Tuesday, June 12

Publishing With Amazon: The Hidden Cost Of Delivery

Andrew Hyde's book, This Book Is About Travel, is selling well at 9.99 per download, but after delivery costs are factored in Hyde found, to his amazement, that Amazon pays the worst of all the platforms.

Kindle: $5.10
iBooks: $7.00
.PDF: $9.25
Nook: $6.50

He writes:
Wait, Amazon pays out the worst?  What? This can’t be right! They are the best right? Everyone loves them.  I love them.  I dig a bit deeper and find this little gem:

Avg. Delivery Cost ($) 2.58. 

So for every $9.99 book I sell I, the author, pay 30% to Amazon for the right to sell on Amazon AND $2.58 for them to deliver the DIGITAL GOOD to your device.  It is free for the reader, but the author, not amazon, pays for delivery.

The file itself is under their suggested 50MB cap Amazon says to keep it under at 18.1MB. The book contains upwards of 50 pictures and the one file for Kindle needs to be able to be read on their smallest displays in black and white and their full color large screen Mac app).  I’m confused.  Amazon stores a ton of the Internet on S3/EC2, they should have the storage and delivery down.  If I stored that file on S3/EC2 it would cost me $.01 PER FIVE DOWNLOADS. Hat tip to Robby for that one. Use Amazon to run your website: .01 to download a file.  Use amazon to sell your book: $2.58 per download + 30% of whatever you sell.
- Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%
Read more here: Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%

The delivery cost of your book is something to keep in mind. In general, if your book is only text the cost for delivery won't exceed a few cents. Also, keep in mind that only those offering their book for between $2.99 and $9.99 have to play delivery costs.


  1. This is very interesting, I didn't know anything about this and as I plan to use Amazon to publish my book later this year I'm glad I read this first.

    I'm glad you explained why this delivery cost was so high for you. As my book is mostly text I don't think I'll have the same issue, but I will certainly think twice before adding pictures.


  2. I think that most folks have negligible delivery costs. Passive Guy, over at the Passive Voice Blog, had this to say:

    For most authors (in the US, at least) delivery costs average a few cents per book. The latest reports from Mrs. PG’s publishing empire show average delivery costs of between 3 cents and 15 cents per title.

    You will see your average delivery costs in the twelfth column of your KDP Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties report and Column K of the current version of your Prior Months’ Royalties downloaded spreadsheet.

    Delivery costs are not charged against royalties under Amazon’s 35% royalty option.

    The basic formula for Amazon’s 70% royalty calculation is: Royalty Rate x (List Price – Delivery Costs) = Royalty

    Read more here:

    Thanks for your comment :)

  3. In April, Amazon reported my delivery cost averaged $0.08 per copy on a file size of half a megabyte.

    I put it to you that Mr Hyde's experience is -- as we say in statistics -- an outlier. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlier

  4. Some interesting things I hadn't thought about. Thanks for the info.

  5. My pleasure! Thank you for the comment RD. :)


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