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The 2024 Guide to Amazon Fees and Royalties for Kindle eBooks and KDP Print

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Last updated: January 9, 2024

This AuthorImprints 2024 guide to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) fees and royalties for Kindle eBooks and print books will help self-publishers, authors, and publishers understand the costs of publishing on Amazon KDP.

Why is this important? Because determining the selling price of a book begins with understanding your costs.

There are two components to costs when using Amazon KDP:

  1. The cost of sale: what Amazon charges the self-publisher for each unit sold; and
  2. The sales commission Amazon takes for selling your book.

This guide looks in detail at the formats sold and supported using KDP: Kindle eBooks, and print-on-demand paperbacks and hardcovers produced using KDP Print.

Amazon’s other book-selling platforms available to self-publishers—Amazon Advantage and Amazon Seller Central Marketplace—have different cost structures and sales-commission payment structures. See the list of resources at the bottom of this guide for more details.

This guide is Part 1. Also see our guide for how to decide what to charge for your book in Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon

Contents​

  1. Kindle eBooks
  2. KDP Print books (paperback and hardcover)
  3. Selling print or Kindle eBooks direct (by the author) or in other stores
  4. Additional resources and links to related topics

Kindle eBooks​


The KDP self-publishing portal stands out from all the other eBook selling platforms (Apple, B&N, Google, Kobo, etc.) because if you want their 70% royalty payout, Amazon imposes a delivery fee that is deducted from that payout.

The alternative of choosing a 35% royalty means you avoid paying the delivery fee. We’ll get to that, but let’s begin with an explanation of Kindle eBook delivery costs.

Calculating Kindle eBook delivery costs​


Amazon charges a delivery fee of $0.15 per megabyte (MB)—the file size of your Kindle eBook—for each book sold that is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, assuming you choose the 70% royalty option (see below). There is a minimum fee of $0.01, and delivery fees vary by country. For books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99, no delivery charge applies with the 35% royalty option.

You can do a rough estimate by multiplying the delivery fee times your file’s size, but that will not be accurate. The only reliable and precise way to calculate the Kindle delivery fee is to upload your file to KDP’s pricing page and see what the tool says. (In KDP, after listing your eBook, the final screen is the pricing page.)

In this example, Anonymous Is a Woman has numerous graphics and other image elements, which results in higher delivery costs. The uploaded file size is 5.49 MB and Amazon’s calculator says the delivery cost is $0.82.

Amazon KDP Kindle fees and royalties-eBook delivery costs


Notes and comments—70% Kindle eBook royalty​

  1. The “file size after conversion” is much smaller (5.49 MB) than the file we uploaded, which was 19.16 MB. This is because KDP processes the eBook file for delivery to their various Kindle reading apps, and the final file size is smaller.
  2. The delivery cost for each country is based on that country’s currency (we’re showing only three here).
  3. India (as well as Brazil, Japan, and Mexico) is a 35% royalty marketplace unless you enroll your eBook in KDP Select, as explained further below.
  4. File sizes are rounded up to the nearest kilobyte and the minimum delivery cost is $0.01 USD. This minimum charge may vary by country.

Example of what changes when Kindle royalty is changed to 35%​


By selecting 35% instead of 70%, we see that the delivery charges go away, and in this example, the royalty is lower.

The other major difference when selecting 35% rather than 70% is that the minimum and maximum pricing also changes.

(You’ll notice that the price for Amazon.in, Amazon’s marketplace for India, did not change. That’s because this book is not enrolled in KDP Select so it’s ineligible for the 70% royalty. See below for details.)

Calculating Kindle eBook delivery costs-35 percent


Avoiding the Kindle eBook file delivery cost​


Except as noted below, the only way to get around this charge is to select the 35% royalty option. Clearly this is not a good choice for most people, but for books with a very large file size—cookbooks, art books, travel books with lots of images, for example—it may make sense. Use the KDP pricing calculator to be certain about what the fee will be.

Again, books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99 are not subject to the delivery fee.

How to calculate your Kindle eBook royalty​


Unless you sell your Kindle eBook directly to readers (from your website and/or with BookFunnel, for example), you will pay Amazon a sales commission. As with any product and any store, the person buying your book is a customer of that store, and the store is in business to make a profit.

Amazon’s sales commission is based on your royalty rate.

  • 35% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 65% for books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99
  • 70% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 30% for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99
In other words, if you want a 70% royalty, you must price your eBook between $2.99 and $9.99.

Who pays taxes? You do.​


Most countries around the world charge either a value added tax (VAT) or a goods and services tax (GST), and this number is automatically calculated for your Kindle pricing page. Amazon passes these taxes on to you by reducing your royalty by the amount of the tax, regardless of the royalty rate.

In addition to reducing your royalty by the amount of the tax, Amazon subtracts the delivery costs, when they apply. These are noted in the column between the list price and the delivery charges.

