How Much Does an Author Make Per Audiobook, eBook, and Print Book?

Thanks to the success and ultra-fast adoption of the internet to create websites and sell digital products in the past 20 years, seeing people making a very good profit from their talent is everyday news.

The average earnings for royalties an author gets in the publishing industry are audiobooks (40%), eBooks (70%), and paperback print books (60%). The companies that offer these fees are Amazon’s ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Look at the following examples for each of these three formats:

Product TypePriceRoyaltiesAfter other fees
10 hours length Audiobook$10$4
If sharing royalties with the narrator/producer (20%)
Delivery cost ($0.06)
Print book paperback, black ink, 300 pages$15$9  (60%)Average printing cost Fixed rate $0.85 plus $0.012 per page

How Much Does an Author Make Per Audiobook

An author can make $75 when a visitor is led by the author to register for the Audible 30-day trial period and then purchases the author’s book during the first 61 days (Audible Bounty Program for Creators). If the subscriber buys other books from the same author, the average fee is 40% of the list price, or 20% if the author and narrator/producer agree on shared royalties.

  • Authors should keep in mind that royalties can sometimes increase or decrease, and that fluctuation depends on the marketing strategies used by the retailers to create a better impact on new and recurring audiences
  • Although the royalties may drop sometimes, the exposure gained through each sale can boost the royalties of the next audiobooks produced.

One of the biggest problems many beginner authors face is thinking that there is only one way to make money from their talent: getting sales of their products.

There is much more information about ways to earn advertising fees and marketing strategies to get satisfactory results: “How to Make Money with the Audible Bounty and Amazon Associates Program”.

What happens if a subscriber doesn’t buy your audiobook during the trial period or the first month of subscription?

As those cases are also possible, Amazon provides more ways to compensate the  authors’ efforts to attract new customers to Audible:

ProductAdvertising FeeConditions
Audible Gold Digital Membership$10*The visitor registers for the Free Trial period   
*After the Free Trial period, the registered visitor pays for the first month on the Audible Premium Plus plan: $14.95
Audible Free Trial Digital Membership$5The visitor registers for the Free Trial period
Audible Audiobook$0.50The visitor purchases an audiobook by a different author with a payment method or with an Audible credit
  • As you can see in the first and second rows, the fees obtained can be similar to the royalties received per book sold. It’s a win-win system.

How Much Do ACX Pay Authors Per Audiobook

ACX is the company in charge of producing and distributing audiobooks for Audible,, and iTunes. Each time an audiobook is sold on any of those three retailers, ACX will get 60% of the list price, and the author will get either 40% on an exclusive contract or 25% on a non-exclusive.

Take a look at the following extra details of how authors pay for the production of their audiobooks and get royalties:

ProducerWhat is it about?Production CostsRoyalties
AuthorIt must comply with the ACX Audiobook submission RequirementsNumber of PFH (per finished hour) already paid by the author
40% on exclusive contract

25% on a non-exclusive contract
Producer cast on ACXIt complies with the ACX Audiobook Submission Requirements*Number of PFH (per finished hours) paid by the author after two rounds of corrections

*The production cost can be discounted from the royalties: ACX pays for the full project and charges the author from the royalties
40% on exclusive contract

25% on a non-exclusive contract
Royalty shared productionIt complies with the ACX Audiobook Submission RequirementsNumber of PFH (per finished hours) paid through shared royalties20% on exclusive or non-exclusive contracts for the author

20% on exclusive or non-exclusive contracts for the producer
  • Audiobooks narrated and produced by the author must comply with the ACX audiobook submission requirements 
  • When using ACX to cast a producer for the audiobook, the author makes an offer and if accepted, paying for the full project will be done after two rounds of corrections
  • Very similar to the previous option, but now, instead of paying for the project, the author will share the royalties with the producer in equal parts, according to the type of contract
  • Amazon, Audible, and iTunes can make price changes according to their marketing strategies; that means that during the same year the author’s royalties can increase or decrease, depending on how well the readers, audience and fans react to those sales
  • A non-exclusive contract means that the author, in addition to having his/her books on, iTunes, and Audible, can also sell them through any other retailer websites or even his/her own webpage

The key to making a big profit from a print book, eBook, and audiobook is to master three things: social media (organic and paid), blogging, and email marketing. Four visitors to your website out of every 1,000 make a purchase. Setting a pre-launch and post-launch email marketing campaign correctly will make 4% to 40% of your subscribers purchase anything you offer. (Read more about strategies and hacks)

Your subscribers will buy from you because of the positive level of credibility and trustworthiness you have been able to project. 

What makes many authors gain very little income from their talent is ignoring the basics of digital marketing, having a low tolerance to learning from trial and error, and a low level of persistence.

Luisa Bueno

How Much Does an Author Make Per Ebook

There are two main ways to make money with eBooks: KDP 35% royalty option and 70% royalty option. Here are the requirements:

eBook File SizeList Price RangeRoyalty OptionRoyalties from a $9.99 eBook (Example)
0.1 MB – 3 MB$0.99 – $200 set by the author35%$3.50 
3 MB – 9.99 MB$1.99 – $200 set by the author35%$3.50 
10 MB or more$1.99 – $200 set by the author35%$3.50 
3 MB or more$2.99 – $9.99 set by KDP70%$6.99
  • The first requirement is the file size: from 0.1 MB to more than 10MB if the author sets the price, the royalties will be 35% from each eBook sold
  • The second requirement is the list price: if it’s set from $2.99 to $9.99 the royalties will be 70%, as long as the book is 3MB or more (read below to know how many pages would have a 3 MB only text eBook)
  • Keep in mind that the digital delivery of each eBook purchased will be discounted from the author’s royalties. Fortunately, it’s only $0.06 on average. For exact details of delivery costs, read below on How Much Is the Delivery Cost of an Ebook on KDP

An eBook can be sold in two types of territories: 

  • 41 countries make part of the 70% where users are likely to buy eBooks with frequency
  • In the remaining countries, the author will get 35%, as the chances to make sales are lower

Which Countries Make Part of the 70% KDP Royalty Fee

There are 41 countries that are part of the 70% Royalty Fee. You can find them in the table below:

Countries that Make Part of the 70% Royalty Fee
AustraliaHong KongLiechtensteinSpain
BelgiumIsle of ManMexicoUnited Arab Emirates
BrazilItalyMonacoUnited Kingdom
CanadaJapanThe NetherlandsUnited States
EgyptJerseyNew ZealandVatican City
GermanyKingdom of Saudi ArabiaQatar
GibraltarKuwaitSan Marino
  • In the countries where VAT is applied for purchasing eBooks, the tax is discounted from the author’s royalties
  • When there are promotions, the 70% royalty fee will be applied to that price, not the original list price
  • When the eBook is in promotion, the delivery cost applies as normal ($0.06 on average)
  • If your eBook is a public domain work, you’re not entitled to the 70% royalty option, but 35%
  • If you choose the 35% royalty option, there won’t be any discounts from your royalties for delivery costs

How Much Is the Delivery Cost of an Ebook on KDP

The fixed fee per 1 MB is $0.15. When you see that the average fee is $0.06 it means that the size of a standard Kindle eBook is a bit less than half a megabyte: 410 kilobytes on average. The table below shows how much the delivery costs can be on several file sizes:

Size CostEstimated Number of Pages (text only)Estimated Number of Words
410 kb$0.064611,511
1    MB$0.1511528,750
1.5 MB$0.2217343,250
2    MB$0.3023157,750
2.5 MB$0.3728872,000
3    MB$0.4534686,500
3.5 MB$0.52404101,000
4    MB$0.60461115,250
4.5 MB$0.67519129,250
5   MB$0.75577144,250
10 MB$1.51154288,500

How Much Does Amazon KDP Pay Authors Per Print Books

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) pays authors 60% royalties per print paperback book sold for books listed from $4 to $250 (hardcover not available). If the book is on Expanded Distribution, authors get paid 40% royalties. The printing cost is discounted from the author’s royalties.

  • If we compare the royalties paid by KDP and the ones paid by the publishing houses, we can easily notice that KDP provides the highest royalties.
  • If the book is promoted exclusively on Amazon, the royalties are 60%
  • If the book is made available to other booksellers or distributors, the royalties are 40%. That’s called Expanded Distribution
  • You can promote (not sell) your own books on your webpage, social media accounts, or through email marketing strategies to get compensated as an affiliate marketer ($0.50 per book sold plus the 60% royalties)

How to Calculate the KDP Printing Cost

To calculate the cost of printing each book, first, you need to take into account if your title requires black ink, color standard, or color premium ink. Knowing that, look at the fixed cost of each of these three options. Finally, multiply the number of pages by the additional per-page cost according to the type of ink.

Let’s take a look at some examples of paperback printing:

Type of InkFrom 24 – 108 pagesFrom 110 – 828 pages
BlackFixed-rate: $2.15Add. per page cost: noneFixed-rate: $2.15Add. per page cost: $0.012
Example 1: 100 pages black ink printingTotal: $2.15N/A
Example 2: 300 pages black ink printingN/A$5.75
Type of InkFrom 24 – 40 pagesFrom 42 – 828 pages
Color (Premium)Fixed-rate: $3.65Add. per page cost: noneFixed-rate: $0.85Add. per page cost: $0.07
Example 1:35 pages Premium Color Total: $3.65N/A
Example 2:200 pages Premium ColorN/ATotal: $14,85
Type of InkFrom 72 – 600 pages
Color (Standard)Fixed-rate: $0.85
Add. per page cost: $0.036
Example 1:90 pages Standard ColorTotal: $4.09
250 pages Standard ColorTotal: $9,85

You can find all the details and examples on the KDP webpage.

Recent Posts