The 2021 Guide to Amazon Fees and Royalties for Kindle eBooks and KDP Print

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
How to calculate eBook delivery costs • How to calculate paperback manufacturing costs • How to calculate royalties and minimum selling prices • Examples and Resources
Ultimate Guide to Amazon Fees and Royalties for Kindle eBooks and KDP Print

The 2021 Guide to Amazon Fees and Royalties for Kindle eBooks and KDP Print

Setting a selling price for self-published Kindle eBooks or KDP Print books (formerly CreateSpace) sold on Amazon begins with understanding your costs. There are two components to book and eBook costs when selling on Amazon using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing):

  1. The cost of sale: what Amazon charges the self-publisher for each unit sold.
  2. The Amazon sales commission for selling your book.

This article looks in detail at the formats sold and supported using KDP: Kindle eBooks, and print-on-demand paperbacks produced using KDP Print. (Note that Amazon’s other book-selling platforms, Amazon Advantage and SellerCentral/Marketplace, have different cost structures. See the list of resources at the bottom of this post for more details.)

This guide is Part 1. Also see our guide for how to decide what to charge for your book in Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon

Kindle eBooks

The KDP self-publishing portal is unique among all eBook selling platforms because it often charges a delivery fee to send books to buyers. This is in addition to the sales commission you pay Amazon for each sale.

Calculating Kindle eBook delivery costs

Amazon charges $0.15 per megabyte (MB)—the file size of your Kindle eBook—for each book sold priced between $2.99 and $9.99. There is a minimum charge of $0.01 and delivery fees vary by country. There is no delivery fee for books priced below $2.99 or above $9.99.

You can do a rough estimate by multiplying the delivery fee times your file’s size, but that will not be accurate. The most reliable and precise way to calculate the Kindle delivery fee is to upload your file to KDP’s pricing page and see what the tool says. (In KDP, after listing your eBook, the final screen is the pricing page.)

For example, our client’s novel, Trials and Trails is 95,000 words. The file size of the Mobi (Kindle) we uploaded is 3.421 MB, so if you were to multiply this by $0.15, the delivery cost is $0.51, right? Not so fast—Amazon’s official Kindle pricing calculator says the delivery cost is $0.10.

How to calculate Kindle eBook delivery cost-AuthorImprints

Note the “file size after conversion” is much smaller (0.64 MB) than the file we uploaded. This is because the Mobi files we mere mortals create contain a few versions of our book rolled into a single file. When you upload to KDP, the Amazon system separates these out for delivery to their various Kindle reading apps, and the final file size is smaller.

Also note “Other Marketplaces (12).” Clicking the down-arrow to the right, you’ll see the delivery cost for each country varies, depending on where Amazon is authorized to sell your eBook (you can opt-out of individual markets; this is something you decide). Visit this Amazon page for more details.

Avoiding the Kindle eBook file delivery cost

Except as noted below, the only way to get around this charge is to select the 35% royalty option. Clearly this is not a good choice for most people, but for books with a very large file size—cookbooks, art books, travel books with lots of images, for example—it may make sense. Use the KDP pricing calculator to be certain about what the fee will be.

Again, books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99 are not subject to the delivery fee.

Note: Early in 2018, Amazon announced Great on Kindle, a new 50% royalty option for “high-quality” nonfiction eBooks. The program has been in beta since April 2018 and remains invite-only and offered on a book-by-book basis. There are no delivery fees for books that qualify. The 50% royalty terms are explained here.

Sales commissions/your royalties

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.

  • 35% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 65% for books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99
  • 70% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 30% for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99

Who pays taxes? You do.

Some 160+ countries around the world charge what is called a value added tax, or VAT, on purchases. Amazon passes these taxes on to you by reducing your royalty by the amount of the tax, regardless of the royalty rate.

  • 35% royalty rate x (list price – applicable VAT) = royalty
  • 70% royalty rate x (list price – applicable VAT – delivery costs) = royalty

Fortunately, the United States is one of the very few countries that does not have a VAT.

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.

