Is Amazon KDP really “passive” income? I took a month off to find out.

Here are some detailed data-filled results of what happened.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Passive income seems like it’s been having a moment on the internet lately, I suspect due to the current instability of many people’s jobs.

Though many people see it as a total scam (and I honestly can’t blame them with the rise of highly suspect Youtube videos on the topic), the idea of passive income has existed long before the internet.

Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is just a straightforward and user-friendly way for designers and writers to enter the passive income scene with book royalties, without needing a traditional publishing contract.

You write (or in my case, design notebooks, day planners, journals, etc), Amazon does the work of printing and shipping physical books (or getting Kindle ebooks to your customers), and you collect a royalty based on the price you set for your work.

In January 2021, after about a year of dabbling with the program and 98 books published under various pen names, I finally saw over 1k royalties.

My royalties from Amazon in January

So naturally, I decided to take the entire month of February off.

Well, not really. I didn’t stop working, but I did stop uploading because I wanted to test if this could be relatively consistent without needing to constantly grow my back catalog.

The results genuinely surprised me.

My royalties in February without any additional uploads

As you can see, while I did see a bit of a drop from $1,085 to $948, February is also a shorter month.

Adjusted for daily earnings, I went from an average $35.03 to $33.87, or a drop of only 3.3%

That being said, in my experience results tend to compound, so I would be willing to bet if I took an entire year off as opposed to a single month, I would see a drop much greater than 39.6%

In conclusion, while KDP earnings will decrease over time without adding to your catalog, I still consider it an overall successful income stream as far as being “passive” (though I still prefer things that continue to grow while abandoned, like my stock portfolio)

Besides, what other job is going to pay me to take an entire month off?

1 part girl boss, 1 part designer, 1 part writer, and 1 part depressed potato.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store