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Thread: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price


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Peter Wooton

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Registered: 02/18/17
Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 22, 2017 4:11 AM
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The paperback version of my book sells at (UK) £6.23. My royalty figure is 60% which sounds OK but in reality I only receive £0.18p per item sold. The remaining £6.05 goes to Amazon/Kindle/Other for printing, tax, 'with-holding' (whatever that is) etc....so around 97% of the paperback sale price goes to others, not the author. The Kindle version pays far better. For me, self-publishing via Amazon/Kindle serves only one purpose - to get my book known so I can approach literary agents with a verifiable track record of sales, nothing more.

This isn't a complaint, only a comment.
Mrs Julia Evans

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Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 22, 2017 4:46 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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Peter,

The only reason you're getting so little is that you set the price so low, presumably to be comp*etative. If you want to make more, you have to charge more, but then you have to have a good product that people want to buy.

Many here don't even bother with a paperback version, happy with what they make on the e-versions.

(And if you're in the UK (you quote the UK price), why are you paying witholding tax? There is a double-taxation agreement in place so you don't have to. Just fill in Amazon's tax forms properly.)

Good luck with your cunning plan. J

Peter Wooton

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Registered: 02/18/17
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 23, 2017 3:55 AM   in response to: Mrs Julia Evans in response to: Mrs Julia Evans
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£6.23 for a paperback is about the average UK price. At least one person has complained the price is too high. I completed the US tax form before I published the book - as I have done for image sales with Getty, Shutterstock and Alamy (in addition to writing I am also a travel photographer). It is simply that Amazon Kindle take 40% - leaving me with 60% but then take printing costs, postage and other unknown costs etc from my 60% which means I only receive 3% of the sale price - £0.18. This only applies to the paperback version. With the Kindle edition - which is cheaper at £3.25 - I receive £2.72. Although the Kindle version is cheaper I sell more paperback copies. Not everyone has or wants Kindle. Many people like to have a book in their hands. The problem is the costs of printing and so forth are not taken from 40% commission retained by the publisher but instead are taken from the 60% author's commission. What Amazon/Kindle should openly and very clearly state is the author does not receive 60% but only 3% of the paperback sale price. My only reason for using Amazon/Kindle is to create a sales track record to show when contacting literary agents. As I said, this is not a complaint, only a comment after all it costs me nothing to publish with Amazon/Kindle and nobody has forced me to use them. It was my choice. However, what it has done is to make me very wary of using chargeable promotions because almost certainly I will end up paying far more than the advertised cost because of deductables not clearly shown at the outset..

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 23, 2017 3:58 AM
Mrs Julia Evans

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Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 23, 2017 4:38 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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I think what most people do is to work out what the printing costs are, and then work backwards to make sure they leave themselves a margin of profit of at least £1 or $1 to make it worthwhile.

I agree that £6.23 is high for a paperback in the UK, especially when you have the likes of Tesco generally selling books by leading authors at 2 for £7. It's not a level playing field.

But then, nobody ever said it would be....

In your shoes, I would simply hike the price to £6.99, as the difference is negligible to a customer who would already be willing to pay £6.23, and it does still leave you with something of a profit.

Good luck. J
Peter Wooton

Posts: 5
Registered: 02/18/17
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 1:47 AM   in response to: Mrs Julia Evans in response to: Mrs Julia Evans
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The price is irrelevant. The author only receives 3% of the sale price. If the price was £100 the author would only receive £3.If the price of the book was £1 the author would only receive £0.03p. The issue is that Amazon / Kindle take 97% of the sale price but they fail to make that clear. The author has no control over printing costs nor any other cost.

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 1:48 AM

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 1:49 AM
Donna St Felix

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Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 2:11 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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Peter Wooton wrote:
The price is irrelevant. The author only receives 3% of the sale price. If the price was £100 the author would only receive £3.If the price of the book was £1 the author would only receive £0.03p. The issue is that Amazon / Kindle take 97% of the sale price but they fail to make that clear. The author has no control over printing costs nor any other cost.

You are very confused.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202181110
Mrs Julia Evans

Posts: 871
Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 2:51 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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Peter Wooton wrote:
The price is irrelevant. The author only receives 3% of the sale price. If the price was £100 the author would only receive £3.If the price of the book was £1 the author would only receive £0.03p. The issue is that Amazon / Kindle take 97% of the sale price but they fail to make that clear. The author has no control over printing costs nor any other cost.

I'm afraid I have to argue with this statement, Peter. The price is very relevant, as in any business you have variables and non-variables, the price being a variable, the pre-deter*mined cost of production (in this case Amazon's printing costs) a non-variable.

My understanding is that the cost of printing is deter*mined by the size of your book before you set your price, and doesn't fluctuate no matter how much you alter the price of your book. This means your profit will increase as you increase your price - it's simple mathematics.

Examples using printing costs of say £5 per book;

If you charge £10/ printing costs are £5

£10 x 60% = £6 less £5 = £1 profit (10% of the original cost)

If you charge £15/ printing costs are still £5

£15 x 60% = £9 less £5 = £4 profit (26.66% of the original cost)

If you charge £30/ printing costs are still £5

£30 x 60% = £18 less £5 = £13 profit (43.33% of the original cost)

What other costs are Amazon taking that would be on a sliding scale to take your profit down to 3%?

