Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Ben Oakley
Author copies are different from proof copies. Proof copies are what your paperback or hardback will look like before publication.
It is a time-tested way to check the physical version of your book for issues with formatting, images, and graphical content.
Imagine if you sold a book with blank pages, squiffy images, and lines intersecting with each other! Proof copies do not come with a barcode and usually have a ‘not for resale‘ watermark across the cover.
If you’ve uploaded a perfectly constructed PDF of your book for printing, then chances are you’ve already caught those issues. If you’re still unsure, then proof copies are the way to go.
Author copies come after proof copies and are only available when your book is live on Amazon. An author copy from your Amazon KDP account is the same as the one for sale to the public.
What are the shipping estimates for author copies?
When you place an order for author copies, you do so based on your location. If you live in the UK, the books will be shipped from within your Amazon.co.uk account.
Once the order is submitted through KDP, you are transferred to your normal Amazon account where you can see the delivery time estimate. For example:
As you can see above, my order of 100 copies of Bizarre #9 will likely be dispatched within 5 days.
Author copies are not available on Prime delivery, so usually take another 2-3 days after that to arrive. Changing the order quantity from a single copy and then to the maximum of 999, does not change the delivery estimate.
This means that no matter how many author copies you order, the delivery estimate will remain the same.
To sum up, the average time it takes for Amazon KDP to deliver your author copies is around one week. However, it does depend on the time of year and what shipping service you use.
Times of the year and shipping speed
That one-week turnaround is based on ordering 100 books from the UK at the tail-end of the summer holidays using expedited shipping. July and August are normally slow months for book sales.
If you were to place the same order on 10th December, chances are it could take up to a month, or longer. This is due to increased book orders from retail customers, and as such, author copies will always be the last in line.
It also depends on which delivery option you choose at checkout. For example:
If I want the books to be dispatched within five days, then I will need to pay more for expedited shipping. Paying less for standard delivery means another week added to the shipping time.
The only way to check this is to go through the entire process yourself.
- Place an order through Amazon KDP.
- Adjust basket quantity on your normal Amazon account.
- Go to checkout and view the shipping options.
Heading to a book fair or convention? Order your books in well in advance. Two months before an event, you should have your books in stock with you.
What are the benefits of ordering author copies?
- Order at print cost. *
- Sell on your own site.
- Sell at book events/markets.
- Use for giveaways.
- Giveaway as a marketing tool.
- Gift to friends & family.
- Build your own author bookshelf.
*Remember, this is Amazon, who are one of the largest companies in the world. As such, you’re not simply getting the book at print cost.
Though there have been no figures released, it is assumed they are making a small percentage from author copies. And why not? Nothing’s free in this business.
Even if it’s a 5% fee built into the print price, it’s still one of the cheapest ways to order author copies.