  1. Some territories/countries are excluded. However, sales in most of the English-speaking countries pay the higher royalty. You’ll find a list of those here.
  2. Public domain eBooks are excluded.
  3. eBook sales in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India pay 35% royalty unless your book joins KDP Select (KDP Select requires a 90-day exclusive).
  4. You must agree to make your eBook lendable for a 14-day period. This allows your reader to lend your book once. More about eBook lending here.
  5. If you also have a physical edition (e.g., a paperback), the list price of your eBook must be at least 20% below the price of this edition in order to qualify for the 70% royalty.

Make sure you understand Amazon's minimum and maximum pricing requirements by reading Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon

What happens if Amazon offers your book for a lower price?

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 authorized to match that price.

If this happens and your book's price falls below the minimum 70% list price requirement, you will receive the lower 35% royalty. Obviously, this is meant as a deterrent.

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 is your royalty when you run a KDP Select Countdown Deal?

A key benefit of KDP Select is the ability to run a reduced-price sale for a one- to seven-day period. When this happens, you get to retain the 70% royalty if the sale price is lower than $2.99. Here's an example.

Let's say your Kindle eBook is listed for $4.99. In this case, you get 70% of $4.99 less delivery costs and any taxes. If you run a Countdown Deal to sell the book for $1.99, you receive the same 70% royalty (less delivery charges and taxes).

You can lower an eBook price at any time, but you won't get the 70% royalty if the price is below $2.99. A Countdown Deal is the only way to retain the higher royalty.

See the resources section below for more information about KDP Select and a link to our guide.

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 tradeoffs carefully.

For a thorough report on eBook aggregators (distributors), see my eBook Distribution Round-Up, complete with FAQs and a comparison of nine services.

This guide is Part 1. Also see our guide for how to decide what to charge for your book in Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon

KDP Print paperback books

Paperback book pricing for KDP Print is a little more straightforward. The key number to figure out is the cost to manufacture your book. The primary factors that affect costs are these:

  • The country where your book is sold
  • The number of pages in your book
  • Whether you are printing the interior in color or in black and white

Note that there are three factors that do not impact cost:

  1. The dimensions of your book. It doesn't matter if it is 8.5″ x 11″ or 4.25″ x 6″, the manufacturing cost is the same.
  2. Whether you choose cream paper or white paper. Only color printing matters.
  3. The cover finish of your book. You can choose gloss or matte.

There are 3 ways to calculate your KDP Print printing costs:

  1. Upload your files to KDP Print and their calculator will give you a cost.
  2. Use Amazon’s pricing tables.
  3. Download the KDP Print Excel spreadsheet print cost calculator.

See below for Amazon.com prices. The chart was pulled from this page where you’ll find prices for books sold in other countries. Trim size, bleed settings, and cover finish do not affect cost of printing.

How to calcuate KDP Print manufacturing costs for paperbacks-AuthorImprints

Also on this same page you’ll find a download button for the KDP print cost calculator available as an Excel worksheet. (Click the subsection How we calculate printing cost.)

Calculating Amazon paperback-selling commission and your royalty

Now that you have the cost to manufacture your printed book, you can compute the sales commission. This is easy: your royalty is 60% of your list price minus printing costs.

  • (list price x 60%) – printing costs = royalty

Returning to our client’s novel Trials and Trails, it looks like this:

  • Manufacturing cost: (278 PDF pages x $0.012 per page) + $0.85 = $4.19
  • Royalty calculation: ($14.95 x 60%) – $4.19 = $4.78
How to calculate Amazon KDP Print printing and royalties-AuthorImprints

KDP Print minimum and maximum pricing

Of course, you can’t sell your paperback for less than it costs to print it, so Amazon calculates that number for you. The formula for this is:

Printing cost / 60% (royalty rate) = minimum list price. As you see above for Trials and Trails, that number is:

  • $4.19 / 60% = $6.98.

The maximum price of your paperback must be no more than $250 (no math required!), 250EUR for the European marketplace, or 30,000 yen for Japan.

Selling your book on your website or in other stores

Always keep in mind that your price must not be higher in any other sales channel. For example, if you sell your book on your website it must be the same price you list it for on Amazon.

