Amazon announced today that it will expand royalties for self-publishers who use its Kindle e-book platform, while at the same time keeping prices down for Kindle users.
Starting in June, according to The Associated Press, members of the Kindle Digital Text Platform publishing books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 in the U.S. will get royalties on book sales of 70 percent after delivery costs. The books must be available everywhere the author or publisher has intellectual property rights, and it must sell on Amazon for the same price or less as it does with the company’s competitors.
With those costs equaling less than 6 cents per book, Amazon said authors will be able to earn $6.25 per copy on a book that sells for $8.99, rather than the old rate of $3.15.
As the AP article points out, Amazon is eager to keep e-book prices down as its competition in this market explodes, with many tech companies planning devices that include features the Kindle doesn’t have, like touch screens and color.
The company is also eager to push forward with any innovation it can, having had a challenging year in 2009 with several legal setbacks with the Kindle. Four American universities — including ASU — just settled lawsuits with blind advocacy groups over their use of Kindles in the classroom. Blind students felt the Kindle DX’s lack of a nonvisual user interface put them at a competitive disadvantage with their sighted classmates. While the device has a mode that reads text aloud to users, its menus have no such audio capability. In December Amazon announced features to addresss the complaints will be included in a new model set for release this summer.
Amazon became the target of another lawsuit in July when a high school student sued the e-tailer for deleting an e-book he bought for the Kindle device, according to a report by The Associated Press. At issue were digital copies of George Orwell’s classics 1984 and Animal Farm, which turned out to be unofficial editions that the company did not have the right to distribute and therefore yanked back, right out of users’ Kindle units. The heavyhanded way in which it was done sparked a flood of comparisons to Orwell’s dystopian 1984 future.
Amazon now says the rights issue has been resolved and has offered free books or $30 to customers who lost their copies of the works.
In October, Amazon announced it will release a free software application for Windows PCs that will read the same e-books as its $259 Kindle device.