Amazon's 129,000% markup on indie ebook delivery

Credit: flickr/kk

Downloading ebooks to a Kindle is free for readers, but independent authors of graphics-heavy pay that cost. Sometimes they pay way too much.

Andrew Hyde wrote a travel book, and published it independently through Amazon. Part of the development (travel books mean lots of travel expenses) came through Kickstarter, so Hyde documents the process heavily, and chapters are based on blog entries.

When he dove into revenues, he found Amazon paid out the worst, even though they promised 70 percent royalties on his $9.99 book. Why? Average delivery cost was $2.58 per ebook. Delivering his 18.1 MB file from Amazon's own S3/EC2 costs $.01 per FIVE downloads. Yet Amazon charges him $2.58 to send the book to a Kindle, their own ebook reader.

Shame on Amazon

charging for "delivery" of a digital product is just a scummy hidden fee. Even delivery charges over cell networks amounts to cents.

melee on

A large amount of standard business practices are deliberate, but legal, rip-offs - and calling a rip-off a rip-off is a good thing.

mycroftiv on

Apparently Bezo's goal of "free" wifi for downloads really wasnt "free" -- the authors pay it!

Jen Grant on

I think every book I've bought from amazon has been downloaded over wifi. I very rarely get to see a 3G connection.

davewasthere on

If I downloaded an 18MB e-mail attachment over 3g on my phone, essentially the same thing, I would be absolutely livid if I was charged $2.58.

dandelany on

I'm guessing Amazon needs to cover its Kindle 3G costs somehow, but charging £1.60 per ebook sale seems a bit steep

julianprokaza on

That's publishing

And if you're wondering what the first rule of business is, don't quit your day job. If you don't know this, your business is doomed to failure.

Shawn Corey on

they still do run the whispernet/etc. that means deals with phone companies that may add a bit of cost to it.

Thomas Walpole on

Stop whining

The author raises $8K on Kickstarter, sells his book for $10, and is complaining that the 'gorilla' is taking a bigger percentage of the take?

ChuckMcM on

You're being quite petty here. You made more than $1000 through Amazon, and less than a third as much through your next highest netting channel – pdf.

nak on

P.S.: The PDF version is delivered via, hosted free, and they pay him $9.25 (basically the credit card fees and a few more cents) on his $9.99 book.

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