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Uncovering the Royalty System in Amazon Self-Publishing

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  • September 12, 2023
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  • 6 min read


The rise of self-publishing has given writers a powerful way to share their stories and reach people worldwide. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) service for self-publishing has become the industry leader. But it can be hard for prospective authors to figure out how the royalty system works. This piece details how Amazon’s royalty system works and explains how authors can get the most money.

Understanding Royalties in Amazon Self-Publishing

When authors use Amazon’s KDP platform to publish their books, they can earn money called “royalties” from the sales of their books. Royalties are a percentage of the book’s price that the author receives as payment for each sale. Authors need to understand how royalties are calculated so that they can make informed choices about how to set prices and distribute their books.

Royalty Rates for eBooks

The royalty rates for eBooks on Amazon’s KDP platform depend on the eBook’s price and the country in which it is sold. For eBooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99, authors are eligible for a royalty rate of 70%. This higher rate applies to eBook sales in specific countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and Japan.

However, if an eBook is priced outside the $2.99 to $9.99 range or is sold in a country where the 70% royalty option is unavailable, authors receive a lower royalty rate of 35%. Authors need to keep these royalty rates in mind when determining the price of their eBooks and considering the countries where they want to sell their books.

Factors Influencing eBook Royalties

Several things can affect an author’s eBook earnings. First, the royalty rate depends on which price tier you choose. Also, the file size of the eBook can affect the cost of sending it, which can be taken out of the profits. Writers must consider these things when deciding how much to charge for their eBooks.

KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited

With Amazon’s KDP Select program, authors can sign up for Kindle Unlimited (KU) eBooks. KU is a service that lets people pay a monthly fee to access a huge library of eBooks. When a book is part of KDP Select, the author can get royalties based on how many pages KU members read. This can give authors another way to make money, but it needs exclusivity, meaning the eBook can’t be sold on other platforms while the author is enrolled.

Royalties on Print Books

Amazon’s self-publishing site lets authors publish paperback versions of their books and eBooks. The list price, printing fees, and sales channel are used to figure out print book royalties, which differ from eBook royalties. Authors can choose their list price, and their royalties can range from 60% to 40%, based on how the book is sold and how much it costs to print.

Royalties and Sales Around the World

Amazon Self-publishing is great because it lets you reach people worldwide. Authors can make their eBooks available in more than one country, which gives them access to new fans and markets. But it’s important to know that taxes may be taken out of royalties from international sales based on where the author lives and the tax laws of the country where the sale occurs. Authors should learn about these rules to report correctly and make the most money possible. Book Writing Founders can assist you with how to fulfill the rule and tax laws of different countries to publish a book.

Ways to get the most out of royalties

Amazon Self-publishing allows authors to make as much money as possible.

Strategies for pricing

Trying out different prices can help you find the sweet spot where profits and sales volume are both high. For pricing strategies, read How Much Does a Writer Make per Book? By looking at market trends and competitors’ prices, you can learn a lot about how to set your prices.

Thoughts on KDP Select

Signing up for KDP Select can have both pros and cons. Even though it gives you access to more benefits, it needs exclusivity, meaning the eBook can’t be sold on other platforms. Before making a choice, authors should carefully weigh the possible pros and cons.

Marketing and advertising

Targeted marketing campaigns, like Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions, can help increase sales and exposure. These efforts can help bring in new readers and raise royalties over time.

Series vs. Standalone Books

Publishing a series of books can build a loyal fan group and make selling other books easier. Putting out the next book in a series can boost sales and increase total royalties.

Using Amazon to advertise

Using tools like paid product ads and display ads from Amazon Advertising can make products easier to find and increase sales. By smartly spending their advertising budgets, writers can increase their royalties through targeted advertising.

Tools and Help for Authors Who Publish on Their Own

Amazon gives self-published authors several tools and services to help them:

Author Central on Amazon

Amazon Author Central lets writers set up and manage their author profiles, add editorial reviews, and interact with readers. It allows authors to build their names and connect with their readers.

Community of Kindle Direct Publishing

The Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Community is an online forum where writers can talk to each other, ask questions, and share their experiences. It’s a great way to learn new things, figure out how to fix problems, and find out what’s going on in the world.

Third-Party Marketing Tools

Several third-party marketing tools, like book promotion services and platforms for scheduling social media posts, can help writers make their marketing efforts more efficient. These tools let you reach out to specific people, handle your social media accounts, and look at data to help you promote your book better.


The Amazon self-publishing royalty method may seem complicated initially, but an author’s success can greatly affect how well they understand it. Authors can make the most money and reach more people by considering royalty rates, eBook prices, distribution channels, and marketing tactics. Amazon Self-publishing has given a lot of writers a chance to share their stories and make money on their own. So, take the plunge, find out what’s possible, and let your voice be heard! Get started with How to Design a Book: The Art of Creating Eye-Catching Books.

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