New Amazon royalty terms could be tied to release of Apple Tablet

Amazon has announced increased royalty rates for some authors, a move which appears timed to coincide with the unveiling of the Apple Tablet.

Amazon has unveiled a new royalty plan for some authors and publishers. The deal appears to be an attempt to keep writers producing content for the Kindle platform and not the new Apple Tablet.

Amazon announced today that it would raise royalty rates for authors and publishers using the Kindle Digital Text Platform, a self-publishing service. The move appears timed to coincide with the launch of the Apple Tablet, which many expect to become a major player in the e-book game. Beginning on June 30, some authors and publishers will be able to collect 70 percent of list price on each unit sold, minus delivery costs, Amazon said in a statement.

"Today, authors often receive royalties in the range of 7 to 15 percent of the list price that publishers set for their physical books, or 25 percent of the net that publishers receive from retailers for their digital books," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. "We're excited that the new 70 percent royalty option for the Kindle Digital Text Platform will help us pay authors higher royalties when readers choose their books."

To qualify for the 70 percent royalty rate, authors and publishers must meet certain criteria. For starters, the list price of the book must be between $2.99 and $9.99. In addition, the "list price must be at least 20 percent below the lowest physical list price for the physical book," Amazon says. To be clear, this is a deal for the little guys – folks looking to sell small quantities of cheap books, and make some actual money on the transaction.

So what does this have to do with Apple? Simple: For a long time, Amazon has thrown its weight around the e-book market, with little serious competition. But Apple is a worthy adversary. The company revolutionized the music game with iTunes, and there's no reason to believe it couldn't have a similar effect on the publishing industry. By reaching out to "little guy" authors, Amazon is likely trying to lessen the damage of a full-frontal assault by Apple.


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