Edit: I misunderstood the announcement. The service is still essentially free, only now the payment rates are better than they were before. eBooks distributed through Pronoun will now earn 70% of the list price.
For example, a $1.99 ebook used to earn $.70 when distributed through Pronoun and sold in the Kindle Store; now Pronoun will pay $1.40.
If you thought that sounded too good to be true, you were right. Pronoun announced on Tuesday that they were ending free distribution. Pronoun is now charging a 30% commission on ebook revenues for titles distributed through their platform.
Here’s more from the email:
- We are increasing author royalties to 70% for all books priced $9.99 or less and sold in the US and Canada. Yes, even books priced $2.99 and below will earn 70%. For many authors this will translate to double what they were previously earning. Read more about our new royalties .
- We’re giving authors more choice over distribution. You can choose where you want your book distributed when you publish your book.
- We’ve added the option to price your book for free on all retailers. Based on our data and your feedback, we know that is an important marketing tool for authors.
- We’re offering Author Pages. You can now send your readers to one place to find information about all of your books–whether or not they’re published by Pronoun. Plus it’s free.
- You can now set up pre-orders for your books across all retailers including Amazon. That means you can effectively plan your book’s marketing campaign with complete confidence.
I would be more upset about this, except we all knew it was coming. The promise of free distribution was based on Pronoun’s belief that they could cover their costs by developing platforms for news orgs and corporations while charging authors nothing. That was a viable model in the short run, but it simply wasn’t going to work in the long run – especially not after Macmillan bought Pronoun in May 2016.
That was about four months after Pronoun opened its platform to all authors.