B&N Press Announces a Flat 70% Royalty on eBook Sales

Barnes & Noble has always offered ebook royalty terms which were better than Amazon’s, and now they’re a lot better.

I’ve just learned that B&N has changed its royalty terms. It used to pay 65% or 40% depending on the price of the ebook, but now ebooks distributed through B&N Press will pay a flat 70% royalty.  And in related news, B&N Press now also sends payments 30 days after the end of the month, rather than 60 days.

The changes took effect at the beginning of the year, and will be reflected in royalty payments sent out in February.

Barnes & Noble is the second ebook retailer to improve its royalty terms in recent months; in August of last year, Play Books started a beta test where it offered 70% royalty in the US, Canada, and Australia. That program expanded in October 2020 to cover 60 plus countries.

In comparison, Amazon has a coercive royalty fee structure which pays a 35% or 70% royalty, and still includes the laughable “delivery fees”. These are essentially the same terms that Amazon first offered over a decade ago, coincidentally proving once again that the dominant player does not have to innovate.

image by MikeKalasni via Flickr

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.

7 Comments

  1. Disgusting Dude1 February, 2021

    Or that the size of the market within the walled garden matters?
    At last estimate B&N commanded maybe 3% of the ebook market.
    Is that extra royalty enough to offset the KU revenue tbat comes with Amazon exclusivity?

    Reply
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  3. Sophie Kisker4 February, 2021

    The exclusivity that comes with Amazon also comes with continuous uncertainty about whether they will decide out of the blue that I’ve done something that warrents withholding payments or closing my account without appeal, policies that change moment to moment, and customer service that couldn’t care less about facts or proof. Simply put, I don’t trust them.

    Yes, B&N has had issues this fall, and time will tell if it’s worth riding out, but it’s an eggs/basket thing, and I refuse to let Amazon have complete control over my future as an author.

    Reply
    1. Disgusting Dude5 February, 2021

      Which has nothing to do with the rate change, right?

      Folks that *are* willing to play Amazon’s game (until they actually *do* something to *them*) aren’t going to jump ship over this. Or Kobo’s subscription service, for that matter. Useful for folks already going wide but competitively meaningless.

      Once the Agency conspiracy gave Amazon a commanding lead network effects kicked in and KU cemented it. It’s going to take the KDP guys getting a lobotomy and going Audible-stupid (whole different crew) to make a measurable dent in their control.

      Agency is tbe gift that keeps on giving.

      Reply
  4. Shelley6 February, 2021

    I can completely understand the rationale behind being exclusive with Amazon for a lot of self-published authors, but I buy very few books from Amazon. I prefer the epub format, so 97% of my ebook purchases are from Kobo. There are only 4-5 authors that I love that I am prepared to shop at Amazon for, and there are at least another 6 or 7 that I no longer read because they are exclusive to Amazon. Authors, and readers, make the choices that suit them best. For me, I can’t stand the kindle app; and price-wise the kindle ebook isn’t that much cheaper than from Kobo when you take into account exchange rates. Occasionally price will pay a part in my decision when looking on Amazon, but even then I don’t usually end up purchasing the ebook. The list price on Amazon frequently increases when I go to purchase the ebook. For example, I was interested in purchasing a cookbook that was listed for NZD24.99 on Kobo but was USD3.99 on Amazon. Bargain! Just as I was about to purchase the ebook, I noticed the price had changed to USD15.92. With the exchange rate I might as well buy from Kobo, so I didn’t bother purchasing from Amazon. Not sure of the reason for the price change, maybe geographical zoning, but it adds to the reasons of why I don’t bother too much with Amazon, or with very many of the authors exclusive to Amazon.

    Reply
    1. Disgusting Dude7 February, 2021

      Agency book prices are set by the publisher. Amazon lets you know.
      The big publishers routinely charge more in the US than, say, the UK.
      Do if you’re outide the US and you’re buying tradpub, going to the US site is not helpful.
      Likewise, georestrictions are also publisher controlled.

      None of which helps prop up B&N or Kobo.

      Reply
  5. Shelley7 February, 2021

    That hasn’t been my experience here in NZ. UK editions of agency ebooks are generally more expensive than US editions. Additionally, B&N don’t sell ebooks outside of US, at least they never used to and I haven’t checked to see if that situation has changed. I just wish pricing was more consistent. I could buy the ebook version of chef Jamie Oliver’s latest book for NZD 51.74 from Kobo; or NZD 49.95 for the hardcover print edition from a bookshop; or USD 16.99 from B&N for the nook ebook if I was actually able to purchase it; or amazingly enough the Amazon kindle version for USD 15.12! I’m only guessing that the Michael Joseph imprint (publisher of the cookbook above) of Penguin Books is UK based.

    My example in my previous post was probably not the best example to use. I have found that the price of self-published ebooks will change from when I look at the list of ebooks available by a certain author, to the moment I have selected the ebook to purchase. The price has usually increased by approx. USD 1.00. It might be listed as USD 4.99, but when I select the book to buy it the price will have changed to $5.92.

    Reply

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