With a line of extremely successful e-readers and a gigantic user base, Amazon and its Kindle Direct Publishing service seem like a no-brainer for independent authors. But Andrew Hyde tracked the performance of his recently released title, This Book is About Travel, through the retailer's digital store and discovered that Amazon may not actually be the wisest way to distribute one's work. Despite accounting for a vast majority of his initial sales and a spot as Amazon's number 1 "Hot New Release in Travel," Hyde's book brought in a considerably lower amount of income per sale than if sold as an Apple iBook, Barnes and Noble Nook book, or a PDF file.
When looking at Kindle Direct Publishing's advertised 70 percent royalty rate, one would assume that 30 percent of each sale would go to Amazon with the rest going to the author. The service's pricing page specifies that Amazon's percentage does not take into consideration delivery costs but, since it's digital, the added fees should (at least theoretically) be minimal. On the contrary, Hyde calculated that Amazon was charging an average of $2.58 in delivery costs for every sale of his $9.99 book. Add that amount to the 30 percent already owed to the online retailer and the author's cut drops below half of the product's sale price. Hyde now advises potential customers to purchase This Book is About Travel as a PDF file through Gumroad — where he gets $9.25 for each sale — but only time will tell if losing Amazon's popular storefront will be benifical in the long run.