Ideas for Children’s Books in Kindle Unlimited

Image from ShutterStock.

Image from ShutterStock.


Now that Kindle Unlimited is paying KDP Select books based on the number of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read, children’s books—especially illustrated kids’ books—appear to be among those most affected.

Illustrated children’s authors with books enrolled in KDP Select basically have three options:

  • Opt your illustrated children’s books out of KDP Select. (Uncheck the automatic renewal box. Wait until the 90-day period has expired. Now you can publish elsewhere. But beware that not all other e-book platforms are equally picture-friendly. You might want to do some research and formatting before you decide to make the switch.)
  • Leave your books enrolled in KDP Select, and either complain about the change or feel frustrated without complaining—or try your best to ignore it—or hope that your book will be engaging enough to help get more pages read. (You probably don’t want to complain publicly in such a way that it may hurt your brand among your potential audience. Sending a polite suggestion to Amazon KDP or organizing a petition are private ways to express your opinion and try to instigate a little change.)
  • Leave your books enrolled in KDP Select, and find ways to make the most of the new program.

For those who choose option three, I have a few ideas that may help. Maybe my suggestions will inspire yet another idea of your own.


This is something I saw in some books before Kindle Unlimited changed, but the idea has even greater value now.

A couple of Kindle Unlimited books that I borrowed for my daughter found a creative way to get more mileage out of the pictures.

It has marketing potential, and also helps with the new KENP read policy.

The idea is simple: Show how the pictures were made.

It’s easy to do: When you create your images—or when your illustrator makes your images—take pictures of those images to show the stages in which they are made.

Here’s what you do with them: Add them to the end of your book, showing one step at a time how to draw the pictures. You can add a little text, too, describing the process.

It’s a win-win-win situation:

  • Kids to get read a book and learn how to draw pictures.
  • Parents get added value in that their kids practice reading and learn drawing skills.
  • Authors benefit by adding several extra pages to their Kindle e-books.

It’s not just stuffing pages at the end of the book. These pages offer valuable content—showing how to draw pictures—which potentially adds to reader engagement.

More pages read means a greater royalty earned through Kindle Unlimited.


Here is another way to add engaging content to your children’s book.

How do parents know if their children paid attention or understood the story?

A few multiple choice questions following each story could help parents assess reading comprehension. They can check their answers if you use a footnote or endnote for the answer key.

You can also add a vocabulary key after the story to review important terms, or test if kids can figure out the meaning from the context.

There are all kinds of ways that you can add questions or exercises to add educational value to your entertaining stories. This might help differentiate your KDP self-published book from similar traditionally published books that only have stories.


Bundling doesn’t help by simply adding pages. Those extra pages are more work, and only pay if the pages are read.

Furthermore, whether you write one 200-page book or eight 25-page books, either way you write 200 pages—and if a customer reads all 200 pages, you get paid the same whether they are bundled or not.

But where bundling can help is with (A) convenience and (B) perceived value.

It’s more convenient to read another story when it’s already in the same book. It’s inconvenient to have to return to the Kindle Store to buy the author’s next book.

If your stories are engaging, you’re more likely to get your next story read if the customer doesn’t have to find your other book.

Kindle Unlimited customers also see more value in downloading a collection than borrowing one short story.

The bundle may even help with sales, if there is a discount compared to buying the individual titles.

I would sell both the individual titles and the bundle. It gives you more exposure. The individual titles are more likely to be discovered in searches on Amazon, as you can customize 2 categories and 7 keywords for each individual title. Once they click on your author name, customers can then discover your bundle.

You can also mention your bundle after the story in your individual books. If they liked the story, maybe they will try your bundle.

But note this:

  • If your bundle is in KDP Select, your individual titles must be exclusive to Amazon.
  • If your individual titles are in KDP Select, the bundle must also be exclusive to Amazon.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

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
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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Marketing Children’s Books with Kindle Unlimited

Childrens Reading

Marketing Opportunity for Children’s Authors

Children’s authors—and to some extent, even tween and teen authors—have the potential to use Kindle Unlimited as a marketing opportunity.

There are many parents, teachers, educators, and librarians who would love kids to READ much more.

Kindle Unlimited is an incredible value for parents:

  • Bedtime stories. Kindle Unlimited gives access to a huge collection of children’s stories, far more than can be stored on a bookshelf. Some of those children’s book are pretty expensive, too, but Kindle Unlimited offers an amazing selection for $9.99 per month. Kids will love the opportunity to read along on a Kindle Fire (or another device) as the parent operates the device.
  • Reading fluency. From elementary school to young adults, access to tens of thousands of children’s, tween, and teen stories for $9.99 per month is a great opportunity to encourage kids to develop a love for reading by finding books that interest them. Get a book they didn’t like? No problem: Find another! The more they read, the more fluent they will become (it helps not only improve English, but also writing and vocabulary—years of practice will be valuable on standardized exams), and the more they will want to read as they get older. Help make reading a habit.
  • Educational resource. Need homework help? Need more practice? Want to learn more about a topic that caught your interest in school? Kindle Unlimited provides access to numerous Kindle educational titles that can help with learning, study aids, and nonfiction reading. Parents can learn more, too, or discover books that help them teach particular skills. All that at your fingertips for $9.99 per month.
  • Access to a library on your fingertips. Would you rather have your child searching on the internet—where they can find lord knows what—for school help, or would you rather have access to a huge library of published e-books for $9.99 per month? You can check out up to 10 titles at a time. Then simply return one title to check out another.

If every parent takes full advantage of Kindle Unlimited there would be an astronomical amount of downloads (thereby diminishing the KDP Select download royalty). But many parents won’t realize the full potential, and there are many people subscribing to Kindle Unlimited who aren’t parents or who aren’t subscribing for the benefit of their kids. There also is a Restrictions paragraph in the terms of use. Amazon didn’t specify a number, but if you go overboard downloading books, that paragraph might become applicable.

But Kindle Unlimited is an amazing resource for parents. I’m certainly subscribing.

Authors of children’s, tween, and even teen books can take advantage of this. Show parents what a value this is for their children, with examples of how they can use it well. Emphasize how it can help with reading and learning.

The more parents who use Kindle Unlimited to help build reading fluency or improve learning, the more children’s authors in KDP Select who will be benefiting from more downloads through Kindle Unlimited.

You have the opportunity to gain visibility among parents while advertising the educational benefits of Kindle Unlimited. Surely, many parents will check out your children’s books for helping them see the benefits.

All authors enrolled in KDP Select need to be thinking about possible benefits of Kindle Unlimited for their books, and striving to find marketing strategies to help realize these benefits. For example, if you’re a flash fiction author, you want to advertise to flash fiction readers how they can get a great value from Kindle Unlimited.

It’s not just KDP Select books or just indie books. There are 100,000 books from various (mostly small publishers) in addition to 500,000 books from KDP Select. Harry Potter and many other books that your kids may want to read are in the mix.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 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

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


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