70% Royalties From The Rock? Do Be Serious, Jeff Bezos.

Go Global In 2014

Good news or a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down?

KDP have just announced “royalty” rates for Ireland and Gibraltar have gone UP to 70%.

The Zon-centric blogs will be loving this, Proof that Jeff dreams about us in his sleep and didn’t want us thinking he might be planning on cutting KDP royalty rates.

But what does this really mean?

The good news first.

As we explained back in January in a post on the Irish ebook retailer Eason, Ireland as in the Irish Republic is part of a bigger island called Ireland which also includes Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK and also part of the British Isles, but not part of Great Britain and definitely not part of England.

Those in Northern Ireland, as part of the UK, qualify as Amazon UK so sales get the 70% royalty anyway. Those in the Irish Republic have the choice of shopping on Zon Com or Zon UK and for these the upped royalty may have an impact.

Amazon has never felt it necessary to give Ireland its own store, even though the Irish use neither the US dollar nor the British pound.

But for readers who aren’t authors and don’t have some emotive attachment to the Kindle store there are alternatives. Google Play, Apple and Txtr all manage to have dedicated Ireland ebook store in local currency. Kobo is there in partnership with Ireland’s biggest bookstore Eason, which crosses the border, and the main UK ebook sites supply the Emerald Isle too.

Ireland’s total population is less than 5 million, and while unquestionably a very literate and well-read society this is not going to make a lot of difference to author incomes.

The bad news?

The Zon-centric blogs will be gleefully explaining how this is a game-changer, but Gibraltar isn’t actually a country. It’s known locally as “The Rock.” And there’s a reason for that. Because, well, it’s a rock.

This is a classic example of Amazon playing authors for fools. “Hey guys, we’re going to pay you 70% every time you get a sale in Gibraltar. Aren’t we the greatest?”

But take a closer look. Gibraltar has an area of 2.3 square miles. No, that’s not a typo.

It has a population of less than 30,000. No, that’s not a typo either.

Gibraltar has a population equal to a shopping mall on a quiet weekday afternoon, and if you include the parking facilities it’s about the same size.

And Amazon is claiming it’s a new boost for authors.

Expect Amazon to shortly announce similar great deals for authors who sell books in Monaco (population 38,000), Lichtenstein (36,000), San Marino (31,000) and the Vatican City (population 800 – possibly less by now, as celibate geriatrics tend not to produce population explosions).

As and when Amazon start producing best-seller charts for the Most Serene Republic of San Marino (yes, that’s its official name!) and the Vatican we shall be impressed.

Until then it’s a big yawn from this corner.

But 7 out of 10 for trying, Jeff. Any by the way, that’s 70%. 🙂





3 responses to “70% Royalties From The Rock? Do Be Serious, Jeff Bezos.

  1. The geo-political summary on Ireland is pretty good for a (presumed) English person. (Apologies in advance for any sensitivity, if not.) The only slight quibble would be over the term “British Isles.” To some, it’s purely a geographic term. To others in Ireland it sounds a bit, shall we say, possessive. Other suggested options here include “The West European Islands”, or even “IONA” (Isles of the North Atlantic) – though both some Hebrideans and Iceland are somewhat put out by that one. The cop-out term often used by the media and politicians is “These Islands”.
    If Scotland goes independent we can play the game again. Part of the British Isles, part of Great Britain (a geographic term), but not part of the United Kingdom, I guess. And as for Rockall…
    Seriously though, folks, the different royalty rate for Ireland was a bit weird. As you say, customers in Ireland (the Republic) usually shop on Zon.co.uk. It’s not clear whether this makes us honorary Brits for the transaction, or whether an Amazon bot is carefully tracking where we laid our laptops last night.
    There is a practical issue for writers in Ireland though. If you’re going to publish a book that’s likely to appeal mainly to an Irish audience, why would you publish on Kindle, and perhaps receive only half the royalties who deserve? The third in my series set in 1940 has a strong Irish theme, and with Amazon now resolving the ambiguity, it’ll be an easier decision to publish with them.
    Bernard Neeson
    Author “An Invitation to Hitler”

    • Guilty as charged, Bernard, Born and mostly bred in England. My use of “the British Isles” was most definitely historical-geographical, not political.

      It’s something we are slowly coming to terms with here at EBUK.For instance we often refer to “the Far East” but of course for Americans is not quite so far and could equally be the Far West, for Australians its Far North and for those in the region it’s not far at all.

      As regards tracking our guess is Amazon use ISP addresses for download decisions and payment details for purchase decisions.

      To clarify that, if you have an existing UK account and UK payment card you can download ebooks in countries (Egypt for example) where Amazon blocks downloads. try paying with a local card, even if you use a proxy server to disguise your ISP address, and Amazon will block you.

      As regards appeal to Irish audiences, obviously the home country is first target, but with significant Irish populations around the world and the universal charm that the country exudes authors with novels set in Ireland should do well everywhere.

  2. Pingback: Debunking Amazon’s 70% Royalty for Indie Authors and Publishers

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