Category Archives: Amazon pricing policy

Amazon’s “Gray” Book Market Explained

Is Amazon's third-party-seller system robbing authors?

Is Amazon’s third-party-seller system robbing authors?

Today’s New York Times reports on the change in Amazon’s book-selling practices that allows third-party sellers to sell as “new” books they’ve acquired from remainder stocks or book reviewers as well as other sources. Authors won’t receive royalties on these sales, just as they would not from sales in used-book stores.

I’m posting this because I saw this issue flair up only briefly in a couple of the blogs I follow, and I thought it might be of interest to more writers.

The comments (at this writing there weren’t very many) challenge some of the assumptions and premises in the article. A recurring theme seemed to be that the publishing industry could do a better job of rewarding authors out front so that they were paid for their work regardless. Another is that as publishers buy into the print-on-demand trend, this form of supposed piracy will diminish.

There’s no discussion in the article of indie publishing. The focus is on hard-cover “new” books that would ordinarily provide royalties to the writers.

What about it? Is this a non-issue for you? Is it an issue only for writers aspiring to be traditionally published? I found myself wanting to comment that this article and Amazon’s policy is an argument for becoming one’s own publisher, in wh

ich case no book leaves “the store” unless the author has been paid for it. What do you think?


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Filed under Amazon pricing policy, business of writing, indie publishing, Marketing books, Money issues for writers, Print on Demand for fiction writers, Publishing, publishing contracts, Self-publishing, Writing, writing novels

My First BookBub Rejection

I highly recommend alfageeek’s candid, nuts-and-bolts reports on the marketing process. See, for example, his series on Twitter ads. Now here’s one on Bookbub, which is way out of my league at present. but which might be useful to you.
And may I echo his exhortation: If you’ve read either of my books, PUH-LEEZE post even a few lines of a review.


EntropyI decided to take a shot at doing a promo with BookBub. Over the past few years, they have become the most effective marketing platform for e-books. Their reputation is that they reject almost all submissions, and they never tell you why they rejected you. But if you manage to get accepted, then you will sell a lot of books. They regularly update a chart that shows exactly how many books people in various categories and price points sell. That’s useful, because if they accept you, the listing is very expensive.

I signed up to their email list to be notified about Erotic Romance novels, since that’s the best category for my novels. (Even though I can’t say that on Amazon.) I was pleased to see that the books being promoted were not out of my league. Of the 24 Erotic Romance books they have listed right now, there…

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon pricing policy, business of writing, ebooks publishing and selling, indie publishing, Marketing books, Money issues for writers, Myths and Truths for writers, Reviews, Self-publishing, Writing, writing novels

A New “Amazon Kindle Direct” Report

Amazon Pricing

After creating considerable confusion earlier about how I could sign up for a 70% royalty rate for my two books, I returned to my site to change my settings to the higher rate. I seem to have succeeded, but not without a further bit of confusion, which I now hope I have clarified.

This time, more intelligently, I queried the support team via the email option, and received a  helpful and timely reply. (One of my hoped-fors for my online ventures: a quick “help” response process.)

Who, exactly, is”?

Here was the problem: When you pick “70%,” you receive a chart showing in which sales territories you will earn 70%. For some (e.g., Brazil, Japan), a small box informs you that in order to earn the higher amount in these countries, you must enroll in Kindle Select, which, you may know, requires you to give Amazon an exclusive for several months. Because I had already uploaded to Smashwords, I couldn’t easlly make this choice, and I’m not sure I would want to.

The confusion for me arose because sales made at “” were shown as paying only the lower rate of 35%. So what sales, specifically, were these? In my idiom, items bought at “” include books bought by U. S. buyers. Did this chart mean that books bought in the U. S. would never earn more than 35% royalty?

Here’s the reply to my query:

You’ll receive 70% royalty for books sold to U.S customers from
However, customers outside of the U.S. often purchase books on the Kindle store. The books sold to customers outside of the applicable sales territories will be calculated at 35% royalty rate.
The 70% Royalty Option is only applicable for sales to customers in these sales territories:

[I’ve cropped the long list of the countries in which the 70% option is available.]

*70% Royalty in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India: Digital Books enrolled in KDP Select are eligible to earn 70% royalty for sales to customers in these countries as long as the 70% List Price requirements are met. Otherwise, you will earn 35% royalty.
Sales to customers in all other locations will receive a 35% royalty and are recorded separately in your royalty reports at the 35% rate.
For more information, please visit our Help Page:
I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP. Have a nice day!”

Therefore, it looks as if I was successful in making the change, and as if I’ll earn 70% in most cases.

Questions I had about Logging into Amazon Direct Publishing

I had some difficulty figuring out exactly how to return to my KDP account. When I signed in using the account I had created to associate with the books, I could find no links to my KDP account. The customer-service representatives with whom I initiated a chat for help had no idea what to tell me. Finally they directed me to the “contact us” link for KDP, which is apparently a separate section of Amazon. I know now to log in at, where I then sign in with the email address I created.

I hope this help others easing into the process. I assure you, the Smashwords process was less complex, almost certainly because of the complex royalty and distribution components of Amazon.

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon pricing policy, ebooks publishing and selling, Self-publishing, Smashwords, writing novels

Amazon Pricing Confusion Resolved!

Brittneysahin (below) got it right (unless I am misreading again :-))!

Here is the text:

“But if you choose the 70% Royalty Option, you must further set and adjust your List Price so that it is at least 20% below the list price in any sales channel for any physical edition of the Digital Book.”

Obviously the operative word here is “physical” edition. In other words, a book can be priced the SAME as a DIGITAL edition at any other sales channel. The 20% reduction is only necessary if you have a print edition (I assume this includes POD editions but that is not clear).

In my defense for missing this word, I was taking in a lot of information at once and was probably not attuned to the idea of a physical versus digital edition, since “physical” versions of my books are out of print. Of course, they’re being sold by used book dealers at all sorts of prices, but presumably this is not relevant since I earn nothing from these used book sales and have no control over them.

If you’re tempted to buy a copy of the old paperbacks for like $0.01, or some such price, let me know and I’ll send you a Smashwords coupon for a cheaper (yes!) edition. Both books have been revised, Blood Lies a fair amount.

Thanks so much to Brittneysahin and others for input on this. If anyone gets any new information via direct communication with Amazon, thanks in advance for letting us all know. And I’m going to change my royalty rate to 70%.


Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon pricing policy, ebooks publishing and selling, Money issues for writers, Self-publishing, Smashwords, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, writing novels