Amazon’s KDP Briefly Offered a 50% Royalty Rate, and No One Knows What It Means

For a period of around 5 hours on the night of 9 January, Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing portal offered users a new royalty option of 50%.

The option vanished as quietly as it appeared, but not until after it was seen by dozens of authors and after David Gaughran snapped this screenshot:

Amazon's KDP Briefly Offered a 50% Royalty Rate, and No One Knows What It Means Kindle (platform)

Even though Amazon has since explained this away as an error, that was not enough to forestall frenzied speculation.

There is a seven page long thread over on KBoards as well as a post on the ALLi blog. No one really knows what this means, but it is not unreasonable to conclude that changes are coming.

One author noted in the KDP support forum thread that they were only offered the 50% royalty on ebooks that were not in Kindle Unlimited. This suggests Amazon is going to use the lower royalty rate to encourage putting ebooks into Kindle Unlimited by tying the 70% rate to KU.

Remember, Amazon has already restricted ebooks sold in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India so that they can only earn a 70% sales royalty if the ebooks are also in Kindle Unlimited.

If it becomes official, the 50% royalty rate would be a further step in the same direction.

That is a big IF, and here's a second complication: We still don't know if Amazon will use the new rate as a carrot or a stick.

Will Amazon reduce royalties from the 70% rate for ebooks not in KU? This is similar to what they did several years ago with audiobooks sold through Audible. That is a market where Amazon has no real competition, which, come to think of it, describes the ebook market.

But of course, in the absence of a formal announcement (or a more comprehensive leak) this is just speculation.

About Nate Hoffelder (9908 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on Amazon’s KDP Briefly Offered a 50% Royalty Rate, and No One Knows What It Means

  1. OR it could simply have been a mistake

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Amazon's New "Great on Kindle" Program Offers 50% Royalty to Non-Fiction Titles | The Digital Reader
  2. Great on Kindle for nonfiction books launches as beta - PublishDrive

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