Audible is Paying Inexplicable Bonuses to Authors in Audible Romance

After news broke last week Audible was paying an abysmally low royalty rate for its romance audiobook service, Audible Romance, the audiobook retailer promised to patch the problem with a bonus, but wouldn’t give specifics.

The bonus payments have started to arrive, and we still don’t know any more than we did before.

Authors are reporting over at KBoards that the bonus payments started arriving in their bank accounts yesterday without any new update to the situation. They haven’t heard anything from Audible, and neither have I (I just sent another email), so we are still trying to puzzle the method to Audible’s madness.

So far the reports from authors include:

  • I received my bonus. It was $140. I only made $5 in the program.
  • I got $25 and I had no minutes for the period.
  • I made one cent from two books and got a $25 bonus.

Without more data to go on, all I can tell is that Audible paid each other at least $25 for having a book in the program, and is scaling the bonus somehow.

If you got a bonus, can you share your details below? It would help us all figure out what Audible is doing.

While it’s great that Audible is making up for last quarter’s disastrous royalty payment, they still haven’t said anything about how they will fix the fundamental problem of the Audible Romance subscription service.

The service simply isn’t workable under its current setup. Right now romance fans are allowed to listen to as many audiobooks as they want for a low monthly fee ($15, or $7 for existing Kindle Unlimited or Audible subscribers).

Romance fans are voracious readers,  and they are going to listen to a lot of audiobooks when they join an unlimited plan like Audible Romance. This means that Amazon is going to have to pay an unacceptably low royalty to authors if it wants to break even, or it will pay a decent royalty and lose a ton of money each period.

Whose bright idea was this, exactly?

image by ActuaLitté

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Audible is Paying Inexplicable Bonuses to Authors in Audible Romance | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing11 March, 2018

    […] Link to the rest at The Digital Reader […]

  2. David VanDyke12 March, 2018

    Clearly, they are bribing authors to stay in the program. And when I say “bribing,” this is not hyperbole. It may not legally be bribing, but it’s still bribery. Trading a favor for a favor–stay in an untenable program that is screwing others not bribed–is still bribery. A payoff. A coverup, even, but no coverup is possible in the internetted world.

    Why not just fix the system and pay authors what fair compensation? Hmm? Because, contrary to the quote above, they’re not “making up for” anything for most of the participants. Many authors have significant minutes logged but no bonus, and mere pennies paid.

  3. […] Audible has, however, sent out a bonus to participating authors, but have yet to explain how they calculated the bonus. […]


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