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Amazon's New Ebook Royalty Option

"The new plan allows authors and publishers who meet certain criteria to receive 70% of the book's list price as royalty, net of delivery costs, which average about six cents a book. For an $8.99 book that meets the new plan's criteria, the author would receive $6.25 with the new option as opposed to $3.15 with the standard option, the company said."

Full article here.

I don't yet know exactly what this means for contracted authors, but my guess is if the publisher's net goes up, then generally so does the bottom-line amount of the author's percentage share. However, that isn't the spin most of the news agencies are putting on it. What they do focus on is the shift in Amazon policy possibly resulting in lowering the overall price of ebooks to the consumer. I can get behind this if we're talking about lowering the price of ebooks released by the big publishing corporations, which can run up to $27 for a digital edition. This was the case when I tried to find a digital edition of Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown, only to say oh hell no, when Tor wanted $25 for it. I don't know about you guys, but there isn't an ebook in the world I'm paying 25 bucks for. I wound up waiting a few days and buying a used hardback copy via Amazon for $11. By the way, this is an excellent novel by John Brown. Still not paying $25 for it, or even $15 Kindle price (my cap seems to be about $10 for ebooks ) but it was very, very good.

And hey, listen, if an ebook is already offered at the price of a Big Mac meal, I don't think the publishers should lower it any further. That's just nickel and diming the struggling Indie-press ebook authors who are already nickel and dimed to death. The new policy may not even have any effect on the pricier ebooks by bigger companies, since the price range Amazon sets for eligibilty in the program are between $2.99 and $9.99. Something would have to give there first. Just to provide an example. the Kindle edition of my "Angels of the Deep" at Amazon is only $4.79 for a 108k word count novel, and I would naturally be against lowering that price any further.

On a positive note, this may mean that some authors with multiple titles will find that it is financially viable and more profitable for them to go Indie themselves.

So authors, keep an eye on how this goes and maybe discuss it with your publisher before signing new contracts. The new 70% royalty option will become available from June 30th this year.