Unless you sell your eBook directly to readers (from your website, 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:
70% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 30% for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99.
35% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 65% for books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99.
Not all eBooks are eligible for a 70% Royalty
There are several rules and exceptions to getting the 70% royalty so you might need to take these into consideration when deciding how to price your book.
· Some territories/countries are excluded. However, sales in most of the English-speaking countries pay the higher royalty.
· Public domain eBooks are excluded.
· eBook sales in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India pay 35% royalty unless your book joins KDP Select.
· You must agree to make your eBook lendable for a 14-day period. This allows your reader to borrow your book once.
There are a few other rules about when you might receive less than you expect. This happens when you put your eBook on sale or another eBook retailer offers your book for a lower price and Amazon matches that price.
When you agree to sell your book on Amazon you agree to not sell it at a lower price elsewhere. If you do, Amazon is authorised to match that price.
For complete details go to: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200634500
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 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 that can do this for you - for a price. Examples include Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Bookbaby, and IngramSpark.
You basically 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, and not all services work the same way, it pays to study the options, costs, and trade-offs carefully.
Let’s look a bit closer. There are over fifty book retailers out there that sell self-published books like iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and a whole lot more, but formatting a book and submitting it to all the different platforms can be tedious work.
This is where book distribution services like Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and PublishDrive step in. These platforms will take your book and distribute it to a list of publishing retailers, control the analytics, collect royalties, and pay you in one lump sum.
This is incredibly efficient and helps to get your book out to more readers with little to no extra work, but given that the three services are very similar, how do they stack up against each other? Which is the right option for you as an author?
These services are for those of you who do NOT want to format and upload their book to each individual publishing retailer out there. They are for those who want to quickly and efficiently get your book on LOTS of different markets, and just receive one royalty check a month (rather than a handful of checks from each platform every month). For a small slice of the income you make through their services, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, or PublishDrive, will handle the distribution and admin side for you – freeing you up to focus on the things that matter more to you as an author.
The original eBook publishing platform for indie authors and the world's largest distributor of self-published eBooks is Smashwords, and they currently distribute over 450,000 books from over 130,000 indie authors. Besides being a fountain of knowledge, their website also houses an eBook store that allows Smashwords self-publishers to create coupons and even give their books away for free–no kindle select style contracts required either.
However, to submit your book to Smashwords, you'll need to format your book as per their instructions–and the requirements for formatting are extensive. They created a 27,000-word document to tell you all about it - that’s basically a complete eBook to go through on how to prepare your eBook.
Draft2Digital (D2D) was the new kid on the block. Adopting a new age platform, the Draft2Digital website dashboard is very easy to use. D2D do the formatting for you for both eBook and print copies. Just send them your .doc or .docx, and they will make it compliant for all of their platforms. As their front page says: “Your style guide is our style guide. And if you don’t have a style guide, that’s okay too. Just get us your manuscript and we’ll do all the technical stuff for you. It’s really that simple.” D2D also email you each time a book goes live on a platform, and keep you updated on the status of your book at the other retailers. D2D also pays you monthly, and they always have.
Finally, D2D helps authors sell more books by giving them access to Universal Book Links (UBL). This helps the author’s books more discoverable without having to create and manage a link for every retailer. While Amazon is the most popular site for buying books, there are many people who buy from non-Amazon sites. If you don't have links to each customer's preferred book retailer, you're missing out on sales. D2D now offers a print option as well making it a solid choice for any author.
PublishDrive is the latest to join the party of book distribution. The user interface is easy to navigate, and the dashboard is really clear to use and the most important information, such as your copies sold and money made, is presented quickly and simply.
When you first sign up for the service, you are lead through a checklist which establishes where you are at as an author, and what your goals are from using the PublishDrive service. It also handles physical books now like D2D, while Smashwords does not.
However, a downside to PublishDrive in comparison to D2D is the requirement to do your own book formatting. They also stopped their Royalty Share pricing for new accounts from September 2019, and operate a subscription plan.