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Hardcopy books cost more to print in colour than in black and white, whereas distributing an ebook that is readable using the Kindle app costs the same in both. Is it possible at Amazon to publish a hardcopy print-on-demand book in black and white and to publish the Kindle version so that it can be read using the Kindle app, if not on most actual Kindles, in colour?

I realise you could publish two separate editions, but what I am asking is whether you can do the above so that a prospective buyer can see both options and choose which version they want to buy in exactly the same simple way that they can see the options when the hardcopy and ebook versions are identical.

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  • No - USB sticks are nothing to do with this question whatsoever.
    – tell
    Jul 27, 2023 at 2:35

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Welcome. Publishing both B/W as well as full color books/eBooks is certainly viable at Amazon (because when its done through other channels such as Lulu, Ingram, etc its often recognized at Amazon (if they opt to link to it). See the KDP link below that explains it.

KDP info: amazon kdp

The key is to publish both the print book and the eBook all through Amazon KDP under the same publisher name. If you print your books elsewhere (such as at Blurb) and you market your eBooks on Amazon KDP it will NOT all be linked together through the same publisher profile.

Just use a different ISBN for each book title, and a different unique ID for each eBook (i.e. Amazon's UUID that will be linked to the eBook), load as seperate titles, thus Amazon will give each title its own unique ID number.

It might help to put some of the detailed points in the meta description during setup for your book/eBook and point out the differences between the two titles.

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  • Many thanks for this. So it's not as straightforward as I'd hoped. It doesn't sound as though Amazon itself will make the link. See the section "Why are my books not linked on Amazon?" on the page you linked to. Their example is of someone producing a hardback and a paperback, but among the metadata items they say must match exactly for the books to show up together is "Interior type (B&W or Colo[u]r)". I wonder what happens if you submit a colour PDF and say that for the POD hardcopy you want it to print in B&W and for the e-book they should just go ahead and print from the PDF.
    – tell
    Jul 27, 2023 at 10:52
  • Addendum: I've now read that page more attentively and it specifically says that if Amazon haven't linked the versions you should verify that "All the details mentioned above match between the all the formats you've chosen (eBook, paperback, hardcover)." I think to make things easy I may have to do the ebook in B&W. It's not as if it has any photos or graphics that absolutely must be in colour. I only wanted to do some of the headers and perhaps a few divider lines in colour - that's all.
    – tell
    Jul 27, 2023 at 10:58
  • Printed full color books base cost keep the final retail price high due to cost + return. Some publishers sell their eBooks at the same price as the printed book, yet some sell it at a lower price; there are no up front costs [except time] to an eBook (like paper costs), so the final retail price of an eBook can be anything you choose (below the printed book price). Perhaps consider cutting out the extra conversion step entirely (B/W vs Color); it's one less step to do. Just market both book and eBook in the same tonal type (the book at a higher price, the eBook at a lower price).
    – granite
    Jul 27, 2023 at 15:58
  • Thanks, @granite. Another issue is that I can do much nicer things with layout for a printed book generated from a pdf than it's possible to do with a Kindle-format e-book. This includes for example the precise placement of sidenotes and the use of my own fonts I've created usong FontForge, which it's easy to embed into a pdf. I think I may have to do different versions. I will craft another question accordingly.
    – tell
    Aug 7, 2023 at 13:33

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