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The Telegraph Discovers That Amazon Doesn’t Like Expensive eBooks – Oh, the Horror!

3683499816_94578dfe69[1]Ever since Amazon started offering a 70% royalty option in KDP they have been very clear on the requirements, and Amazon even posted them on a public website where they can be read by anyone.

But apparently not everyone knew that. The Telegraph discovered just yesterday that Amazon won’t pay the 70% royalty on ebooks priced over $9.99:

Specialist and minor authors are being damaged by Amazon’s online royalties scheme that punishes those who do not want to sell their books at knock-down prices, critics warned.

Writers who are likely to have a small readership, particularly in niche markets, are being penalised if they want to sell their books at a high price.

If authors sell their books directly through Amazon’s Kindle site the company will hand over 70pc of all sales, providing the cover price is between $2.99 and $9.99 (£1.98 and £6.60).

Any books priced above that will be given only 35pc royalties. Critics say the move is designed to keep the price of books down on Kindle to make it more attractive in an increasingly competitive online market.

Apparently those evil, evil meanies at Amazon are punishing authors by only paying them 35% for books priced over $10.

Never mind that even at 35% Amazon is still paying more to authors than the authors would get from a traditional publisher. In spite of Amazon paying more, Amazon is still punishing the authors.

Also, never mind that B&N PubIt and Kobo Writing Life have matched Amazon’s terms (or come close); it’s only Amazon that is punishing authors.

What’s even worse are the numerous reports of Amazon holding a gun to people’s heads to force them to sign up with KDP. It’s absolutely criminal that authors aren’t allowed to not sell their work through the Kindle Store.

Who does Amazon think they are, denying an author’s god-given right to make a comfortable living off of their writing?

There ought to be a law.

image by Jane Quigley

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Angela Booth March 12, 2013 um 1:46 am

I read that Telegraph story twice, convinced that there was something I’d missed, that Amazon had changed their Terms of Service.

Silly me. I went to the Telegraph site to read the news…

CJJ March 12, 2013 um 9:46 am

I read this article and commentary over at Melville House. To Nate’s point, how is this really any different than any of the other compensation schemes that publishers perpetrate on authors? At least it’s fairly straight forward. As far as eBook pricing goes, I find that price does not equate to quality, which is a problem. I don’t know enough about eBook formatting to understand the problem but I’m tired of spending $10 on an eBook only to find it filled with typos and formatting problems that would have never made it to "print" in the paper world.

fjtorres March 12, 2013 um 11:58 am

Notice how they only complain that Amazon drops the "royalty" on the high-priced books but say nothing about the cheapies. The quoted "critics" are idiots who conveniently forget Amazon also discourages ebooks priced below $2.99.
Amazon is, shockingly, in business to make money and their "royalty" rates are set so as the maximize sales and revenue. Since they have determined to their satisfaction that the $2.99-9.99 band is the sweet spot for max *profitable* volume of sales, they encourage publishers to stay within that band by drastically cutting the rate above and below that band.
Similarly, sales into low-volume markets are also reduced as they are more expensive to deliver content into.
All Amazon is doing is telling authors that if they price their books higher than $9.99 their volume will drop and the fixed costs will eat up a larger share of the revenue.

Of course, anybody who thinks their precious 60,000 word magnum opus is worth $20-30 is still free to take it to one of the traditional publishers for a nice 15% royalty rate or deal with Hydra and the Red Skull. 🙂

NY Times Discovers Amazon is Trying to Make Money Selling Books – Oh The Horror « The Digital ReaderThe Digital Reader October 18, 2013 um 3:18 pm

[…] not seen such heights of biased unsubstantiated anti-Amazon ranting since March, when The Telegraph complained about Amazon’s ebook pricing policy (the Melville Publishing House blog sometimes comes close, […]

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