If Amazon discovers the lower price, they can match that price and your royalties will be reduced according to the same formula.

Other sales channels include Apple Books, the Barnes & Noble Nook store, Google Play, and Kobo Books, to name just a few.

Expanded distribution royalties are lower

Expanded distribution is when Amazon makes your book available to other online retailers via their relationship with Ingram, the parent company of IngramSpark. This is optional, but it can’t already be distributed by another company (typically, for self-publishers, this is going to be IngramSpark).

Trials and Trails, for example, is ineligible because we used IngramSpark to offer the book for pre-order. The book remains there for distribution to other online retailers.

Books that are eligible for expanded distribution receive a royalty of 40%. Ingram needs to be compensated for making your book available to their network of retailers (BN.com, for example). Again, this is for paperbacks, not eBooks.

The cost to buy author copies of your book

As an aside, the cost for you to buy copies of your own book is the printing price ($4.19 in this example). These are called “author copies” and you order them via your KDP account.

Click Paperback Actions to the right of your book in your KDP account.

How to order discounted author copies from Amazon KDP Print

What if Amazon is selling my book for less than my list price?

This might be the most common pricing question we get from new self-publishing authors. The answer is your royalty does not change, subject to Amazon’s terms and conditions here on their eBook Digital Pricing Page or here on their Print Pricing Page.

Much of the time, Amazon is simply trying to meet or beat a competitor’s price. Below is an example of a deeply discounted paperback, Off the Couch.

Amazon decided to sell the book at a loss: I can confirm the author did get her $4.86 royalty, even though the selling price was $4.52. The price has since been increased to $10.76.

Off the Couch-Amazon selling price is below cost-AuthorImprints

Resources and links to related topics

Here are several more resources related to this topic.

7 articles on AuthorImprints.com that relate to book/eBook pricing

  1. Part 2: How Much to Charge When Pricing a Self-Published Book to Sell on Amazon
  2. Should You Use Amazon KDP Select or Distribute Your Book Wide?
  3. Manage Your Published eBook Using Apple iTunes Connect-Sales, Payments, Promotions, Price and Metadata
  4. eBook Pricing: No Special Formula to Determine the Right Selling Price for Your eBook (So Keep These 7 Points in Mind)
  5. KDP Select for Self-Published Authors: Does the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Make Sense?
  6. What to Consider When Selling eBooks on Your Website: Pros, Cons and Tools
  7. Amazon Advantage vs Amazon Marketplace—An FAQ

1 related article on DavidWogahn.com

Amazon links

The information in this post is based on personal experience and the details found in combing these two sections on Amazon.

  1. KINDLE. This is the single most important page to understand about how you are paid when Kindle eBooks are sold: Amazon Digital Pricing page.
  2. KDP PRINT. This page goes into detail about costs and pricing for paperbacks. Printing Cost page. Also see their Print Pricing Page.
Photo by Severin Höin on Unsplash

65 thoughts on “The 2021 Guide to Amazon Fees and Royalties for Kindle eBooks and KDP Print”

  1. I have s book on your website For My Good I am the author I have not received a check. My name is HarolynBrooks. It’s been a year. I need to order some more books and I cannot get in touch with my publisher.Can some one let me know something please.

  2. One month I sold 5 paperbacks at a list of 13.99 each. The report stated the manufacturing cost was 5.33 (I assume each) and I’m on the 70% royalty. I got a total of $1.30 cents, that’s 26 cents a book.

    The detail on the report confirms that all 5 sales were via Createspace in USD.

    The next month I sold 1 paperback at 13.99 and I got a 3.13 royalty on it. Again, all in USA through Amazon is USD.

    This happens about six a year on each title I have.

    What can effect the price so negatively?

  3. Retailers, wholesalers and distributors must be paid. Most self-publishers have to pay a retailer and sometimes a wholesaler, like Ingram. You can make more money with sales via Amazon and a little less money selling, for example, a book on B&N because you are most likely using Ingram as the wholesaler.

  4. hello
    thanks for your great article
    i really like amazon website , but i just want to know , does amazon accept paypal payment pleas ?
    thanks again for your great article

  5. I wrote a book on christian living which I want to make available FREE to readers on Kindle. How do I go about doing that and what will be the costs to me and what would I have to pay amazon?

