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Old 01-21-2011, 04:33 PM   #1
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Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon have renamed their ebook publishing arm from Digital Text Platform to Kindle Direct Publishing.

More importantly, they've extended their 70% royalty option to Canada. And book which have been set to a 70% royalty option now also receive that royalty for books sold in Canada.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:35 AM   #2
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I sure wish KDP would allow me to list my book for free. It bugs me that only select publishers and special promotions (there must be secret handshakes and a decoder ring in there somewhere) can list below 99 cents. That is my biggest gripe with the DTP/KDP option. Other than that, I have been pleased with it.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:36 AM   #3
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Hya PDurrant: I had the same message from Amazon overnight. Kindle MUST become less US-centric. The slight extension to a less penal 30% retail commisson (never confuse author/publisher return with 'royalty' as Kindle and others would like you to: it is retail commission) is welcome, but it should be universal. There is NO excuse for higher sales commissions outside certain privileged countries on an ebook. Best wishes. Neil
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:54 AM   #4
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never confuse author/publisher return with 'royalty' as Kindle and others would like you to: it is retail commissionl
You're right. I shouldn't have used their (incorrect) terminology.

And 35% is terrible, but at least the 70% option is starting to spread.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:06 AM   #5
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Hya PDurrant: Ebook sales commissions are approaching and often wildly exceeding the penal commissions charged by brick & mortar stores on hardback and paperback sales (Sony, for instance, charges a ridiculous 70% across the board on ebook sales, even from established publishing houses).

Under present conditions, 35% isn't quite as crazy as it once was (though we've negotiated 25% with some of the smaller retailers). 70% is mad, for all but self-publishing authors who would otherwise have zero distribution and whose main sales potential is author-circle within the privileged countries where 35% applies.

Very best. Neil
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Under present conditions, 35% isn't quite as crazy as it once was (though we've negotiated 25% with some of the smaller retailers). 70% is mad, for all but self-publishing authors who would otherwise have zero distribution and whose main sales potential is author-circle within the privileged countries where 35% applies.
For clarity:

Amazon taking 30% and paying 70% isn't too bad, although it isn't actually those figures, since the 'delivery charge' has to be taken into account.

Amazon taking 65% and paying 35% is pretty awful, but, as you say, is just better than not having it available through Amazon in those countries at all.

Mobipocket used to do 50%/50% which was also bad.

I have one channel (LSI) which takes 25% and pays 75%, which is good.

I think Apple take 30% and pay 70% straight, which is better than Amazon, but I haven't actually signed up and distributed with Apple yet.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:16 AM   #7
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Right, Pdurrant. Apple's iBookstore ain't too bad on sales commissions. But be careful, there can be hidden costs. For instance, we had to buy a Mac computer and then Apple-specific software (that cost as much as the computer did) before we could roll with iPad. Good luck. Neil
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:36 AM   #8
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I'm not a publisher (and I don't even play one on TV) ... but 30% sales commission for an e-book at Amazon doesn't sound terrible to me ... even with the added "delivery fee". That fee is nominal and helps create a value for service and make a distinction between the costs of conveying (and storing) a Sherlock Holmes Omnibus vs War and Peace vs 80,000 word pulp fiction.

Amazon isn't perfect, and Amazon is in the (e-)book business to make profits, but it is also helping to create a sustainable eco-system -- by creating a publisher front-end to its e-book platform, setting a 30% commission, and extending to more markets Amazon enables more participation, not less. On balance, that's a good thing. It would be a better thing if Kobobooks or a couple of other players got more seriously into the game as well.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:13 PM   #9
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Hya SensualPoet: Don't be too mislead by Amazon's 'generosity'. That 30% sales commission applies only in the US, UK and Eire and last week extended to Canada. There's a whole wide world out there placing sales on which Amazon/Kindle still takes 65%.

That is much, much more than an author, artist, designer, technician and publisher will ever see from the sale of their title -- and, unlike the others -- pure profit.

I hope you don't seriously suggest that a desktop shopkeeper who privides nothing more than a tiny slot in a virtual library of shelves is worth a higher take than all a book's creators combined.

A good book sometimes takes years in the writing and maybe another year of joint effort and pro teamwork to present. Amazon's Kindle upload system is a mere push-button self-upload system. The author/publisher is even responsible for that particular process.

The new eBook stores are now exceeding even the penal discounts and sales commissions once demanded by brick and mortar bookshops that at least had titles on real shelves, staff to advise browsers and were self-promoting. No buyer advice at the ebook stores (apart from what publishers, authors and readers supply themselves) and certainly no promotion, unless it's for the store itself.

Instantaneous content as far as Amazon and the other online ebook giants are concerned, and on a zero-input, win-win basis whether they demand 70%, 65% or a 'mere' 30% of a title's income. And never confuse 'sales commission' with 'royalties' as the big stores try so hard to make you. Their creative contribution and active per-title promotion is zilch.

Sadly, they have everyone over a barrel. We have no choice but to play the game by their rules.

