KDP Royalty Calculator: Free Tool for Authors
How to Use This KDP Royalty Calculator
The above KDP Royalty Calculator is extremely easy to use. Just follow these steps:
- Step 1: Select your book type – Is your book an eBook, a Paperback, or a Hardback?
- Step 2A: Royalty Rate and Book Size – If you selected an Ebook in Step 1, select your royalty rate of either 35% or 70%, depending on your ebook price. Also enter in the number of Megabytes (MB) for your ebook. This will affect the delivery cost.
- Step 2B: Interior and Pages – If you selected Paperback or Hardcover in Step 1, then select your Interior and input the number of pages for your book here.
- Step 3: Marketplace – Be sure to input the correct marketplace (Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc.)
- Step 4: Book Price – Then enter the price that you plan to sell your book for. You can then see in the graph a comprehensive graph of your royalty rates, along with some advice on how to improve.
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Calculating Royalties for Ebooks
Ebook earnings can be the golden goose for authors, often accounting for the lion's share of our profits. Because of that, we want to know how they work. Let's dive in together and make sense of Amazon's ebook royalties, shall we?
Amazon, that giant of the online book world, offers us authors a tantalizing 70% royalty rate on ebooks. Sounds good? Well…this golden rate comes with a pretty long list of requirements:
- Your book has to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99.
- It must be sold in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, or 35 other countries.
- It has to be your original content, not something from the public domain.
- And, the ebook version needs to be at least 20% cheaper than any print version.
So, yes, there are quite a few hoops to jump through to nab that higher royalty. But if you can tick all these boxes, you should be good to go.
One thing I appreciate about Amazon is that they keep the royalty calculation simple:
Royalty Rate * List Price = Royalty.
Let's see how it works for a book priced at $9.99 with that lovely 70% royalty rate. The math is straightforward:
70% of $2.99 = roughly $2.09 (after rounding to the nearest cent)
But before you start counting your future riches, there's one more wrinkle in the 70% royalty arrangement. Amazon also charges a delivery cost for each ebook sold at this royalty rate. It's based on the file size of your book. The bigger your book, the more you pay in delivery costs (more on this below).
So, while the 70% royalty is attractive, it's essential to weigh up these costs when deciding your book price and format.
It's not hard to see that Amazon is encouraging us authors to price our ebooks in the $2.99 to $9.99 range. There's a clear financial incentive with the higher royalty rate. But remember, there's a long list of requirements to meet, not to mention delivery costs.
Other Considerations for Ebooks:
In addition to the above, you should also take the following into consideration when calculating your Ebook royalties:
Royalties for Kindle Unlimited
If your book is enrolled in KDP Select (or Kindle Unlimited), the royalties follow an entirely different pattern for readers who borrow your book through KU:
- The Global royalty rate is calculated by dividing the KDP Select Global Fund by the Total Pages Read to get the KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Page) Rate.
- Your specific royalties for each page read is Your KENP Pages Read multiplied by the KENP Rate, which equals Your Royalties.
The biggest advantage is that the royalties can be somewhat good, especially if you have a longer book. The biggest disadvantage is that to qualify, your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon.
If you're looking to distribute elsewhere, KDP Select isn't for you.
See our other tool on calculating your KENP Royalty Rate.
Watch Out for Delivery Fees
If you're at the 70% royalty rate, Amazon also charges delivery fees for each book sold. For every megabyte that your ebook takes up, your delivery charge increases. While Amazon does compress your ebook a bit when you upload, you should still optimize to reduce the size.
Bold text and images add extra megabytes to your fee, so only include when necessary. Keep paragraphs short and chapters concise.
Every cent matters when you're trying to profit from your writing. While KDP Select offers opportunities for greater royalty rates, extra fees can cut into that significantly if you're not careful.
Make sure to weigh all options for your specific book before diving into KDP Select. Consider your genre, target market, and how you intend to promote to determine what program will benefit most in the end.
With some experimenting, you'll find what works best to gain the highest return.
See our article on how to reduce download fees on Amazon.
Calculating Royalties for Print
Amazon offers us a 60% royalty rate for print books. That's pretty decent, right? Well hang on, because unlike with ebooks, we have to factor in the cost of production.
