It should have been easy.
All I wanted to do was change the photos in my book on Amazon from black and white (B&W) to color. Simple, right?
This cautionary tale is being told for two reasons–to let my readers know that my old book will soon become a new book (sort of), and to inform others who are considering publishing with Amazon that it’s important to be aware of their rules and regulations.
I’ve made changes to my book This, Their Friendship’s Monument (TTFM) before. Minor corrections, mostly grammatical, for errors that I caught after I first hit “publish” on Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) website. So when I decided to switch my choice from B&W to color printing, I figured it would merely be another revision. Click the box. Easy peasy.
I set aside my work-in-progress, a book that will have the title You Dream Every Night That I Am Home and opened the immense (414 pages, including bibliography) computer file for TTFM. It felt weird, looking at it again in its Microsoft Word form, and not as an e-book or paperback. It also felt awkward—like meeting up with an old friend who you haven’t seen in a long time. I really should know this stuff better than I do at this point, I thought.
But as I started going through it, hunting for images to swap out for their color counterparts, I also began to re-read bits of it. For the first time, I could read it with some objectivity, and not as the writer whose brain was yapping in the background “blah, blah, blah. I KNOW already. We’ve read this like 500 times,” even as it missed those grammatical errors.
I was pleased with how few of those errors I was finding this time, and as I got into the rhythm of the book again, the writing brain was actually being helpful, suggesting a rewording here or adding a bit of info there. The suggestions and the words were flowing. It felt good.
The photo part was going really well too. Not only did I swap out B&W photos for color, I used a sepia filter on some of the old B&W photos, and in some cases located better images to replace the original ones. I also added images—there are over 30 additional ones now.
All of this took much longer than I’d expected it to (poor work-in-progress, now you’re but a distant memory!) Finally, I was ready to upload my changes to KDP. I logged into my account and found the box that I’d originally checked for B&W printing.
There was no way to uncheck the box.
After trying repeatedly to find a way to do it, I searched KDP, then googled my question and finally found the answer: From the KDP website: “…If your book is already published, the interior and paper type is locked. To update your interior and paper type, unpublish and then republish your book with a new ISBN…” This includes black and white or color.
OH NO. A new ISBN (International Standard Book Number) MEANS A NEW BOOK. With a new title.
ISBN # 9798682630578 has been assigned to “This, Their Friendship’s Monument” (TTFM) and they will be synonymous forever. I learned that while I’ll be able to unpublish TTFM so that no one can order a new book, it will remain on Amazon so that people can sell second-hand copies.
I thought about giving up the idea of color photos, but only for a moment. Surely I’m not the first person to come up against this problem. But how could I make this work? One book with two different titles? Can you even do that?
Apparently you can.
I tell you all of this, my dear readers, to let you know that I will soon be unpublishing This, Their Friendship’s Monument and publishing Coal Country Connections, which is the new and improved, revised and colorized version of TTFM.
The printing costs are higher in color, so the price of the book will unfortunately have to be higher as well. But the changes will be worth it. Below is a preview of the differences between the old and new versions. The following is the chapter about old Buck Mountain, as seen in the original book:
And the following is the same chapter in the new version of the book:
When the new version goes live, an update will be posted here at ChessieWriter.