5 STEPS: How to Format a Paperback Book for Amazon KDP

Last Updated on August 19, 2020 by Jordan Alexo

Today, let’s talk about how you can format your Kindle book to paperback. I can’t say this is the most exciting thing in the entire world. However, it’s something you must get done. I always suggest for beginners to learn everything averagely well when it comes to self-publishing. At least, this way, you don’t become dependant entirely on other people for your business.

But later on, once you have more money, you should outsource all the repetitive processes. Freeing up your time, so you may focus on more critical tasks, such as searching for book titles, publishing newer books, etc. So without further ado, let’s rock and roll, baby!

How To Format a Paperback Book For Amazon KDP [VIDEO GUIDE]

Step 1) What Are The Standard Book Sizes For Paperbacks?

You can either choose between 6×9 inches or 5×8  inches. These sizes are the most common ones printed. Back in the days, when I used to publish shorter books with around 12.000 words, I often chose 5×8. As a result, this made my books look thicker.

Thus, this is the only reason why I suggest you select this size; otherwise, if your book has around 15.000 words, then choose 6×9.

I am using a software called “WPS Office” you can download it for free here. WPS Office is a text editor similar to Microsoft Office, but completely free. Open your book file in one of these text editors; this should be the file you either wrote or received from a ghostwriter.

One of my first recommendations is to have this file optimized for Kindle. Otherwise, it will be harder for you to format it to paperback. If you don’t know how to do this, then read this guide, “How To Format Your E-Book For Kindle Publishing.”

In case everything looks sweet, then one of the first things you need to adjust is the page size and its margins. For this:

  1. Select the page layout tab
  2. Size
  3. More Paper Sizes


Afterward, a window will open, and here you can alter the page sizes. Change the width to 6 and height to 9. You may also see the preview of your page altering as you configure its options. Note: this may be 5×8.


Go to the margins tabs, and configure them to the following sizes, ” Top: 0,5 – Inside: 0,5 – Bottom: 0,5 – Outside: 0,6 – Gutter width: 0,4″ also in multiple pages alter to mirror margins and apply to the whole document.


Although these are the options I suggest, sometimes, you may need to adjust a few of them. One of the main problems is when you have images; this may create awkward issues once you upload the paperback into KDP and check its preview. Commonly the issue is with the gutter length, which may need a few adjustments so that images won’t pass the margin limits.

STEP 2) How To Paginate Your Paperback?

Paperbacks have pagination on contrary to their e-book counterpart. For this, go to your introduction or first chapter page, in other words, the first page where your content starts. The previous page is typically either the table of content or the copyrights.


In this last page before your content, delete the page break and add, “Next page section break.”



Now go to the footer section of this page and double click on it. New options for the footer should appear. See the example below:


Look at the toolbar on top and unlink the introduction page from your prior one. Just click, “link to previous.”


Click on insert page number and center from the current page. I prefer to center the pagination as this tends to cause fewer problems compared to other options.


paperback pages

Once done, I suggest you check your book and see if everything looks good. You may want to adjust the title page. Often I like to add some extra spaces and have my author name appearing in the bottom. You may also increase the font size for the title, subtitle, and author name.


STEP 3) How To Add a Table of Content to Your Paperback?

A paperback table of content needs to have pagination, and it doesn’t require hyperlinks – Well, I guess that last part is obvious! For this, delete the old table of content, the one belonging to your Kindle book. Just select everything and delete it.


Select the “References” tab, then Table of Contents, and Insert Table of Contents from the downlist.


Choose the following options for your table of contents. Just make sure to exclude the use hyperlinks, I prefer only to show levels 1 or headings 1; however, this depends if you would like your readers to get a better preview of the book content. Sometimes, this may be useful for customers who check your book preview in Amazon to get a better idea. You may also choose another tab leader, depending on your taste.


Also, delete all the lines you don’t need in your table of contents. Just select them and delete them.


