A hardback book is more about the author’s own ego than anything else. It’s the most “official”-looking format of a book that you can get, but there are very few readers who exclusively read hardback books. If someone prefers a physical copy, they’ll typically buy the cheaper and lighter paperback option. Hardbacks are more challenging to create and more expensive to produce. More often than not, they prove to be a lot more trouble than they are worth.
But if you have your heart set on having a hardback, then you at least understand that there is a lot more work involved in producing it than any other format of your book. Amazon’s KDP currently does not offer any official hardback option directly through their Print-On-Demand service. This means that if you want to produce and sell one, then you’ll have to do a few workarounds. Here is how to make a hardback book for independent authors.
You’ll have to create your hardback through a third-party POD service and then claim that through your KDP account to be able to sell it on your book’s Amazon page. To make hardbacks and physical ARC copies, we always use IngramSpark. You just need to create an account on there and re-enter all of your book’s information. However, there are a few things that need to be done a little differently than your paperback.
Since the hardback is a new format of your book, you’ll need to get a new ISBN assigned to it. If your hardback has the exact same dimensions as your paperback, then you may be able to get away with using the same print interior file. If you’re using the same dimensions and choose the case laminate option (which for reference, looks like a textbook), you may even be able to get away with just updating the barcode on the paperback cover file. This isn’t likely though, and downright impossible if you’ve decided on a dust jacket.
It’s most likely that you’ll have to get your cover resized and otherwise changed especially for the hardback. If you made the cover yourself, you can find the template generator on IngramSpark’s website and check other image requirements. If you didn’t make the cover, then you need to get back in contact with the designer and see if they can do it and for how much.
With all of this completed, I always recommended ordering one proof copy of any physical book just to ensure that everything is printing correctly. Once you’ve reviewed a proof copy, you can approve the book for distribution. I’ve noticed that Amazon will automatically link the hardback to your book’s page, but you can easily find and claim it if not.
A hardback book is not necessary to be taken seriously. It’s also not likely to reach any new readers. But, I’ll admit that it does look cool. If you’re willing to jump through a few extra hoops, a hardback is possible for an independent author.