Best wishes. Neil
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:32 PM   #10
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I agree with some of what you say, but I have to disagree that "all" Amazon provides is a "mere push-button self-upload system". They provide access to the millions of customers who buy via the various Amazon websites, along with the customer service facilities Amazon provide. I'd suggest that's what they're charging for, not simply somewhere to make the book available online. They've spent years building their online business, consumer awareness, reputation, etc. That's what you buy into when you publish your book in the Amazon online store. Yes, you have to promote the books yourself (by "yourself", I mean the author or publisher), but that's true of most online retailers, and while Amazon don't promote your individual books directly, the books do stand to benefit from being brought to the attention of potential purchasers by Amazon features such as "others who bought this also bought", etc.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Hya SensualPoet: Don't be too mislead by Amazon's 'generosity'. That 30% sales commission applies only in the US, UK and Eire and last week extended to Canada. There's a whole wide world out there placing sales on which Amazon/Kindle still takes 65%.

That is much, much more than an author, artist, designer, technician and publisher will ever see from the sale of their title -- and, unlike the others -- pure profit.

I hope you don't seriously suggest that a desktop shopkeeper who privides nothing more than a tiny slot in a virtual library of shelves is worth a higher take than all a book's creators combined.
What fraction of English language book sales are in US, UK, Eire, and Canada combined? My guess is more than 80% (perhaps even 90%). Also, Amazon seems to be increasing their 70% to author zone over time.

The Agency publishers seem to agree that 30% to the retailer is a reasonable fee. I do think that the 70% to the retailer option favors Amazon, but this is only 70% if Amazon sells at the list price. What Amazon seems to be saying with this price structure is that they actually prefer the 30% of sale price (with control of the sale price and other conditions) option.

Direct selling of ebooks is a new model for authors. It is much more risk for them up front (no advance, fixed costs for editing, cover image, etcetera) but with a greater potential return. I think it is a no brainer for established authors with a backlist that is out of print, and it might be best in the long term for newish authors who can afford to wait several years before making significant sales (i.e. can still produce new books without much money coming in initially from the existing ebooks).
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DaronFraley View Post
I sure wish KDP would allow me to list my book for free. It bugs me that only select publishers and special promotions (there must be secret handshakes and a decoder ring in there somewhere) can list below 99 cents. That is my biggest gripe with the DTP/KDP option. Other than that, I have been pleased with it.
Do you suppose that it costs Amazon nothing to distribute your book? They are not a charity; they need to make something from the deal.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:53 PM   #13
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Hya SensualPoet: Don't be too mislead by Amazon's 'generosity'. That 30% sales commission applies only in the US, UK and Eire and last week extended to Canada. There's a whole wide world out there placing sales on which Amazon/Kindle still takes 65%.
Nope, I hear ya: 30% is a sales commission and that's what I was commenting on. That means the publisher takes 70% (less delivery fee) and then divides that up to cover costs, author royalties, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
The new eBook stores are now exceeding even the penal discounts and sales commissions once demanded by brick and mortar bookshops that at least had titles on real shelves, staff to advise browsers and were self-promoting. No buyer advice at the ebook stores (apart from what publishers, authors and readers supply themselves) and certainly no promotion, unless it's for the store itself.
I can't believe the 30% Amazon is asking is more than the cost to service a slew of independent bookstores around the world with real printed copies distributed to real bricks and mortar operations (or through jobbers and other middle men taking even more for regional distribution).

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Sadly, they have everyone over a barrel. We have no choice but to play the game by their rules.
Which is why I stated a hope for Kobo, B&N and others to strengthen their offerings and reach out to smaller publishers. Not many smaller publishers are as far-sighted as yourself, embracing e-books and e-book distribution.

I have had direct discussions with two smaller Canadian publishers and they moan about the cost of making an e-book and would rather stick to paper only. This view was highlighted by the small press publisher of this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize: he wanted to stick to hand fed letter-press copies of the winner meaning, at best, a several hundred copies could be made in time for the holiday selling season. Thankfully, Kobo stepped in and offered to make an ebook edition available (of all the short-list titles) and another larger publisher printed a paper edition allowing thousands of copies to make it to the book shops. Without Kobo and the other publisher, literally only handfuls of readers would have had access to the winner in 2010. Happily, it all ended well but it underscores the lack of vision.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:15 AM   #14
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Right, Pdurrant. Apple's iBookstore ain't too bad on sales commissions. But be careful, there can be hidden costs. For instance, we had to buy a Mac computer and then Apple-specific software (that cost as much as the computer did) before we could roll with iPad. Good luck. Neil
Neil - I sure hope that software was something we already have!

And for my two cents worth these discussions are the same as arguing the price of ebooks. Whichever end of the sale you're on is going to effect your answer.

I was having a quick look through Amazon terms but couldn't find anything specific on Canada. If I were a betting man I'd have dollar on Amazon's increased commission having something to do with the fact that Apple give 70% to Canada.
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