From travel author Andrew Hyde:
So my book about travel came out last week! A pretty exciting time. I’ve decided to write a few posts covering the launch and lessons I’ve learned.
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This post is about the where the sales of the book are coming from, and why Amazon takes 48% of digital book sales. Surprising eh? I thought Amazon was the BEST for indie authors, right?
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A few months ago I ran a kickstarter for the book to raise the funds to be able to focus on the book, and people from around the world kicked in.
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So I wrote the book. Finished up with 25 chapters and 52,000 words. So, in plain terms, book book length. A lot based on blog posts and places I visited exploring just what the last two years of my life were living on the road.
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Kindle CRUSHED on sales. People have their credit cards stored in there and the user experience is amazing. Nook is dead last again, not sure what to think of that. iBooks is at 11% and .pdf at 12%.
So as an author, I should focus on Amazon Kindle 100% right?
. . . .
So, I’m at the end of my week, time to see just how the sales ended up and how much cash I’m taking home for a few months of work.
Wait, Amazon pays out the worst? What? This can’t be right! They are the best right? Everyone loves them. I love them. I dig a bit deeper and find this little gem:
Avg. Delivery Cost ($) 2.58.
So for every $9.99 book I sell I, the author, pay 30% to Amazon for the right to sell on Amazon AND $2.58 for them to deliver the DIGITAL GOOD to your device. It is free for the reader, but the author, not amazon, pays for delivery.
The file itself is under their suggested 50MB cap Amazon says to keep it under at 18.1MB. The book contains upwards of 50 pictures and the one file for Kindle needs to be able to be read on their smallest displays in black and white and their full color large screen Mac app). I’m confused. Amazon stores a ton of the Internet on S3/EC2, they should have the storage and delivery down. If I stored that file on S3/EC2 it would cost me $.01 PER FIVE DOWNLOADS. . . . Use Amazon to run your website: .01 to download a file. Use amazon to sell your book: $2.58 per download + 30% of whatever you sell.
Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%
Now that isn’t 100% apples to apples, as it includes 3g delivery (whispernet) of the files but gives me no way of knowing how many devices downloaded via 3g. My book has a lot of pictures. It is about travel after all, it should have those. Double checked the compression of the files, everything looks to be best practices. File size be dammed, this sucks. How do the other services stack up to this?
Link to the rest at Andrew Hyde and thanks to Gary for the tip.
Does anybody else have delivery costs of this magnitude?
For most authors (in the US, at least) delivery costs average a few cents per book. The latest reports from Mrs. PG’s publishing empire show average delivery costs of between 3 cents and 15 cents per title.
You will see your average delivery costs in the twelfth column of your KDP Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties report and Column K of the current version of your Prior Months’ Royalties downloaded spreadsheet.
Delivery costs are not charged against royalties under Amazon’s 35% royalty option.
The basic formula for Amazon’s 70% royalty calculation is: Royalty Rate x (List Price – Delivery Costs) = Royalty
Here’s what Amazon’s Pricing Page (incorporated into the KDP Terms and Conditions by reference in several locations) says about delivery costs for its 70% royalty rate:
Delivery Costs are equal to the number of megabytes we determine your Digital Book file contains, multiplied by the Delivery Cost rate listed below.
We will round file sizes up to the nearest kilobyte. The minimum Delivery Cost for a Digital Book will be $0.01 for sales in US Dollars, £0.01 for sales in GB Pounds, and €0.01 for sales in Euros, regardless of file size.