Amazon Downloads Charge Eats At Your Ebook Royalties

Amazon downloads charge reduces your ebook royalty

If you publish with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), do you understand the royalty structure for Kindle ebooks? There is an Amazon downloads charge.

When a reader buys one of your ebooks, Amazon deducts a small amount from your royalties for delivery.

You have probably never noticed, but there is a deduction on every sale.

However, if you have a lot of images in your ebook, you could have a considerable reduction in your KDP royalties.


The Amazon digital downloads charge

Hidden deep in Amazon KDP Terms and Conditions is a table of the Amazon digital services charge for Kindle ebooks.

So deep, in fact, that the breadcrumb to the Amazon digital downloads charge looks like this:

Kindle Direct Publishing > Legal > Kindle Direct Publishing > Terms and Conditions > Pricing Page.

Here is the list of Amazon digital delivery charges for ebook distribution.

Most authors are probably unaware of this and don’t know that an ebook’s file size can cut into their KDP royalty payment from Amazon.

Here is the table Amazon provides.

Delivery Costs are equal to the number of megabytes we determine your Digital Book file contains, multiplied by the Delivery Cost rate listed below. US $0.15/MB CAD $0.15/MB R$0.30/MB UK £0.10/MB €0,12/MB €0,12/MB €0,12/MB INR ₹7/MB €0,12/MB €0,12/MB ¥1/MB MXN $1/MB AUD $0.15/MB


It might only look like pennies at first glance.

But once you understand that even a plain text-only ebook with a normal resolution cover design will usually be around 2.00MB in size, the file delivery costs in the above table immediately double.

If your cover image is very high-resolution, your ebook file size will start to increase dramatically.

If the list price for your ebook is $2.99 and you are on the 70% royalty rate, you might think that your royalty will be $2.09.

But in fact, it will only be $1.89 for a 2MB ebook file size after the $0.30 Amazon downloads charge has been deducted.

But that is only the beginning of the story.


Go easy on images in Kindle ebooks

Once you start adding images to an ebook, the file size of your ebook will increase rapidly.

But it depends on which royalty level you select when you publish.

So much so that if the file size reaches 10MB, your royalty will be less at 70% ($1.04) than at 35% ($1.05).

This is because Amazon does not charge delivery costs on digital orders if you select the 35% royalty rate.


Only Amazon charges for ebook sales delivery as far as I can ascertain. It may have something to do with delivering to Kindle devices, but I really don’t know why.

Other ebook retailers manage to deliver without any additional charges at all.

To check the file size of your ebooks on Amazon, go to your book page and check your product details.

It is the first item, and it will be listed in KB. 1,000KB equals 1MB.

You can see how quickly a few large images can affect your KDP ebook royalty.

Amazon downloads charge on KDP Royalty

If you want to avoid losing money, you should make sure that any images you use in your ebook are compressed to the smallest size possible.

We have an article explaining how to compress images for ebooks that will help you to reduce your images considerably.


You can earn a minus ebook royalty

Here’s a not so pleasant statistic about your Kindle royalties to finish.

If your ebook retail price is $2.99 on KDP’s 70% royalty rate, and it is loaded with images and reaches 20MB in size, your royalty with be -$0.01 for every book sold.

Yes, your images and Amazon’s delivery charge will wipe out all of your book sales earnings and Amazon royalties.

You will earn less than nothing from every ebook you sell.

But if you choose the 35% royalty option, you will make $1.05.

In fact, your ebook file size can be as large as you like at 35% because no delivery fee is charged.

However, if you publish on Apple, Nook, Kobo, or Google Play, the size of your ebook file will not affect your royalty return at all.

As with all things self-publishing, nothing is ever plain and simple.

To solve the problem, my advice to those who are publishing ebooks with a lot of images would be to consider using either Draft2Digital or Smashwords to publish your ebook.

You will earn much fairer and higher royalties for an ebook with a lot of images.

The other alternative is to publish a POD print book version and be sure that when you sell a copy of your book, you will earn your expected royalty.