  6. The lowest price you can set in KDP is 99 cents. But if you post the book in other stores that support zero pricing Amazon usually matches it. Smashwords has been used to do this.

  7. If a bookstore wants to get my book which is self-published through KDP and available for $10 on Amazon is the $10 considered the wholesale price which they will pay for each book or does the bookstore get a discount for ordering through the distributor?

  8. Very informative content. As digital purchases are all online, and therefore paid for via credit/debit cards, are there transaction fees to take off as well ? I’ve calculated them to be around 10% on normal physical sales, which would give you a 65% commission to pay and 10% payment processing, leaving you with just 25% profit.

    Thanks

  9. I want to publish my non fiction work on KDP. But initially it may have about only 10 pages and every 3 months or so I would like to add more content, until it reaches about 180 pages or its logical conclusion.
    Is it possible to do so?
    The pricing is an issue which can be raised only after this clarification.

  10. Thank you so very much for the clear and concise explanations. I have a question about allowing KDP to sell with expanded distribution: If I agree to expanded distribution, does that mean that I agree to take 40% royalties on all paperback distribution (even ones brought on the Amazon site) or is the 40% just on books that get sold through Ingram? I was considering selling my ebook through KDP and print through IngramSpark, but IngramSpark has a lot of fees (set up fee, you have to purchase your own ISBN, etc).

    Also, with the books that I order myself, is there a minimum number I must purchase at a time? Do I have to pay to ship to books to myself?

    And one last question: If I go with KDP for my ebook and IngramSpark for my paperback, is my ebook still available for Kindle Select?

    Thank you in advance for your help

  11. Each update would create a new edition of the book. So it is possible. I encourage you to think about it from a reader perspective. It might be better to publish a series of books.

  12. Hi Karen, here you go:
    -The 40% expanded distribution doesn’t apply to Amazon.
    -No minimum and you pay to ship when you buy these.
    -KDP Select is an optional program that you opt into. It lasts for 90 days.

  13. Jane, Amazon is a retailer in your example so the price there is what someone pays. You need to have the book listed in a wholesale catalog so retailers can buy it at a discount, market it up to make a profit, and sell it. In KDP Print, select Expanded Distribution.

  14. Thanks for the information David! I just launched one book and thought I’d consider Amazon KDP for the next and this really helped me decide what price points are realistic on that platform.

  15. I’m not aware of any retailer that requires ownership of your copyright for them to sell your book. Always read your contract for information like this.

  16. Margaux Joy DeNador

    Do Kindle books have an ISBN number and if they do does Kindle Direct provide it and at what price?

  17. This has nothing to do with the publishing information. I’ve tried numerous avenues to find out why I, as an Amazon and KDP author, am being charged $13.66 monthly. How am I able to talk to an actual living and breathing person at either Amazon or KDP to resolve this matter?

  18. Hello,

    Haven’t found this yet, I’m wondering if I’m able to run any type of promotional sales through KDP paperback version, as long as I stay above the minimum print price?

    Thanks,

  19. Pastor Samuel Sai

    Please I sent my book called “Covenant Principles for Marriage” by Pastor Samuel Sai on 13th March, 2013. Since I sent my books for sales at your Kindle books I have not received any royalty from you up to today. Please try and send me my 7 months royalties now, so that I can get some money to treat myself, since I am now on a sick bed and needs some money for my treatment. Please you can send me my 7 months royalty through my mobile whatsapp, mobile money transfer to me in Ghana converted in Ghana Cedis or through my e mail network. My telephone number is 233243905659. Thank you.

  20. Hello, I know you can choose KDP Select for ebooks and be exclusive on Amazon (and be on Kindle Unlimited), but has Amazon changed the policy concerning print books? If you go KDP Select on an ebook are you automatically enrolled in KDP select for your print book? In the past you could be on KDP Select for the ebook but still distribute the print on other distributors such as BN. Has that changed?

