How You can End Up Paying to Sell an ebook on Amazon

Hello SErs. Harmony here. Being a writer, I’d like to tell you a story …

Once upon a time, Amazon charged me for selling a book. Yes, that’s right. I ended up paying them $1.99 for selling one copy of an ebook. Um, that’s not right. Once I got over my indignant anger, I looked into it.

It came down to delivery charges.

Which I’d not realised Amazon did.

And if your book is oversized (see below), they will levy a hefty charge to deliver that book to your customer, leaving you out of pocket and owing them, rather than the other way around.

This happened after I reformatted a book. On my computer, the file size was fine. Only after using Amazon’s converter did the file become huge. Sadly, I didn’t notice anything amiss until I saw that negative sale charge on my sales dashboard. And by then it was too late. Right away, I did my own book conversion and uploaded a smaller file.

Well, first I did some research to find out what the heck was going on. Here’s what I found …

On a 70% royalty rate, Amazon charges delivery per megabyte on your book


‘Delivery Costs are equal to the number of megabytes we determine your Digital Book file contains, multiplied by the Delivery Cost rate listed below. US $0.15/MB CAD $0.15/MB R$0.30/MB UK £0.10/MB €0,12/MB €0,12/MB €0,12/MB INR ₹7/MB €0,12/MB €0,12/MB ¥1/MB MXN $1/MB AUD $0.15/MB’

Although this might not look like a lot of money, those megabytes soon add up. So, the moral of the story is to keep your digital book as small, file-size wise, as possible.

Oh, and don’t forget that Amazon is already taking 30% from you for selling your book.

There is another option …

If you have a large book and don’t want to or can’t feasibly reduce the file size, choose the 35% royalty rate.

Yes, you did just read that correctly.

On a 35% royalty rate, Amazon does not make a delivery charge at all.

So, paradoxically, you will earn more on your book sales for large books on half the royalty rate. Yep, makes perfect sense.

It seems that 65% of your sale price, as opposed to a mere 30%, is a big enough margin for Amazon to waive the delivery fee. I won’t even ask how come it costs such a humungous company so much per megabyte …

However, on other platforms such as Apple, Nook, Kobo or Google Play, the size of your ebook file will not affect your royalty return at all. Smashwords will also give you a higher royalty. Some of these are only available to authors in America, which rules them out for me here in the UK.

Has this happened to any of you? Did you know about this charge already? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Harmony Kent

61 thoughts on “How You can End Up Paying to Sell an ebook on Amazon

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  5. As I am yet to publish I’m in the dark about this so excuse me sounding like a numpty. I’m asking myself if this charge is only imposed on self publishers as I find it hard to imagine the big Trad publishers standing for this.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: How You can End Up Paying to Sell an ebook on Amazon | Dragons Rule OK.

  7. Wow! Something Amazon keep very quiet about. That sort of thing should be made quite clear. It seems a bit underhand to me.
    Thanks for bringing that to our attention. Surely if, when uploading, the book file is big enough to warrant this charge. Amazon should give one a warning.
    Reblogged on Dragons Rule OK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reblog, V.M. Yes, I agree completely … they should give us a warning when the size is large enough to incur a charge. 🙂


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