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'Niche authors hit' by Amazon's e-book royalty rates

The Telegraph has claimed niche authors are being unfairly hit by Amazon’s self-publishing royalty rates.

A story published by the newspaper yesterday (10th March) said that writers who are likely to attract niche or small readerships are being “penalised” if they want to sell their e-books at higher prices.

In the UK, Amazon gives authors 70% royalty rate on all e-book sales where the cover price is between £1.49 and £7.81 but e-books priced outside this range will only yield 35% royalty rates for authors. In the US, authors are given a 70% royalty rate when the e-book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99. The move is designed to keep the price of Kindle books low, according to the newspaper.

Richard Fitt, editor of Authors Online, said: “Amazon is proving very detrimental to the niche author. To the public they are wonderful because they sell books cheaply but for anyone that has to deal with them they are a nightmare. All they are concerned with is driving the prices down.”

Kate Pool, deputy chief executive of the Society of Authors, commented: “Our concern is the increasing dominance that Amazon is having. It is starting to change the perception of books entirely and the danger is people will start to see them in terms of cheap items rather than the price reflecting the time and research that has gone in to it.”

The Bookseller has previously reported that Amazon’s Kindle White Glove programme allows agents to publish their authors' work, also for a 70% royalty rate, when e-books are priced between £1.49 and £7.81. Books priced outside this bracket will achieve a 35% royalty rate.