STEP 4) Review Your Book Formating

Go through your book and make the needed adjustments. For instance, you may need to add an extra blank page right after your title page. Otherwise, your table of content or copyrights will appear behind it, and it won’t look right. I suggest you grab a paperback to get a better idea. Just try to imagine someone opening your book and what they will see, then add the blank pages accordingly. Of course, once you upload your paperback to KDP, you can check its preview. However, by doing this right away, you avoid wasting time.


Afterward, simply scroll through your book and, if needed, add page breaks before each new chapter. It should look something similar to this example:


Also, clean any unnecessary formatting issues. Sometimes, you may have problems with bulletin points or the heading spacing. Delete any extra enters, etc.delete-enter-in-paperback

Once done, your paperback should look sleek like alleluia, baby! I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds alright! 

STEP 5) How To Save And Upload Your Paperback To Kindle Direct Publishing

First, save your document as a paperback. It may need a few adjustments later on, also make sure not to overwrite the e-book file. After you have this done, I suggest you save your paperback as a PDF file. This way, you have fewer problems. For this, click on the File tab and export PDF. In a few seconds, you should have your PDF saved in the same place where you saved your original document.


Now simply go to your KDP paperback options. In the paperback content, upload your PDF file.



Once done, check your paperback preview. Go to each page and see if everything looks alright. Afterward, just price your book and publish it on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions?


How Do You Format A Paperback?

  • Book Standard Size: either 6×9 or 5×8. In case you have a short book, you may choose 5×8 to make it look thicker.
  • Book Margin Sizes: Top: 0,5 – Inside: 0,5 – Bottom: 0,5 – Outside: 0,6 – Gutter width: 0,4″
  • Book Font Family: Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia.
  • Book Font Size: 12 or 14 pixels
  • Pagination: center and bottom

What Is The Best Paperback File Format?

Well, from my experience, pdf seems to be the one that causes fewer problems, mainly when you include images in your book. I also use pdf for my paperback book cover.

How Long Does Amazon Take To Revise Your Paperback?

After you publish your paperback in KDP, Amazon will revise and see if everything follows their guidelines. In case your book looks right, then after 24 to 48 your book will appear in their store. I also suggest you to immediately connect your paperback to e-book, because both will be separated. Instead, appear side by side on their sales page. For this, send a message to Amazon support and provide the links for both books. Afterward, they will take care of the rest.

Last Thoughts…

If you have any questions related to Kindle publishing, then please leave it right below. Also, make sure to subscribe and get your free Kindle guide. Thanks for reading!

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  1. Hi Jordan
    Yours is the best advice on formatting a book I can find. Very simple steps to follow. Just one question; do you know why I have page numbers missing? Everything was looking good for a moment. I scrolled through my book and was devastated to see numbers totally skipped on some pages.(maybe once or twice) I know it is something I’ve done wrong but what could it be?

    1. Do you mean page pagination? First, you should check if you added a section break before you started the new pagination. Second, check if your footer section is working properly. Click on your footer to be able to edit it, and see if you have the text box where you can insert a number. Sometimes, this text box might be missing on some pages. I hope that helps Simon, thanks I appreciate your comment

  2. I have downloaded a book on Amazon but get up to trying to load the cover I want but cannot come up with a sizing the Amazon system accepts. I am happy to pay if you give this assistance.

  3. We have received several proofs from kdp, and all of them have blank pages throughout the book. The pdf does not show any blank pages. We cannot resolve this issue. Any advice would be so appreciated.

    1. I used to have this problem. In my case it was caused by the layout page break. Check that the page breaks are on the page they are supposed to be and have not slipped over to the following page, thus causing a blank page.

  4. I want to have 1 inch margins all round (2.55cm). Is this possible with Kindle print books?
    Thank you,

    1. You have specific sizes for paperbacks. I recommend trying the sizes you like by uploading the file to your KDP account. Make a preview and see if you don’t run into any problems. If your formatting has an issue, edit once more until you have none. Sometimes, it takes some testing to get everything right. If you need further help, feel free to message me. Thanks!

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