Yes, Amazon has apparently been paying all non-US ebook authors in paper, not in one form of electronic payment (EBT, Paypal, etc) or another. This is particularly strange when you consider that Amazon accepts credit card and bank transfers, and will even pay associates via EBT.
So why is this an issue? Well, it's more that Sarah's bank is charging ridiculous fees than Amazon, but whenever she gets a check from Amazon she has to pay a $25 fee to deposit it. Her very first royalty check for the Kindle Store was $17, so she in effect would have had to lose $8 and gained nothing.
And it's not just her bank. The petition already has over 700 signatures, and other authors have chimed in that they are in a similar predicament. One remarked that the paper checks added a month long delay before he got paid:
The current system means I have to wait a minimum of 100 days for my payment; 60 days waiting period for payments set by Amazon, 10 days for the cheque to arrive and at least 30 days before the money is available in my account because the cheque has to be sent BACK TO AMERICA before the money is credited to my account. My preference is for EFT.
Another author is even thinking of leaving Amazon over this silly setup.
As an author based in the UK I also find this system cumbersome and expensive. I doubt I am the only none US author to seriously consider leaving Amazon behind me due to this ridiculous discrimination. It's like this one part of Amazon seems to still be operating in the 20th century.
It's almost as if this one part of Amazon is still operating in the 20th century. What's next, Amazon; are you going to start making deliveries by steam ship? How retro do you plan to go?
The truly puzzling part about this news is that it has gone on for as long as there has been a Kindle Store (I found references from 2010 and 2011), but also that there's no clear reason for this decision. I doubt that there are any federal regulations blocking this; Smashwords has been paying international authors via Paypal for nearly as long as Amazon has been using paper checks.
If you would like to sign the petition, head n over to Change.org.