Self Publishing Questions Logo

SPQ 052: Updating Kindle Books: Do Previous Customers Get Automatic Updates?

Written by Steve Scott on February 20, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
15 Flares 15 Flares ×

Button with update or syncrhonize icon on a modern computer keyboard.

The Question

Ruth of SuperBabyFood.com asks via email: If you update your Kindle book, do people who previously bought the book automatically get the updates?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

This is a great question because it shows you’re thinking about providing great customer service. Updating books is a great tactic if you write about topics that are constantly changing.

You have four options, three of which are listed in Amazon’s KDP rules:

 

The point is, Amazon won’t notify customers about an update unless you make major changes. If you fix a few typos, Amazon won’t let customers know about it.

Before you email Amazon, make sure you’re fixing major issues. Otherwise, just make the changes and wait 24 to 72 hours for the updated book to go live. Steve recommends creating a PDF version of the updated content. If someone with an older version of the book contacts you, give the reader the PDF version via email.

If there is a major mistake in your book, email KDP directly. You need to provide details and specific examples of the corrections that need to be made to the book. It’s up to Amazon whether they will or will not take action. It usually takes more than a week for the updated version to go live.

There is also a fourth option that Amazon doesn’t cover. If your book has a lot of mistakes or doesn’t give people a good reading experience, Steve recommends starting over. Remove the book from your KDP account, revise the content, and release it as a brand-new book.

Steve is going to do this with “Habit Stacking.” He’s not happy with some of the sections, and some customers have written negative reviews, so he’s going to start over and write a new book.

Wiley creates new editions of the “For Dummies” books, but they publish them as brand-new versions instead of trying to rewrite the older versions.

Sometimes it’s best to start fresh. If your book isn’t working, or it has a lot of negative reviews, create a new version and publish it with a new cover.

Amazon is not always going to follow through on requests to update a book, so don’t contact them unless your book needs a major update.

Resources and Links

Amazon’s KDP Rules: Familiarize yourself with Amazon’s rules for publishing in the KDP program

Contact KDP: Use this page to contact Amazon directly about your book

  • Oran

    Hi Steve,
    I know that Amazon says that they allow customers to update books they purchased, but my experience is quite different. As the author, I updated 2 of my books. Naturally, I wanted to see what they finally looked like after edition 2 was published.

    Problem– Amazon will not let me see the new version. I can download additional copies to my Kindle or PC, but it is always the OLD version. I even tried to purchase each book again, only to be denied as I am already an owner.

    It’s been a year now, so I am rather sure that I will just not gain access.

    Thanks for the podcast, though. Perhaps a major release will trigger the mechanism.

    Best wishes,
    Oran

  • Hmmmm…Oran. Not sure why Amazon didn’t update the book. What I found works is simply emailing them to find out what was going on. Usually they’re pretty responsive.