I also note that in an earlier post you refer to the sale of an e-book for £3.25, from which you receive £2.72.

That would be an extrao*rdinary return (83.7%), way above the 70% you were promised, and you haven't mentioned the delivery cost either.

I would expect to receive around £2.19 for that sale, allowing for the delivery cost at around 9p per book.

If someone thinks I've got the numbers wrong, I'd be happy to hear from them, but unless you're going to tell me about some extrao*rdinary factors concerning the printing side that I'm unaware of, then with respect, your figures don't add up.

J

MR R J LAIDLER

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Registered: 09/26/16
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 10:33 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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Peter Wooton wrote:
The price is irrelevant. The author only receives 3% of the sale price. If the price was £100 the author would only receive £3.If the price of the book was £1 the author would only receive £0.03p. The issue is that Amazon / Kindle take 97% of the sale price but they fail to make that clear. The author has no control over printing costs nor any other cost.

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 1:48 AM

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 1:49 AM

Go to your Bookshelf and click on the button with three dots to the right of the button called Edit Details. Then select the third option - edit book pricing. Scroll down to the last bit where the price of the book is shown. On the right of the book price are three columns, the one on the right shows the royalty. Now just try different prices and see what royalty you get. The price of my book, which has 225 pages, is £6.99 and I get £1.24 per copy. Printing cost is £2.95 but Amazon add a margin to that though from memory I can't remember what it is. :) This "gross" printing cost is subtracted from the sales price and the author then gets 60% of what's left. I'm happy with this as I only get £0.82 per eBook - I'm on 30% royalties - the file size is very big because of the images. :)
Emily Veinglory

Posts: 3,570
Registered: 04/25/13
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 10:50 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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It is an average price for a book produced via offset print run; print-on-demand presses are more expensive to use. If you want to price that low you have to eat the difference.
Peter Wooton

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Registered: 02/18/17
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 11:17 AM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
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I know what the options are and I know what I earn per paperback sold and for a sale price of £6.23 I earn £0.18. Also I know what I earn from each each e-book. I access the report that tells me. The figure quoted is that shown in the report. It was only a comment regarding Amazon / Kindle taking 97% of the sales price of each PAPERBACK, not e-book. There is no problem with e-books. The printing cost for the paperback is £3.45. £2.60 is taken for postage etc. Leaving a royalty of £0.18.

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 11:21 AM

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 11:22 AM

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 11:30 AM
Mrs Julia Evans

Posts: 871
Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 11:27 AM   in response to: MR R J LAIDLER in response to: MR R J LAIDLER
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MR R J LAIDLER wrote:
The price of my book, which has 225 pages, is £6.99 and I get £1.24 per copy. Printing cost is £2.95 but Amazon add a margin to that though from memory I can't remember what it is. :) This "gross" printing cost is subtracted from the sales price and the author then gets 60% of what's left.

Hey RJL,

Sorry to be pedantic... the numbers are right, but the order you explained how you calculated them is backwards.

You should calculate the 60% first, and THEN deduct the printing costs.

If you did it the way you explained, it would be $6.99 - £2.95 = £4.04 x 60% = £2.42

That would be nice... but, sadly, incorrect.

It should be £6.99 x 60% = £4.19 - £2.95 = £1.24

Just thought I'd mention it because I've seen quite a few people get this wrong.

Best wishes. J
Salamander Mall...

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Registered: 10/16/17
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 11:41 AM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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Peter Wooton wrote:
I know what the options are and I know what I earn per paperback sold and for a sale price of £6.23 I earn £0.18. Also I know what I earn from each each e-book. I access the report that tells me. The figure quoted is that shown in the report. I have no interest in continuing this discussion. It was only a comment regarding Amazon / Kindle taking 97% of the sales price of each PAPERBACK, not e-book. There is no problem with e-books.

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 11:21 AM

Edited by: Peter Wooton on Nov 24, 2017 11:22 AM


Not only very confused, but math challenged as well. If you don't think you're making a decent royalty, raise your price, as the more you charge the greater your royalty percentage, printing costs being fixed. I earn on the average $4-5 per print book, much more than 3%. If you're not into it for the money, don't worry about what you imagine you're earning.
Notjohn

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Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 3:55 PM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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I know what the options are and I know what I earn per paperback sold and for a sale price of £6.23 I earn £0.18.

That's absurd. Try £9.95 and see what you get. And if that's not satisfactory, try £12.95.

I'm willing to take a $1 royalty on expanded distribution (i.e., sales through Barnes & Noble) in the US, but I expect $3-$4 on Amazon sales.

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook. Each does one thing well and the other thing poorly.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Emily Veinglory

Posts: 3,570
Registered: 04/25/13
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 4:25 PM   in response to: Peter Wooton in response to: Peter Wooton
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If that comment was meant to be reply to mine, I fail to see the connection?
Mrs Julia Evans

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Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Royalties for paperback are tiny when compared with list price
Posted: Nov 24, 2017 5:25 PM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
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It wasn't meant to be to you, Emily. I think he was responding to RJ Laidler, but following several edits, it's not easy to tell.

J
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