Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I'm not the author, but I'll give you an answer that may justify this crazy pricing scheme.

Amazon takes a 70% commission on Kindle books priced above $9.99 or sold outside of selected countries (e.g., USA, UK, etc). They "only" take 35% for books sold in such countries AND priced below $9.99.

You may think that $22.79 is a magical number they pulled out of their asses. But multiply $22.79 * 30% and you get $6.84.

If they priced it $9.99, they'd get $9.99 * 65% which is $6.49. So less royalties for the publisher.

Now... at $9.99 the book would certainly sell more copies. However, if you consider all the copies sold outside of the selected territories will have 35% royalty regardless of how low the price is, and the fact that a $9.99 ebook cannibalize your $25-35 physical book sales, the option of pricing your Kindle $20+ no longer sounds crazy.

Some publishers outright opt out of this race (e.g., Pragmatic Programmers).

I love Amazon, but they are literally gouging authors and publishers. They should have a flat 30% rate, Apple-style, and let the market decide at what price they'll buy books. Alternatively, keep the flat rate and place a cap on the price of the e-books sold through the Kindle platform (e.g., $10 for fiction, $30 for non-fiction).




Great explanation. The pricing for an upcoming Kindle version of a PDF ebook is something I'm struggling with. My current thinking:

Kindle version: ~$10

PDF ebook + Kindle version + supplements (sold from my site): ~$24

The Kindle version is great for portability, but doesn't have the clean formatting, etc. you get from the PDF. I'm considering offering a coupon to Kindle users to get a discount for the "deluxe" version (essentially, less the cost of the Kindle version).

All this because Amazon has forementioned crazy royalty scheme.

-----


You were probably rounding up in your post but if not, shouldn't you price the kindle version at $9.99? It seems if you add the extra $0.01, you'd make $3 vs. charging $9.99 and making $6.99. Wouldn't want you getting screwed by Amazon's strange publishing terms.

-----


Yep, I meant 9.99, thanks.

-----


You think foreign sales are that strong that they'd jack the price up that much and be profitable at it?

Also, I thought that Amazon actually lost some battles with the publishers, in terms of being able to set the prices they wanted, rather than what the publishers wanted.

Your 35% and 70% rates are certainly those that apply to the KDP - but do they apply to publishers like Wiley as well? They presumably have more bargaining power than someone self-publishing.

-----


Really interesting explanation.

I bought 2 books today.

The Lean Startup - (Kindle edition) $12.99

Design for Hackers - (Dead tree edition) $25.32

1.) It's surprising to me that The Lean Startup is priced at 12.99 if they give amazon 70% of the royalties. Seems like they should have priced it at 9.99.

2.) Design for Hackers is a book where illustrations matter. Paying for the dead tree version is better. At only a few bucks off the dead tree version, the Kindle version doesn't seem fairly priced considering the degraded reading experience.

-----


It is possible that Crown Business (Random House) has a better royalty arrangement in place with Amazon. For all we known, even Wiley could have one and it's just pricing the book as if they didn't.

-----


Thanks for that explanation! Now I understand better why I don't get a larger cut for ebooks. I guess since Amazon commands the distribution, they can command a larger portion of the sale price.

(I am the author of Design for Hackers)

-----


Thanks, I had no idea about this crazy scheme. Now at least I know that it is Amazon to blame, not the authors and not even their publishers (which were my first suspects).

-----




Applications are open for YC Winter 2016

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: