For those of you who are thinking of writing electronic books, Amazon.com may have made it a little sweeter for you. Starting June 30, small publishers and individual writers may find that publishing directly with Amazon could mean royalties up to 70% of list price for books $2.99 to $9.99.
The Kindle Digital Text Platform allows authors to upload and format their own books to the Kindle Store. The announcement comes at a precipitous time, just before the Jan. 27 unveiling of Apple's iTablet -- rumored to be meeting with publishers over its content (the tablet computer doubles as an e-reader.) Already Apple has teamed up with HarperCollins.
Some critics say the problem is that Amazon.com demands the e-books be 20% cheaper than paper-and-ink -- if one is in existence. Those who write straight-to-digital may not be affected. Other rights would also be included, such as digital-to-voice, and Amazon.com has to be able to sell the e-book at the same price or lower than competitors.
The criticism isn't that harsh. Since most writers are lucky to receive 15% of royalties from an established publishing house, something approaching 50% may look like the Holy Grail. The idea that self-publishing -- previously something scoffed at and ridiculed -- could also be made profitable by Internet sales, would change the way books are written and published forever.
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