Here’s the formula:

  • 35% royalty rate x (list price – applicable taxes, if any) = royalty
  • 70% royalty rate x (list price – applicable taxes, if any – delivery costs) = royalty

Fortunately, the United States is one of the very few countries that does not have a VAT or GST. For Kindle sales in the US, the only deduction from a 70% royalty is the delivery cost.

Example using the above book’s 70% royalty​

  • Sales in the US: $5.99 price – delivery cost of $0.82 = $3.62 royalty
  • Sales in Germany (Amazon.de): €99 price – €0.33 tax (VAT) = €4.66. Less delivery cost €0.66 = €2.80 royalty

Not all Kindle eBooks are eligible for a 70% royalty​


There are several rules and exceptions to getting the 70% royalty, so you should take these into consideration when deciding how to price your book.

  1. There are 41 country/territory marketplaces, including the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, from which you are eligible to receive the 70% royalty. (You’ll find a list of those sales territories that pay 70% here.) However, included within that group of 41 marketplaces are Brazil, India, Japan, and Mexico, and the only way to get the 70% royalty is to enroll your eBook in KDP Select (KDP Select requires a 90-day exclusive). Otherwise, sales receive the 35% royalty.
  2. Public domain eBook sales pay a 35% royalty.
  3. If you also have a physical edition (e.g., a paperback), the list price of your eBook must be at least 20% below the price of the print edition in order to qualify for the 70% royalty.
Make sure you understand Amazon's minimum and maximum pricing requirements by reading Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon

What happens if Amazon offers your book for a lower price?​


You could receive a smaller amount than anticipated in certain situations. This can happen when your eBook is placed on sale, or the price of your book is reduced by another retailer and Amazon matches it.

By agreeing to sell your book on Amazon, you are committing to not offer it at a reduced cost in other places. In the event that you do, Amazon can legally match that cost and your royalties will be reduced accordingly. Sidenote: This is how indie publishers can get around Amazon’s minimum list price requirement of $0.99. Price your eBook at $0 in another store, and Amazon may match it (although they are not required to).

If this happens and your book’s price falls below the minimum 70% royalty list-price requirement ($2.99), you will receive the lower 35% royalty. Obviously, this is meant as a deterrent.

Finally, these rules and policies may apply to books sold via KDP and do not apply to all books sold on Amazon. Individual publishers and aggregators can have their own arrangements.

What is your royalty when you run a Kindle Countdown Deal?​


A key benefit of KDP Select is the ability to run a reduced-price sale for a one- to seven-day period; it’s called a Kindle Countdown Deal. When this happens, you get to retain the 70% royalty even when the sale price is lower than $2.99. Here’s an example.

Let’s say your Kindle eBook is listed for $4.99. In this case, you get 70% of $4.99 less delivery costs and any taxes. If you run a Kindle Countdown Deal to sell the book for $1.99, you receive the same 70% royalty (less delivery charges and taxes, if any).

You can manually lower an eBook price if your eBook is not in KDP Select, but you won’t get the 70% royalty if the price is below $2.99. A Kindle Countdown Deal is the only way to retain the higher royalty when temporarily reducing your eBook’s price.

See the resources section below for more information about KDP Select and a link to our free guide.

Can you change your Kindle eBook price during pre-order?​


Yes. But if you lower the price, anyone who placed a pre-order will get the new lower price, and your royalty will be based on the lower price. This is true for both the 70% and 35% royalty options.

What if you are using an eBook aggregator?​


You don’t have to use Amazon’s KDP to make your eBook available in the Kindle store. In fact, there are many services—called aggregators or eBook distributors—that can do this for you for a fee. Examples include Draft2Digital, IngramSpark, and PublishDrive.

You’ll pay a flat fee or a percentage of royalties for the convenience of using a single company to list and manage your eBook in multiple stores. But since most eBooks are still sold (or borrowed) in the Kindle store, this is something we do not recommend. Use these other services, but exclude their distribution to Amazon. You’ll make more money and have more control over marketing and reports.

This guide is Part 1. Also see our guide for how to decide what to charge for your book in Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon

KDP Print books (paperback and hardcover)​


For KDP Print, the cost of manufacturing a book is the key determining factor of its pricing. The primary factors that affect costs are these:

  • The country where your book is sold. Amazon calls this a marketplace or territory—for example, Amazon.ca for Canada.
  • The number of pages in your book.
  • Whether you are printing the interior in premium color, standard color, or black and white.
  • Whether you are printing a paperback or hardcover.
  • The dimensions, or trim size, of your book.

There are two factors that do not impact cost:

  1. Whether you choose cream paper or white paper when printing black and white.
  2. The cover finish of your book. Color covers are standard and you can choose a gloss or matte finish.

There are 3 ways to calculate your KDP Print printing costs:​

  1. Upload your files to KDP Print, and their calculator will give you a cost.
  2. Use Amazon’s print pricing tables for paperbacks and hardcovers.
  3. Use Amazon’s Printing Costs and Royalty Calculator.

Although uploading your files to KDP Print is the only way to calculate the official cost, we have found the printing costs and royalty calculator to be quite accurate, and it’s perfect for planning purposes.

