Amazon Kindle Makes Changes to Author Payments

Before publishing your e-book exclusively with Kindle Direct Publishing, through Amazon, you might want to look carefully into their payment policies.

On July 1, 2015, Amazon introduced a new way to pay authors when selling books through their KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing) platform. Previously, Amazon paid authors a set percentage based on sales of their books. The recent change, however, switches that method over to payment based on the number of pages read per book.

Amazon will continue to set a KDP Select Global Fund each month, and under the new payment method, the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read instead of their share of total qualified borrows.

Since the new payment method has only been in play for a limited time, it’s hard to say whether the change will affect authors in a positive or negative way. The first royalty statement won’t be available until August 15, 2015.

POMA member, and successful e-book author, John E. Phillips brought this important change to POMA’s attention, stating, “Under this new system, Kindle writers don’t know what they’ll get paid for books selected under Kindle Prime and Unlimited programs, because the first royalty statement under the new system won’t be available to the writers until August 15. However, reason dictates that pay per page read will be a drastically reduced royalty payment from pay per book, based on the price of the book. We need to make our members aware of this change in Kindle pay and let them know that they have an option, especially if their royalties drop drastically.”

Phillips adds, “One option is to remove their books from Kindle Select Program, which paid a 70% royalty for books purchased and sold exclusively on Kindle. After removal from Kindle Select, a writer’s books still can be sold on Kindle for a 35% royalty on the retail price of the book, and the writer is then free to put that same book with other e-book sellers.”

If you’re currently offering your e-books via Kindle Select, you can access your author page and see statistics, including the number of pages read, for each book you offer. This may help you determine if the new method will hurt, or help, your bottom line.