Amazon Continues to Pay Unfairly Low Royalty Rate in Audible Romance, But is Finally Letting Authors Out of the Program

Amazon still hasn’t fixed the ongoing fiasco that is Audible Romance. The new royalty payments for Q2 2018 today are still unreasonably low, but on the upside Amazon has allowed some authors to escape from Amazon’s sweatshop.

According to reports from KBoards, the royalty rate for the second quarter was about the same as for the first. One author said the rate was “about 10 cents per 100 minutes listened to”, while another wrote that they “made about 50 cents per listen”.

Last quarter, Audible paid $0.0009556 for each minute that an Audible Romance subscriber spent listening to an audiobook. That is almost the same as the rate for this quarter, and that means Amazon still hasn’t found a fix to its funding problem.

They have, however, finally started letting authors leave the program. Here’s the text of an email sent to one author:

While we are sorry to see your titles go, we are removing them from the package at your request. Please note that we will not be able to re-enter your titles to the Audible Romance Package for 12 months following removal. You may continue to earn royalties from the titles removed from the Audible Romance Package as we will not remove titles from listeners’ libraries. Listener minutes will be reflected in future earnings statements.

In order to remove titles, please reply to this e-mail with the specific names and URLs that you would like removed from the Audible Romance Package. Once we receive this information, all changes will take up to 20 business days to take effect. We will send you a confirmation email once titles have been removed from the Audible Romance Package.

Thank you for your participation in the Audible Romance Package.

Launched last November, Audible Romance is a subscription service where you can listen to as many romance audiobooks as you like for a flat monthly fee. This is great for users but not for authors because, as you would expect, romance fans can consume an impressive number of audiobooks each month.

Since authors were paid from a pool funded by subscription fees, this meant that authors were paid an incredibly low rate for their work in Q1 2018 – about 57 cents for a ten hour audiobook.

That pay rate is unsustainable; it has made romance audiobooks financially unviable, but so far Amazon has not said how they are going to fix it.

If and when they do I will cover that story.

Thanks, Isobel!



Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder 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. Margaret23 May, 2018

    Huh. I listen to my audio at 1.5 or faster. Does that mean that the authors make even less from me than from someone else?

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 May, 2018

      Good question.

      I don’t know.

  2. Lori Drake23 May, 2018

    “While we are not sorry to see your titles go…”

    Wow. Way to open a form letter, Amazon.

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 May, 2018

      That is actually a typo from me transcribing the email from a screenshot

      I fixed it

  3. Allen F23 May, 2018

    Like KU for ebooks, you might do this for discovery – but not for making the big bucks – though that might happen too if everyone wants to ‘hear’ your tale …

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