updated 08:05 am EST, Wed January 20, 2010
Kindle publishers get larger cut ahead of iSlate
Amazon today took a preemptive move against Apple's rumored tablet by giving some publishers of Kindle e-books a larger cut of their sales. The deal lets authors jump their take to 70 percent of a book's price and charges 15 cents per megabyte for the costs of delivering over 3G. A publisher selling a $9 book could earn $6.25, or almost double what was earned before.
Most of the limits on the payout increase center on the price on the book. To qualify, a text must be priced between $3 and $10, cost at least 20 percent below the cheapest physical book, and carry a price no higher than at other e-book stores. Amazon has also fired back against Authors' Guild complaints about audiobook rights by asking that these books support text-to-speech and other Kindle-specific features as they become available.
The new payment option will complement, not replace the existing business models and should take effect on June 30th.
The company didn't directly explain the reasons behind the change, but it comes not just as competitors like the Nook put pressure on the Kindle but as Apple is rumored to be offering a 70/30 e-book deal for publishers looking to author for its tablet, whose supposed size (potentially 10 inches) would be ideally suited to text. Conde Nast, HarperCollins, the New York Times and others are rumored to have talked to Apple about content deals that would force Amazon to provide an equivalent deal.
Amazon has previously tried to claim half or more of the price of a non-exclusive book but has met criticism from authors and publishers that it unfairly locks them into one store or cuts out too much of the revenue compared to a paper version.