339: Low Content Publishing: Can You Make Money Selling Blank Books on Amazon?

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This week I’m excited to introduce one of the hottest side hustles of the moment, and that is low-content self-publishing.

What is low-content publishing?

Let me explain — self-publishing has been around for a decade, and we’ve covered that quite a bit in both fiction and non-fiction — it’s one of my favorite and perhaps most passive side hustles. Write the book, hit publish, collect royalties for years.

Cool, right?

Well, it’s the whole write the book part where a lot of people get stuck.

You might not know what to write about, and even if you do, it can be really time-consuming, and at the end of the day, it still might turn out to not be a huge seller on Amazon.

What low-content publishing aims to accomplish is to accelerate your product creation by focusing on a very specific sub-set of books:

  • journals
  • diaries
  • planners
  • notebooks
  • sketchbooks
  • and more

With these types of books, the value doesn’t come from your years of experience and a 35,000-word brain dump. Instead it comes from how you’ve structured the mostly-blank internal pages and prompts, and who you’re targeting as your customer.

With Amazon’s print-on-demand KDP print service, you can upload these products as digital files, hold no physical inventory, and collect passive royalties whenever they sell. But there’s an art and a science to it, and that’s why I’ve assembled a panel of experts in today’s show.

I’m joined by three experts in the low-content publishing space with more than 1,000 titles between them:

  • Rob Cubbon from RobCubbon.com – Long-time listeners might remember Rob from episode 81, back in 2014. Rob’s been in the low-content game for the last year or so and in that time has published over 1,000 titles.
  • Flav Mederios from SideBusinessLaunch.com – Flav was a guest on episode 300 of The Side Hustle Show last summer, where we were talking about his merch business. Since then he’s expanded to the self-publishing space with around 300 titles so far.
  • Rachel Harrison-Sund from RachelHarrisonSund.com – Rachel built her low content business to 6-figures a year on a very part-time basis.

But as you’ll hear in this episode, there’s some seasonality that comes into play, there are some competitive factors that come into play, and there’s a little bit of a gold rush feel to all of this.

Tune in to hear how these low content publishers go about their product research (so they don’t waste their time), how they price and market their books to maximize sales and royalties, and how they manage such wide-ranging portfolios.

selling blank books

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  • Gusto – Get 3 months free when you run your first payroll!


  • How Rob, Flav, and Rachel approach keyword research and niche selection.
  • The types of books that fall under the “low-content” umbrella.
  • The search volume and sales metrics they each look for.
  • Why chasing initial 5-star reviews aren’t important to them.
  • How they are pricing their titles.
  • The tools they use to help manage their businesses and increase their productivity.
  • Rob, Flav, and Rachel’s #1 tips for Side Hustle Nation.

Links / Next Steps

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

5 thoughts on “339: Low Content Publishing: Can You Make Money Selling Blank Books on Amazon?”

  1. I have not listened to the show yet, and I’m sure it will be thorough, and very timely Nick. But, this is already a messed up niche because it is so easy to do. 70% of income is in Q4 and special calendar days – maybe more, and I have a sneaking suspicion A will throttle this niche as they have others in the past. It’s like the merch. industry 2 years ago – only worse, and probably shorter-lived.

  2. Great episode, Nick! I’d love to see some of the examples of journals & notebooks that are selling on Amazon. How can I tell if they’re ones that have been created through KDP versus manufactured elsewhere?

  3. Well i followed the advice and they didn’t publish it because they don’t do it … what am I doing wrong ?


    During our review, we found that the following book(s) includes content that is not suited to the Kindle format.

    My Floral Journal: Blank Lined Notebook Journal ToDo Exercise Book or Diary (6" x 9" inch) with 100 pages: Pink Inspirational Journaling,Woman,Quotes by van Noort, Giogina (AUTHOR) (ID: 47750854)
    My Floral Journal: Purple Blank Lined Notebook Journal ToDo Exercise Book or Diary (6" x 9" inch) with 100 pages: Inspirational Journaling by van Noort, Giogina (AUTHOR) (ID: 47752879)

    Examples of books not suited to the Kindle format include the following:
    • Puzzle books
    • Blank Journals
    • Pattern books
    • Coloring books
    • Facing page translations (left page in one language, right page is same content in another language)

    As a result, we will not be making the book(s) available for sale on Amazon.

    When trying to publish paper back omg … why is that so difficult , how can I use the right way ?

    • Hi there, if you look at KDP help tools, they explain a lot of the things you might be struggling with.
      one thing i noticed with your text was that you used the eBook, or maybe i misread it. for journals, it’s paperback you need to select, and you need to be sure you select bleed or no bleed.

      When i first started creating journals, it was a learning curve, and the interviews are not going to tell you that. there is training online to help you. tons of youtube videos, but you have to be patient.

      I work with coaches to create their workbooks for clients and I love it. There is a learning curve when they want to create things with images, but it’s fun when you see the end result.

      Hope this helps.
      Tina – Doneforyoujournals.com


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