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How To Publish a Second Edition Book and Keep the Reviews (Amazon KDP)



Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

This compact rundown shows you how to publish a second edition or new version of a book on Kindle Direct Publishing without messing up the entire bookshelf.

Publish a second edition eBook

Fortunately, updating digital copies of your book on KDP IS easy, simply because there are no ISBN regulations to follow.

Publishing a second edition eBook uses the same process as if you were updating the files for the title. Assuming you’re already logged into KDP…

  • Find the book you want to update.
  • Under KINDLE EBOOK ACTIONS click ‘Edit eBook details’.
  • Change any relevant information like title or description.
  • Under the Edition Number section, type ‘2’.
  • Go to the next page to update cover and documents.

Covers should include all the text that’s going into the title AND subtitle.

It doesn’t matter if your eBook’s second edition has fewer pages than the original, or an additional hundred, you can still update it with ease.

What KDP means by Edition Number

An edition is a particular version of a book. The edition number tells readers whether the book is an original version or an updated version. If this is the first time you have published this book, enter the numeral 1. If the book was previously published and the version you are publishing contains significant changes, enter the numeral 2 (and so on).” – Amazon KDP.

Adding an edition number is optional from the beginning so it’s not necessary but it does have benefits. Letting KDP know the updated version is technically a new release allows them to match the metadata more quickly to the paperback.

Note on titles

You should ensure the title and subtitle match both eBook and paperback exactly. If they don’t then it’s harder to link them on the customer page and can cause accounting issues.

For example – and I’ve made this mistake, so you don’t have to – I have ‘second edition’ written in the subtitle of one of my eBooks, but in the linked paperback version of the same book, I have ‘2020 edition’.

The downside is that sales data from orders are now split across two separate sales reports. Which doesn’t sound like a big issue, but it grows into one. Where I used to receive sales data for the title regardless of format, I now receive two different sales reports, one for the eBook and one for the paperback.

Granted, eBook and paperback sales can be separated by the click of a button but if the titles don’t exactly match then the sales are pre-split which provides a little more work if you want a snapshot of the total title sales.

The ONLY reason the book I mention IS linked is because the eBook and paperback are linked from within the KDP dashboard.

Publish a second edition paperback

If you publish a second edition separately and do not link it to the matching eBook, then the reviews built up for that title are lost.

If your paperback has an ISBN, whether KDP-provided or via another publisher, then there are rules in place to stop you messing with the metadata.

What you CANNOT change after publishing a paperback with an ISBN:

  • ISBN (obviously)
  • Language
  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Edition Number
  • Primary Author
  • Interior Colour
  • Paper Type
  • Trim Size

You CAN change the document and cover but will need to adapt the cover size to fit the new page length of the book. Page count is not included in basic ISBN data but if your page count has gone up or down then you have a new edition on your hands, and it should be registered as such.

So already, the restrictions of publishing a second edition are building up. 

Easy way to publish a second edition paperback

To keep the metadata of the eBook and publish a second edition of the paperback on KDP, follow these easy steps:

  • Find the book you want to update.
  • Click ‘Unpublish print book’ and wait for page to reload.
  • Hover again and click ‘Unlink books’

After reloading that page, you will see the KDP dashboard now lists two versions of your book: the eBook and an unpublished paperback. Don’t be worried, it’s scary at first unpublishing a successful book but it’s all for the greater good of the reader.

Once you’ve wiped the sweat off your head:

  • Go to the eBook of the title you’re updating.
  • Click on ‘+ Create paperback’.
  • All the updated eBook info is carried over for you.
  • Then upload your files and pick your book style.

It’s as simple as that. But what happens next?

How long does it take a second edition to update?

It’s always beneficial to add ‘1’ to the Edition Number section of any first book you publish, purely to future-proof yourself and make linking editions easier. If you missed it first time around, then update the edition number and republish before following the steps above.

What this does is allow Amazon to see there is a second edition of the book and update the original edition to reflect there is a new edition.

The original edition will still have a listing on Amazon but don’t panic, this is normal and actually helpful. It can take up to 7 days for Amazon to link the new paperback to the eBook but usually this is done in less than 48 hours.

It can take up to 14 days for the now unpublished first edition to point to the second edition. When it does, Amazon places this text on the page of the original edition: There is a newer edition of this item. They also provide the link to the newer edition.

Once the second edition is live, the reviews from the eBook will show on the second edition paperback listing on Amazon as well, keeping the reviews intact.

If it’s taking a little longer than usual, then drop a kind message to KDP support to manually request linking of the books.

If you were to unpublish both the eBook and paperback, only to then upload a second edition then all the reviews and algorithm data will not be carried over from the original and will in effect be lost.

Quick recap:

  • Update eBook to second edition.
  • Unpublish and unlink original paperback.
  • Add second edition paperback in its place.
  • Let Amazon do the rest.
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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!