The Corporate Beast
Amazon is the largest and most popular marketplace for self-publishing writers, and will pay 70 percent commission for books priced between 2.99 and 9.99 (this is in dollars, pounds, and euros), but only 35 percent for books over or under these amounts. BUT DO THEY??
The following post has been mostly been inspired and taken from a letter written by Michael Perry https://www.behance.net/InklingBooks to Joel Friedlanders site “the book designer “https://www.thebookdesigner.com/ Would be interesting to hear if anybody has a view on this.
Mr Perry starts by saying that Amazon does NOT pay “70 percent commission for books priced between 2.99 and 9.99.” It never, never, never, never pays that. From that 70 percent it subtracts a grossly inflated delivery fee is accessed. Here’s where Amazon explains it:
Note that the charge for the U.S. store is $0.15/MB, which isn’t the “Delivery Costs” as Amazon claims on the webpage link above, the actual delivery costs are a microscopic slice of that fee. Perhaps 99.999% of that charge is pure profit. Amazon is lying to you when it claims “delivery costs.”
The latest spanner in the works is on Amazon’s latest devices have displays in the 300 dpi range and they are beginning to insist on 300 dpi images for Kindle books. David Bergsland wrote a terrific article on this, http://www.bergsland.org/2017/05/. That means that if your books include pictures, that download fee could easily devour all your royalties. Indeed, if I change several of my books from 150 dpi images to 300 dpi, it will do just that. A 300 dpi image is four times the size of a 150 dpi one.
Michael Perry vents his frustration furthermore when he says that “the utter inability of most authors to make an effort to discover what Amazon’s real royalties are, much less act on them quoting One ill-informed writer who says, “Amazon pays 70%,” and the other echoes that without bothering to check. Don’t these people think? Can’t they read? Yes, Amazon’s statements are deceptive, but their lies are not that hard to see around. Just look further down that webpage.The real issue isn’t evil Amazon. It’s all these almost willfully ill-informed authors. And why do authors put up with this only a (fake) 70% business over only a limited price range? If they price their first book at $1.99, as suggested above, Amazon will grab $1.40 for doing essentially nothing, leaving them only 59 cents for a book they laboured over for months. And if they labor over a textbook that’s have such limited sales, that it must be priced over $9.99, again they endure Amazon miserly 35% royalty—and all without a squeak of complaint.
But at the very least, you need to have enough business sense to realise that if someone buys your book from the iBookstore, you really do get 70% of the retail price with no download fee. That means the smart move is to steer every single reader you possibly can to other retailers, none of which charge download fees. And if you want to release a book for $1.99 and later raise that price to $2.99, then show some business savvy. Release it at $1.99 everywhere but Amazon, sell it at that price for a couple of months, and then raise the price to $2.99 at the same time to release it on Amazon for $2.99. Let Amazon pay for its cheating ways with less sales.
Can anything be done about it? When it comes to Amazon, the average author seem to have “Kick me” tattooed on their backside. Anything Amazon does, they put up with without even mumbling or complaining. They don’t bother to get their facts straight. They don’t bother to complain or do anything about even the most obvious unfairness.
So all the thousands of authors struggling to get by on a pittance, he concludes that their troubles are, to a great extent, their own fault. They’re getting screwed in a host of ways by Amazon and yet few even seem to rise to the level of even knowing they should do something—never mind actually doing it.
A very interesting point of view which I could see a lot of debating and viewpoints from both sides. In a year of election upheavals and politicians speaking with forked tongue, it is refreshing to hear someone who is passionate about his trade to speak courageously and forthright about this matter.