So, the formula becomes:
(Royalty Rate * List Price) – Printing Costs = Royalty.
When it comes to calculating those pesky print costs, there are four factors you need to consider:
- Page count: Amazon has a fixed production rate for books under 108 pages (for black and white), after which it goes up by page. More pages means more cost.
- Print color: You've got three choices here—premium color, standard color, or black and white. The better the color, the higher the cost.
- Country of sale: Printing costs vary from country to country.
- Paperback or hardcover: Hardcover books are more expensive to produce.
These four factors can significantly affect your royalty earnings from print book sales.
Example: If you’re selling a paperback book with 300 pages, black ink, and priced at $19.99, you would calculate 60% of $19.99 (which would be about $12), then subtract the printing cost (which in this case is $4.45), leaving you with $7.54 in royalties.
So how can you keep these print costs down without compromising the quality of my book? Good news! I've written an entire article about that very topic. You can check that out here.
The world of print book royalties is a bit more complex than its digital counterpart, but don't let that discourage you. It's just another part of the self-publishing journey, and with a bit of knowledge and strategy, you can easily figure it out.
Other Considerations for Print:
Paperback vs Hardcover
Both paperbacks and hardcovers on KDP Print have a fixed cost for books up to 108 pages. What's more, there's a variable cost per page after that for both formats.
And when it comes to the color choice, both have higher costs associated with color instead of black and white. So far, so similar.
However, there's a catch. Hardcovers are generally more expensive in the fixed costs, meaning it will cost you a lot more overall. But that’s to be expected.
When it comes to distribution, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. For Amazon to distribute copies of your print book to other bookstores, you'll need to enroll your book in something called “Expanded Distribution.”
Before you jump on board, you should know this: you'll need to price higher. Why? Simply put, the royalties for those who buy through Expanded Distribution are far less. Amazon will require this number to be high enough so you’re not making a negative profit.
But don't let that scare you off. Expanded Distribution can actually be a good thing. Despite the common belief that most bookstores typically don't stock books bought by Amazon, there's no harm in checking Expanded Distribution.
It opens up new avenues for your book to be discovered, and on the off chance that a bookstore does choose to stock your book, that's a wider audience reached!
On Amazon, you might notice VAT taxes being withdrawn. If you're asking, “What the heck is VAT?”, let me break it down for you. VAT stands for Value Added Tax, and it's quite similar to the sales tax we know in the US. Simply put, it’s a tax applied to goods and services.
Sounds terrifying, right? Taxes usually do. But before you start tearing your hair out, I've got some good news for you. The VAT for books is quite low. For instance:
- Germany: 7%
- France: 5.5%
- Spain: 4%
- Italy: 4%
When Does Amazon Pay Royalties?
Understanding how the royalty payment process works can be a bit complicated, but I'm here to simplify it for you:
The 60-Day Rule
Amazon pays royalties on a monthly basis—but with a significant delay of 60 days from the end of the month your sale took place. In other words, if you make sales in January, you won't actually get paid for those sales until the end of March.
Expanded distribution sales—like paperback sales on Amazon—take even longer, up to 90 days. The exact number of days depends on which expanded distribution channels your book is in. The more channels, the longer you have to wait to get paid.
It's important to keep this payment schedule in mind when you're budgeting advertising spend and relying on your Amazon royalties as income. You'll want to factor in the 60 to 90 day delay.
The Speed of Payment Methods
The speed of light has got nothing on the speed of payment methods. There can be a few additional days of delay, depending on whether you use direct deposit, wire transfer, or check. Of the three, direct deposit is the fastest.
Amazon KDP Payment Frequency: Monthly Payouts
In terms of how often Amazon KDP pays royalties, it's a monthly affair. But remember the 60-day rule. Yes, they pay monthly, but only after the aforementioned 60-day delay.
Selecting the Best Price for Your Book
There are numerous strategies that you can use to either lower your ebook cost (such as lowering the size of your ebook), as well as lowering print costs.
