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Amazon Epitomizes the Fact that Capitalism = Theft

July 21, 2020

Income for authors is “median of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009.”

“Earnings from book income alone fell even more, declining 21 percent to $3,100 in 2017 from $3,900 in 2013 and just over 50 percent from 2009’s median book earnings of $6,250.”

“[T]he survey showed a shift in book earnings to other writing-related activities, such as speaking engagements, book reviewing or teaching. Including those sources, respondents who identified themselves as full-time book authors still only earned a median income of $20,300, well below the federal poverty line for a family of three or more.”

“Royalties are down for most authors by 11% compared to 2013 data. We hear many complaints from authors, even those with best-selling books, that they are receiving little to no royalties.”

“Most publishing contracts provide a very reduced or no royalty if books are sold at discounts over 55%.”

“Publishers generally settled at the 25% of net rate for ebooks, which provides the author a much lower amount per book sale than hardcover books.”

Self-publishing is at the mercy of Amazon. Seventy-six percent of self-published authors in our survey used Amazon platforms, including Kindle Direct, Create Space and ACX. While some authors are doing better self-publishing than they could be through traditional publishing, our survey shows that the overall median income for self-published authors averages 50–58% less than for traditionally published ones. Authors who self-publish with KDP Select and receive the marketing benefits that come with it, such as the ability to offer free books for five days, are required to take part in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and accept payments from the pool for reads through KU. KDP Direct authors get a royalty of only 35% if they price their books above $9.99 (compared to 70% for books priced $2.99–9.99), contributing to authors’ losses and giving Amazon a windfall on books that are expensive to produce.

Amazon’s dominance pressures publishers. Amazon (which now controls 72% of the online book market in the U.S.) puts pressure on them to keep costs down and takes a large percentage, plus marketing fees, forcing publishers to pass on their losses to authors. (Other than marketing which they are cutting, advances and royalties are the one negotiable line in their P&L’s.)

Boycott Amazon!

Authors Guild Survey Shows Drastic 42 Percent Decline in Authors Earnings in Last Decade

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