Until this week, you needed a US business address to get your ebooks into Amazon’s Kindle store via their self-service Digital Text Platform (DTP). They’ve now extended this to international publishers and authors for books published in English, French and German.
It’s aimed at the small publisher and self-publisher market with fairly minimal requirements. Here’s a summary of how it works.
- You establish an Amazon account or use your existing account.
- Add a book using a straighforward process that provides basic metadata, a description and cover image, lets you specify whether you want DRM applied or not, confirms that you have rights to the book (which can be limited to specified territories), and lets you set the retail price.
- You upload a file of your book which Amazon converts into its own Kindle format. The formats that produce best results are MS Word, HTML or the PRC format. PRC is the old Palm format on which Amazon’s Mobipocket and Kindle (AZW) formats are based. Predictably, there’s no specific suggestion that ePub format would be useful, although you can still upload it, and Amazon specifically notes that PDF may lead to poor results.
- You’re done.
It’s a simple way to get into the hottest ebook store on the planet. Amazon’s DTP agreement is also pretty straightforward although, as you’ll see below, is aimed more at the self-publishing market.
- You grant Amazon non-exclusive rights to sell worldwide (unless specifically restricted) and across all electronic media. You can terminate with five days notice.
- You receive a royalty of 35% of the list price you’ve set, subject to certain restrictions such as not being higher than the price the book is sold elsewhere. So Amazon keeps 65%. [Update 22 January 2010: Amazon offers a new 70% royalty option]. If you’re a self-publishing author, this is better than most standard book royalty deals—but much worse the 80% cut offered by sites such as Smashwords. For publishers, it’s a steep discount that’s more like the receipts they’d expect from a traditional print book distributor and their cut, of course, would need to be shared with the author on a typical 20-25% of net basis, ie the author would end up with about 7-9% of list. Amazon’s 65% cut is high by current digital standards and higher than the proposed 37% cut that Google would take through its Google Editions service scheduled for later this year. Google offers a two-tier deal, depending on whether books are sold directly by Google (Google keeps 37%) or through a retail partner (Google keeps 55%, allowing it to pass on a 45% discount to the retailer and keep the difference).
- If you’re a non-US business, your only payment option at the moment is by cheque with a US$100 minimum balance.