The only good news is if you enrolled in KDP Select and your ebooks are available on Kindle Unlimited in the Kindle Store.

As far as I can gather, there is (probably) no delivery fee for subscriber reading.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

13 thoughts on “Amazon Downloads Charge Eats At Your Ebook Royalties

  • June 30, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    My latest ebook costs over 70 pence delivery, which was a bit of a shock. It is image heavy. Your blog is an interesting read. I hadn’t understood this. If I do a similar product, perhaps Smashwords is the way to go.

  • October 23, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Derek,

    How about when you set it at 2.99, 70% royalties but the price on keeps showing as 3.01. AT first I thought they were adding the delivery cost to the price but it seems that comes from my commission anyway so why the additional 2 cents?

  • January 9, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Just curious, file size…does this include internal images only or do they include cover image too? I have spoken to industry cover designers who maintain it is ALL images (interior and exterior) yet when I mentioned this in a group of authors one (says they are tech???) was adamant that it only applied to interior images.
    Any clarity on this would be welcome.

    • January 9, 2019 at 9:41 am

      My understanding is that the file size includes the cover image. But I can’t find a 100% answer on KDP.

      • October 22, 2019 at 11:16 pm

        Based on my experience, it’s interior images only. The cover of my book is 3MB and the interior is 1MB, and I’m only getting charged USD$0.15 per sale.

  • January 16, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Charging $0.15/mb is insane! Their 30% can help cover the operating cost of the platform, but it seems to me that adding the “Delivery” charge on top is crazy. Took the wife and I an HOUR to determine that the author pays the delivery fee, and out of their commission. In our case, we are doing a paperback, as well, so our book is formatted with much higher graphics. Once I understood that we needed to get the book size down, well, I think that nonsense will go away.

    However, the difference between the 35% and 70% is just .49 cents. We aren’t really in this (with this book) to make money, so not sure why I should go through the hassle of maintaining two source copies (one with 300 dpi and one with 72 dpi).

    • January 16, 2018 at 3:31 am

      We ARE dropping the book filesize, though, simply to make it better for the end user, so they don’t have to wait forever (over wifi connections) and to not suck up all their available device disk space!

    • October 22, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      I’m just getting into ebook authoring, but based on a lot of experience with editing photographs, I’d guess that files with images set at either 72 dpi or 300 dpi would be pretty close to the same size, if not exactly the same. A “dpi” setting does not affect the digital image at all: it merely specifies how that image should be printed out on paper. If an image has a resolution of, say, 100 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall, it will still have (100 x 200 = 20,000) pixels in it, whether it’s saved as 72 dpi or 300 dpi. if it’s never printed, then the dpi specification won’t have any meaning.

      Granted, I’m an ebook newbie, and I suppose it’s possible that the conventions in ebook publishing work differently than they do with, say, photograph editing. If so, somebody else can chime in and explain how things work for ebooks.

  • December 27, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    This means better not include Mexico in ebook distribution!? MXN $1/MB

    • May 22, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      i believe that’s $1 in mexican money which is about .10 cents.

  • September 13, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I might accept that a charge needs to happen by file size. But arguably, this is 30 cents for the example book size.

    Surely Amazon can spare that 30 cents more than the author, given that Amazon’s already got a 30% taste on the profits anyway.

    I would be curious if the big publishers are operating under the same parameters Self-Pubs are. 30% skim and $.15/MB?

  • January 2, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    A delivery fee would make more sense if it were only assessed when customers download to Kindle devices over a 3G connection. I don’t know what that actually costs Amazon per MB so can’t judge whether $0.15/MB is fair, but it’s certainly something higher than $0. But that it’s charged for wi-fi delivery too, and at a much higher price than Amazon’s S3 cloud storage and delivery service, is practically thievery. S3 storage costs less than 3 cents per GB per month in most regions around the world, and typically around 10 cents per GB for delivery. At S3 prices, a 1MB file could be delivered to 1000 people for about a dime — less than the charge for delivering a 1MB KDP book to a single person.

    • January 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Your stats give a good clue that it’s close to daylight robbery, Dan.


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