To help with this, we actually have two articles that cover those exact two subjects. Be sure to check them out for more information:
Everything you need to know about improving your costs, and thereby your royalties, can be found in either of those two articles. However, there are a few other considerations you should take when pricing your books. These can include:
- Royalties: When setting the price for your book, you want to ensure a fair royalty rate for yourself or the author if you're a publisher. For self-published authors selling through platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, you can choose between a 35% and 70% royalty rate. The price you set will directly influence your royalties per book. For example, if you price your book at $9.99 and choose the 70% royalty option, you will earn approximately $7 per sale, whereas at $2.99, you will only earn about $2.
- Market Comparison: Look at other books in your specific niche or genre. Price your book similarly to these, considering factors like book length, author reputation, and book format. This strategy ensures you're not overpricing or underpricing your book in relation to comparable products on the market. Customers familiar with the genre will likely expect a certain price range.
- Author Reputation: If you're a new author, it may be beneficial to price your book slightly lower than established authors in your niche. As you garner positive reviews and build your brand, you can gradually increase your book price. Conversely, if you're an established author with a strong reputation, you may price your book higher, as readers may be willing to pay a premium for your work.
- Perceived Value: The perceived value of a book can be influenced by factors such as the number of pages, cover design, author reputation, and reader reviews. Generally, longer books are priced higher than shorter ones, and books with a high-quality cover design and positive reviews can command higher prices as they give the impression of higher quality content.
- Amazon's Algorithm: Amazon’s algorithms reward books that sell well, so there's a balancing act between higher price points (which will earn you more per sale but may decrease volume) and lower price points (which may increase volume but lower your profit per sale). Aim for a price that achieves a good conversion rate, as a high conversion rate can boost your book's visibility and rankings.
- Strategic Pricing: Consider pricing your book lower at launch to boost initial sales and attract reviews. This can help your book gain visibility and improve its rankings. After you've built up some momentum, you could consider raising the price. Running promotional pricing at key times, such as around the holidays or the release of a sequel, can also stimulate sales.
Remember, pricing a book is both an art and a science, and what works for one book may not work for another. It's a good idea to experiment with different price points and monitor the impact on sales over time.
Why Did Amazon Just Lower the Price of My Book?
You've taken the leap and published your book. Fantastic. But then, as you’re browsing the digital shelves of Amazon, you spot something strange: your book's price has been lowered.
Well, there are a few reasons why this could have happened:
- Price-Matching Policy: Amazon may lower your book's price to stay competitive if it's listed for a lower price elsewhere. Always check your pricing on other platforms if you notice a price drop on Amazon.
- Data-Driven Decisions: Amazon's extensive data analysis might indicate that customers will respond well to a sale on your book. So, a price reduction could actually be a data-backed boost for your sales.
- Scam Alert: For print books, a sudden price drop could potentially indicate a scam. Stay vigilant and educate yourself about common book scams. For more details, check out my previous article on the subject.
Best Way to Check for Royalties
The best way to check your royalties is to do so directly on the Amazon KDP dashboard. Here's a step-by-step guide for you to break it down:
- Getting started: Open up your web browser, type in https://kdp.amazon.com/, and hit enter. You'll land on the login page. Put in your credentials and log in.
- Accessing the Reports: Look for the “Reports” option. It's located on the menu near the top of your screen. Click it.
Interpreting the Sales Data
Now that you're looking at your sales data, you may wonder what all these numbers mean. Let's break it down:
- Estimated royalties: This shows you how much you've earned today. A handy tool for monitoring daily income.
- Last 30 days: Amazon also shows you a list of sales over the last 30 days. You can also look at KENP Reads and estimated royalties here.
- Top-earning books: Here's where you see which of your books are making the most cash today.
- Top royalty sources/marketplaces: This data will give you insight into where and how your readers prefer to consume your content.
Keeping Track of Royalties Outside Amazon
If you're like me and have your books listed on multiple platforms, you might want a more consolidated view of your royalties. That’s why I recommend ScribeCount.
ScribeCount is a fantastic tool for keeping track of all your royalties in one place. It's user-friendly, it's efficient, and it's tailor-made for authors. Give it a shot, and see the difference it makes in managing your sales data.