ways than KDP. I’m grateful for the free publishing service, but I wish Amazon had kept CreateSpace and eliminated KDP instead.

    • It seems that the “merger” could have been more seamless. There is already a checkbox when uploading the cover to indicate if the cover already includes a UPC. They could add a similar checkbox where you request a printed proof to indicate whether or not to include the not for resale label.

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