KDP printing costs and royalty calculator​


In our experience, authors need to determine the price of their book well in advance of finishing their book files. You don’t need a KDP account or final files to use KDP’s Printing Costs and Royalty Calculator.

Enter the known or expected details about your book. Page count can be estimated. For list price, enter your preference and the tool will tell you if it’s too low to pay for manufacturing the book.

Here’s an example. For price, I plugged in $20 just to see the manufacturing cost and estimated royalties. You can keep changing the price to see its effect on royalties.

KDP printing costs and royalty calculator


Same book: KDP Paperback Rights & Pricing page​


Now let’s use the exact same specifications in KDP to see the “official” pricing. After uploading your files for publication, the third and final screen is called “Paperback Rights & Pricing.” The formula for computing the royalty for this book is:

  • (list price x 60%) – printing costs = royalty

You see that all the key information matches the calculator, assuming a $20 list price:

  • Marketplace: Amazon.com (other countries/marketplaces reflect local currencies)
  • Royalty rate
  • Minimum list price
  • Printing cost
  • Royalty

KDP paperback rights and pricing page


Expanded distribution royalties are lower​


Expanded distribution is when Amazon makes your book available to other online retailers via their relationship with Ingram iPage, the service of the parent company of IngramSpark. For example, Ingram will make your book available to BarnesandNoble.com, Bookshop.org, and BooksaMillion.com, just to name a few.

Expanded distribution is optional, but it cannot be selected if your book is already distributed by another company (typically, for self-publishers, this is going to be IngramSpark).

Books that are eligible for expanded distribution receive a royalty of 40%. Ingram needs to be compensated for making your book available to their network of retailers. Again, this is for print books, not eBooks.

KDP Print minimum and maximum pricing​


Of course, you can’t sell a print book for less than it costs to print it, so Amazon calculates that number for you. The formula for this is: printing cost / 60% (royalty rate) = minimum list price.

The maximum price of your print book (paperback or hardcover) must be no more than USD 250 on Amazon.com (no math required!), CAD 350 for Amazon.ca, and EUR 250 for the European marketplace. (Also see Amazon’s pricing resources page.)

Authors pay the printing cost, not the retail cost​


You can buy copies of your book to sell on your own or to give away. When you do, you pay only the printing cost—$3.95 in the above example. There are two circumstances under which you can buy author copies:

  1. Your book is published and available for purchase by the public.
  2. You have scheduled your book for release. For more about this KDP feature, see our article Amazon KDP Schedule a Release vs. IngramSpark Pre-Order.

See the image below for ordering author copies. Click on Paperback Actions to the right of your book in your KDP account.

How to order discounted author copies from Amazon KDP Print


By the way, you can buy copies of your book before publication or before using Schedule a Release. If you do, these are called author proofs. Each is labeled “Not for Resale” and you can buy a maximum of five at a time. The price is the same: the printing cost plus shipping.

What if Amazon is selling my book for less than my list price?​


This might be the most common pricing question we get from self-publishing authors. The answer is your royalty does not change, subject to Amazon’s terms and conditions.

Much of the time, Amazon is simply trying to meet or beat a competitor’s price. Below is an example of a deeply discounted paperback, Off the Couch.

Amazon decided to sell the book at a loss: we can confirm the author did get her $4.86 royalty, even though the selling price was $4.52. The price has since been increased to $11.95.

Off the Couch-Amazon selling price is below cost-AuthorImprints



Selling your book (or eBook) on your website or in other stores​


Always keep in mind that your price must not be higher in any other sales channel. For example, if you sell your book on your website, it must be the same price you list it for on Amazon.

Amazon is constantly scouring its competitor’s prices and comparing them to its own. Other sales channels include Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo Books, to name just a few.

As mentioned in the discussion of price matching above, if Amazon discovers the lower price, they can match that price and your royalties will be reduced according to the same formula.

Additional resources and links to related topics​


Here are several more resources related to this topic.

Articles on AuthorImprints.com that relate to book/eBook pricing​

  1. Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon
  2. Should You Use Amazon KDP Select or Distribute Your Book Wide?
  3. eBook Pricing: No Special Formula to Determine the Right Selling Price for Your eBook (So Keep These 7 Points in Mind)
  4. What to Consider When Selling eBooks on Your Website: Pros, Cons and Tools
  5. Amazon Advantage vs Amazon Marketplace—An FAQ
  6. Self-Publishing Hardcover Books: POD, Royalties, Distribution
  7. IngramSpark: How much does it cost to produce a POD book
  8. Kindle eBook royalties: 6 essential things you need to know

Amazon resources​

  1. KINDLE. This is the single most important page to understand about how you are paid when Kindle eBooks are sold on Amazon: Amazon Digital Pricing page.
  2. KDP PRINT. This page goes into detail about costs and pricing for paperbacks: Printing Cost page. Also see their Print Book Pricing Page.
  3. KDP PRINT: HARDCOVERS. Details about hardcover printing costs.
  4. AMAZON KDP. Printing Cost & Royalty Calculator

Photo by Severin Höin on Unsplasha
 
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