Low content books used to be a “get rich quick” scheme. After all, who doesn't want to have the ability to upload hundreds or even thousands of books to Amazon, then sit back and watch the money roll in.
Admittedly, that used to be the case. But no longer.
Because anyone could upload thousands of low content books to Amazon, it soon became a hyper-competitive field, and now it is nearly impossible to get rich quick using the strategies that came before.
But does that mean that publishing low content books is dead? Not at all.
- What low content books are
- Should you even bother publishing low content books
- Types of low content books
- How to create low content books
- How to publish low content books
Table of contents
- What Are Low Content Books?
- Should You Even Bother Publishing Low Content?
- Types of Low Content Books
- How to Create Low Content Books
- Tools for Creating Low Content Books
- Where to Publish Low Content Books
- How to Publish Low Content Books
- Royalties for Low Content Books
- Publishing Low Content Books on Other Platforms
- Final Thoughts
Let's start with the basics…
What Are Low Content Books?
Not everyone actually agrees on what “low content books” are. Let's start with Amazon's definition of low content books, as this will be important if you are uploading low content books to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
Amazon defines low content books as any books that have repetitive pages, with little to no words.
This is primarily referring to books like notebooks, planners, journals, sketchbooks, etc.
However, there are a number of other categories that are widely considered as low content books, but do not fall into this definition. These include books with a little more content that is not repetitive, including coloring books, workbooks, activity books, etc.
Many people consider all of this to be low content books, but to simplify our meaning, we will be referring to these books as “medium content books”.
Hint: medium content books are going to be important.
Should You Even Bother Publishing Low Content?
As I stated in the intro, low content books used to be the perfect get-rich-quick scheme. It was a way of publishing books without going through the effort of writing them, and some low content books ended up being extremely successful, making a lot of money for what is essentially no effort at all.
But what this led to is an insane amount of competition. Now it is not enough to throw together a few hundred low content books, publish them, and see what happens.
Now, you have to really do your research, use a program like Publisher Rocket to find your niche, and produce a truly quality product that you can't simply mass-produce.
So should you even bother publishing low content books?
There are still many opportunities to publish low content books, but you can no longer mass-produce them and expect to be compensated.
Instead, each low content book, or medium content book, must be carefully thought out, and produced with a level of quality that the mass producers will not have.
For example, you might want to produce low content books that tie in with your high content books. You could produce a coloring book related to your fiction, or a workbook related to your nonfiction book. Almost all categories of low content and medium content books will tie into high content books in some way, so it is a great way to increase your offerings for fans of your high content books.
For a great breakdown of why mass-produced low content books are on their way out, and why you should put your focus on higher quality low content and medium content books, check out this video:
Types of Low Content Books
As stated above, the official Amazon definition of a low content book is any books with repetitive pages and little to no text. Under that definition, here are some of the low content books that you would have to mark as such on Amazon:
- Journals: journals are definitely repetitive and require little to no text on each page. It is meant to be filled out by the user, and therefore qualifies as a low content book. There are many different types of journals, including the following:
- Gratitude journals
- Food Journals
- Prayer Journals
- Bullet Journals
- Planners: planners are another type of low content book. While they might have more text, they are definitely repetitive in nature and require someone to fill it out. Planners include:
- Wedding Planners
- Job or Workplace Planners
- Family Planners
- School Planners
- Notebooks: notebooks are usually simple lined pieces of paper, bundled together so that the user can make notes with it. That easily qualifies as a low content book.
- Logbooks or Ledgers: similar to planners, these are repetitive books that allow you to log expenses, transactions, workout routines, food logs, etc.
- Sketchbooks: sketchbooks are usually blank pieces of paper meant for artists who want a book to carry around with them for illustration, drawing, painting, etc. since these pages are blank, it deftly qualifies as a low content book.
- Music Composition Notebooks: music composition notebooks are any kind of notebook that includes the standard lines needed to compose music. While the format is different from anything else on this list, it is still repetitive and qualifies as a low content book.
- Guestbooks: a guestbook is any book with repetitive lines in it for guests of a wedding, party, baby shower, or other event to input their names and any notes they have. Since these are repetitive and require little to no content, these are low content books.
- Recipe Books: note that we are not talking about cookbooks here. A recipe book is a book where the user can fill out their favorite recipes into their own book. It is essentially a notebook for cooking.
Medium Content Books
While these are often categorized with low content books, they actually require more work, and Amazon would not classify them as low content, because they are not repetitive, and many can have more expansive text.
These medium content books include:
- Workbooks: a workbook it is essentially a guide with prompts that you provide. Every page can be different, and therefore is not a local content book in Amazon's eyes.
- Coloring Books: kids and adult coloring books are very popular, but obviously do not have repetitive pages. Therefore these are not low content books.
- Puzzle Books or Game Books: puzzle books are relatively easy to produce, but you will need a new puzzle for each page, and so these are not low content books.
- Activity Books: activity books require a lot more effort than your standard low content book. You have to create original and engaging contact for each page. Examples of activity books include:
- Summer activity ideas
- Holiday activity ideas
- Kids puzzle books
- Activities to learn a specific subject
- Mindfulness activities
- Quote Books: quote books are generally collections of inspiring quotes, often sorted in a calendar-type format, or simply a group of inspiring quotes on the theme. Even though this content is easy to procure, it would not qualify as a low content book because it is not repetitive. These are usually around the theme, including:
- Mindfulness quotes
- Daily inspiration
- Variations on a specific subject
- Scriptural quotes
- Learning Cards: these are technically not a book, but serve a similar function. You can use other third-party sources to create these, then dropship them on Amazon. Examples of learning cards include:
- Meditation cards
- Affirmation cards
- Child or toddler learning cards
- Trivia cards
- Joe cards
- Date night or conversation cards
How to Create Low Content Books
The creation process of low content books differs from one type to another, and so we cannot definitively explain the process for every content type.
However, here are a few tips that are universal:
1. Know Your Audience
As with any type of book creation, it is important to know your audience ahead of time, so you can deliver a product that people want.
Start by finding a good niche and doing all you can to dig down deep into that niche.
Additionally, you might already know what your niche is, because your low content book relates to something you have already written, such as a coloring book that ties into your fiction, or a workbook that ties into your nonfiction. If this is the case, you have the advantage of knowing your audience already.
2. Quality Is Greater Than Quantity
In the early days of low content books, quantity was everything. The more prayer books you could produce, the more likely that one of them would succeed and make you a lot of money.
That is no longer the case.
Instead, you want to make sure that your books are high-quality, so that they will rise above the slush pile. Most low content books are, let's face it, trash. You need to show that your books are of a higher quality.
3. Outsource When Necessary
When creating a product, there are many components involved. You may need to outsource certain parts of the design, or other creative processes.
It is totally okay to do this, as long as you can afford to do so.
4. If You Find Success, Capitalize On It
If one of your low content books takes off, that is a good sign that you have found something people want.
If this happens, the next step is to create more low content books in the same niche or content type. For example, if an activity book does really well, you can create more activity books that are similar in theme.
Tools for Creating Low Content Books
There are a lot of tools out there that you can use to create low content books, as well as to publish/market them.
Let's take a look at a few:
Canva is an inexpensive graphic design tool that you can use to create basic designs with little to no effort.
It is far less expensive than more robust design programs like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe InDesign, and it can handle most of the designs that you would need to create, such as line journals and the like.
If you are more familiar with a more powerful design tool, that can work just as good if not better, but Canada is a great option for many low content publishers.
2. Publisher Rocket
A great way to know your audience, and find a niche that works for you, is to use a keyword and category research tool.
And the best of these research tools is Publisher Rocket.
Publisher Rocket makes it easy to find keywords that people are searching for, in all this is. You can also sort through various categories, see how many books you have to sell to rank in those categories, and more.
Publisher Rocket makes this entire process easy, cutting back on hours and hours of time that it would require to do these steps manually.
See our posts on finding the best keywords and categories without Publisher Rocket, if you absolutely can afford it.
Where to Publish Low Content Books
You can publish low content books in most of the same places you can publish regular books, including:
- Amazon KDP
- Barnes & Noble Press
- Ingram's Spark
Some types of low content you can even find on merchandise sites like Lulu or Redbubble, but these have pre-set interiors, and the only thing you are changing about them is the design on the front. These are usually journals and notebooks.
How to Publish Low Content Books
For purposes of this article, we will talk about publishing a low content book on Amazon KDP, the same process is largely universal on other platforms.
- Start by logging into your KDP account.
- Create a paperback or hardcover.
- Enter your paperback or hardcover details, including your keywords, categories, etc.
- Be sure to click the low content box that Amazon provides.
- Upload your interior and book cover designs.
- Set your rights and pricing.
- Hit publish.
A note about ISBN's: Amazon previously provided ISBN's, but they no longer do so on low content books. You either have to provide one of your own, or published without the one (yes, you can publish without one). Note that this only applies for low content books, and any of the books we classified as “medium content” does not count. Medium content books will still need an ISBN, and you don't have to low content box in the KDP upload process.
Royalties for Low Content Books
The royalties for low content books are slightly different than regular books. For paperback and hardcover books, Amazon will offer you a 60 percent royalty rate, based on your distribution settings.
If you use expanded distribution, that royalty rate drops to 40 percent, although the number of sales you can get through expanded distribution may be higher.
Keep in mind that these royalties come after the cost of printing, so make sure to price your books high enough that you get a significant royalty.
Publishing Low Content Books on Other Platforms
Barnes & Noble press, Lulu, and Ingram's all offer print and hardcover options. This means you can easily publish your low content books there as well.
In fact, you are likely to run into less competition on these platforms, as they are less trafficked than Amazon.
Note that every platform has their own guidelines, and you should make sure to look these up before choosing to publish your low content books on each of these platforms.
Lastly, there are also bulk shipping options, which can be viable instead of print on demand. But you have no guarantee that you will sell these books, and so you might end up with a warehouse full of books that you have paid for, and no one buying them.
That is why we usually recommend you stick with KDP or another print on demand platform first, then once you understand the market, you can try other bulk shipping options.
Low content in medium content books can be a great addition to any publishing portfolio.
We especially recommend low content books as tie-in books to your existing publications. This not only creates multiple streams of income, but it is group a great way to market your original books.
But as we have mentioned, it has to be done right. The market is too saturated with low content books, which means that you have to make them extra special to rise above the competition.
We wish you the best of luck!