May 11th, 2011

Copyright, ISBN, Royalty & Pricing With Amazon E-Publishing

By Lyn Horner

When I started looking into publishing with Amazon, my biggest questions were how to format my book, create a cover image and upload everything. However, there were also legal and financial matters to consider.

Below are several frequently asked questions with answers obtained from Amazon’s KDP Guidelines and Community.

1.      How are Kindle books copyrighted?

During the title upload process every author must confirm his or her rights to publish the content. This does not mean you need to register your copyright through the U.S. Copyright Office. UnderU. S. law, anything written in a fixed form – including an ebook – is automatically copyrighted. I verified this on the internet.

However, if you wish to obtain a registered copyright, it can be done via the Electronic Copyright Office for $35. This is the fastest and least expensive method. For a legal opinion, please consult a lawyer.

Here is a link to an author discussion about copyrights.

2.      What about ISBN numbers?

Kindle books do not require ISBN numbers. When an author adds a book to his or her “Bookshelf” Amazon automatically assigns an ASIN number, for use only with Amazon. However, if you use their CreateSpace service for print-on-demand books, you will need an ISBN. Several options for obtaining an ISBN are offered; one is free.

3.      What royalty percentage do Kindle authors receive?

Amazon offers two royalty options for Kindle authors:

  • Books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 earn the author a 70% royalty.
  • Books priced below or above that price range earn a 35% royalty.

Both options pay authors far more per book sold than traditional print publishers.

4.      How are Kindle book prices set?

Kindle authors set their own prices. When I first published Darlin’ Druid, I priced it at $3.99. That seemed like a fair price considering the time and effort I put into writing the book. At the same time, it was much lower than print book prices.

However, I soon learned that self-published Kindle authors, especially first-timers, achieve greater success with even lower prices – between $.99 and $2.99. Readers are more willing to try a new author if it doesn’t cost them much. I recently placed Darlin’ Druid on special for $.99 to spotlight my first two online interviews. My sales tripled. The special expired on Mother’s Day. I raised the price to $2.99 and am now waiting to see how it affects my sales. Experimenting is okay!

For further details about pricing and royalties, click this link.

5.      How can authors track their sales?

Kindle authors have access to three sales reports:

  • The Month-to-Date Unit Sales report gives up to date information. I generally check this report every day.
  • The Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties report shows how much an author has earned during a six-week period.
  • The Prior Months’ Royalties report show earnings for the past twelve months. This report is generated by the 15th of each month.

These three reports are also available from the Kindle UK Store and the new Kindle DE Store, based in Germany.

Legal requirements: Be sure to read “Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions” and “Program Policies.”

Try not to be overwhelmed by all the legalese in the Terms and Conditions. If I can muddle through it, so can you!

Happy writing!
Lyn

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