  21. Hi David,

    I have a ready some 4500 words Bedtime Fables, consist 6 short moral stories with pictures.
    Please suggest pricings for an ebook on kindle.

    Regards.

  22. Hi Randhir, I am finishing up an article on book pricing that will be Part 2 to this post. I expect to have it posted within two weeks. At that point I’ll notify everyone on my mailing list so please join it. I don’t send a lot of emails and you can unsubscribe at any time.

  23. I have 4 books i which i illustrated the cover art on kdp i own the copyright to the art its merely licensed i blv the author of theae 4 books gas passed in 2014 iv called kdp several times and only gotren a run around about my royalty payment for iv recieved nothing in 11 years and i woild like to be paid but the response i get is owe u are owed by amazon and the same from amazon youre owed by KDP they say i have to say this is rediculous if uou were owes monies qpild you not wnat what you were entitled to umm id really lime to get thos resolved but if there is not a resolution or an attempt on part of KDP the next step is law suit so could someone please assist me

  24. Hi David,

    Just to clarify, the cost to print an 8 x 10 book is the same as the cost to print a 6 x 9 book? I self-published in 2017 when KDP was still CreateSpace, and I thought I remember the 8 x 10 book was much more expensive. Maybe I was mistaken?

  25. Clear Writing! Does Amazon charge me if I enrol my ebook on kindle? If my ebook won’t sell will Amazon charge me for anything? Thanks

  26. Clear Writing!
    Will Amazon charge me anything if I check the option of enrol my ebook in kindle for three months?
    Even if my ebook won’t sell, will Amazon charge me anything?
    Thanks

  27. Both Part 1 & 2 helpful. Thanks.
    Basic Q: If only 7 pages are in color mixed within a 132 page paperback, is the entire book considered “color” for printing costs with KDP? Thank you.

  28. Dear David,

    Pls can I have your email? I am a young writer from Nigeria, am currently working on two different books and I want to sell both on Amazon. pls I need your guidance. Thank you!!!

  29. How do I price a book on amazon for more than $200. It is a physician desk reference and textbook with 335,000 works, hundreds of figures and tables, and thousands of web-linked citations to scientific literature.

  30. I am from Bangladesh. I am an amateur writer. I write research oriented articles in news papers on science and religion. I want to publish a Book. I solicit your cooperation. Please tell me how can I proceed.
    Kazzi Wadud Nawaz

  31. I published an eBook on 22nd of February and had over 177 pages read and 1 unit sold between 22 to 28 of same month. But at the end of the month I was not paid into my pioneer account.

  32. You are paid approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was reported (90 days for Expanded Distribution sales), in this case February, as long as you meet the minimum threshold for payment.

  33. Thank you. This was very helpful. After spending a lot of money on a publisher to take on my book in the US and run all the PR, leaving me at a financial loss, I also cannot control the pricing of my own book on Amazon. I’ve written another book and have been trying to navigate the process of setting up on Amazon as a publisher and author, and to sell the new book on Kindle. Frankly, I’ve wasted so much time, keep getting the run around, and when I do the numbers, it simply isn’t worth it. I sell more books at events, to clients, and from my own website, so I’ll stick with that method. Thank you for enlightening me and shaking me out of the dream I was in!

  34. hello
    I wanted to sell our magazine on kindle Amazon, the language of our magazine is Farsi (persian), but Farsi is not in the list of the languages on amazon
    I mean when it asks me to choose the language of my book, thats not in the list
    Does it have any way? Is it possible to sell a Farsi magazine on Amazon?
    Thanks

  35. Hi Vanessa,
    I know your pain! To be clear, much of this is just how the book business works, not necessarily decided by Amazon. Publishers typically get about 45% of the retail price and even less sometimes. From that they have to pay all expenses. Selling direct is always the best. Glad you found it helpful. Best wishes.

  36. That was a really good one Mr. David, but I have some few questions to ask.
    1. If i should refer my clients to read my books on amazon, must they necessarily purchase the book?
    2. How do amazon charge on book access. Is it via mb or real money?
    3. I really wanna publish books on amazon. But, I don’t know how to even make a valid registration into the platform and then own an account for publishings on the platform.

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