Why Does Amazon Still Pay Some KDP Authors By Check?

Amazon Pays By Check

Update note: This article is now quite dated. However, there are still countries affected by check payments. Therefore, this article remains online for reference value only.

It really is time for Amazon to enter the 21st century.

I earn a lot of my living online. That means I get paid from a whole range of sources.

All except one company operates in this century. I get paid by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or Paypal by all of them, except for parts of Amazon.

Why checks?

Amazon has infuriated Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Createspace authors for years by insisting on payment by check or cheque.

It is not only old-fashioned, but it is also slow and expensive. (I will use check instead of cheque for this article for simplicity.)

For authors who live in Australia, Canada, South Africa and so many other countries that are outside the US and the EU, getting paid by check by Amazon is inexcusable in today’s world.

Amazon is one of the tech giants. Surely it can’t be too difficult to offer EFT, can it?

It can’t be financial regulation or rules, because Google manages to pay me by EFT every month without any problem at all for book sales and Adsense income.

For KDP self-publishers who get paid by check, they have to pay a bank charge to deposit an Amazon check. This charge can range from the equivalent of $10 – $30 depending on the bank and country.

One can probably presume that the costs for Amazon are higher for a check than EFT.

On top of that, these authors have to wait to accumulate sales royalties of $100, or more for some Amazon stores such as the UK, Canada, Germany, and France.

It is all, well, dumb, crazy, unfair, and old hat. It is about as silly as being notified of your monthly book sales, by telegram.


Stop the rip off Amazon! Get real.

My earlier article referred to Createspace and how it was ripping off authors.

But nothing has changed with the closure of Createspace. KDP is still as bad, and totally unfair and discriminating against non-US and UK authors.

In my own case, I am a little fortunate. I get paid by EFT by Amazon for my KDP sales.

However, my Amazon Associates account is still paid by an old-fashioned check. If you think KDP is bad, only US Amazon Associates have access to EFT payments. It is not even available for EU countries.


What can you do?

There is little one can do to move a dinosaur.

But if you kick its tail often enough, the message might one day get to its head.

In the case of Amazon, the best you can do is keep sending contact messages and complaining about the unfairness. It took six years, but it worked in the end with Createspace.

But don’t hold your breath.

But I have tried.


An open letter to:

Mr. Jeff P. Bezos
President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board

Dear Jeff,

Without you, and Amazon, self-publishing, print on demand, and ebooks would not exist today in the book market. Nor would the opportunity for almost anyone on the planet to exercise their want to write what they truly believe in, and have the opportunity to be read.  

It matters not how many copies are sold, nor how many people read each book, nor whether a book is free or not. What matters is that Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing have empowered writers and at the same time, given readers a choice, which whether they understand or not, they did not have before Amazon self-publishing.

Even given that ebooks have become almost mainstream now and that there are many players in the ebook retailing market, it is always Amazon who has led the way in innovation.

As so often happens with innovation, though, there are those who resist or argue against change, but without evolution, improvement, trial and almost inevitably the occasional error or two, progress cannot be made.

From the advent of KDP to KDP Select exclusivity, to Kindle Unlimited, and now to pay-per-page royalties, no one can argue that Amazon is not at the forefront of innovating in both self-publishing and publishing as a modern industry.

In fact, in my personal opinion, Amazon is the only self-publishing company that is daring to innovate, change, and improve so willingly.

Digital products such as music, film, and video have proven over many years to be a challenge to market, so, therefore, ebooks are no different. A digital file is a digital file. However, when viewed in perspective, Amazon and ebooks must rate as one of the most outstanding success stories in digital delivery and sales.

For this, every self-publishing author should recognize Amazon’s amazing commitment to self-publishing and in Amazon sharing this success with authors.

Except for one very important issue, Jeff.

While self-publishing on Amazon, though, either Kindle Direct Publishing or Createspace is available to almost any writer anywhere in the world, the fairness of paying royalties to authors is definitely not. It’s time to pay all authors fairly.

While authors in the US, UK and a few European countries enjoy royalty payments every month by Electronic Funds Transfer for any accrued amount, a whole other world of authors is penalized by having to accrue either $100, £100, or EUR100 and then be paid by check, which is then subject to bank fees to clear for payment.

Depending on the bank and country, this can be from 5% to 10% of the check’s value.

Not only that but for authors, who may sell only a few copies of books in certain countries, this limitation can mean that they may not see their due royalties for years.

In addition to this problem, Createspace pays by EFT to far fewer countries than KDP. As both are Amazon companies, I for one I cannot understand why this problem has existed for so many years. In my reading of the community forum on Createspace, this inequity has existed for six years now.

In comments I received on my blog posts on these subjects, I was very surprised to read that even authors in Australia and Canada suffer from payment issues from both Createspace and KDP.

This is not a fair situation. I know many, many self-published authors have contacted Amazon either directly or via Amazon Community Forums regarding this issue for a very long time now, but very little positive action has been taken by Amazon.

For all that you have done so brilliantly for self-publishing, thank you Jeff, but I ask you to extend your innovation, ingenuity, ongoing improvement, and commitment to all authors, and not only those who luckily reside in one of the very few selected countries.

If an author can self-publish on Amazon, and then sell books or ebooks that make a profit for Amazon, surely they all should be paid for their work – fairly, equally, and as promptly.

Thank you again for all your achievements in self-publishing, but I hope this one important issue of fairness to a world of Amazon self-published authors will warrant your personal attention.

Sincerely yours,

Derek Haines

If you are a self-publishing author, who agrees that Amazon should act to ensure all self-published authors are paid equally, fairly, and promptly, please send your thoughts to Mr. Jeff Bezos by email – [email protected]


The earlier story

I am leaving the contents of the earlier article that pertained to check payments by Createspace to set the historical background to Amazon’s reluctance to embrace EFT payments.

Some of the information is of course dated, but it is relevant to the current reluctance of Amazon to offer EfT payments to more countries.

The comments at the end of the article are also an illustration of the frustration felt by authors.

An Amazon Company That Rips Off Authors

Createspace penalizes international self-publishing authors.

If you are a self-published author, who has the misfortune to reside outside the US or the UK, or a small handful of selected European countries, and publish paperbacks on Createspace, you will know that Createspace treats international authors in general like, well, there’s no other word, so why should I censor this?

Createspace treats most of their international authors like shit, as they have ripped them off for a very long time.

If you live for example in Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, India, or like me in Switzerland, Createspace does not offer electronic payment of royalties (EFT), and will only pay by check for royalty balances over US$100, £100 or Euro 100.

This is archaic, discriminatory, and close to predatory.

For EFT, where it is offered, the minimum payments are US$10! (Update: There is now no limit, so all balances are paid in full each month by EFT.)

Not only are these balances uneven, as US$100 is only worth about half of £100, paying by check means that authors suffer from bank clearance fees, so they lose a lot on the deal.

In my case, every US$100 check I receive costs me $10 to clear. With EFT, there are no charges whatsoever. This is UNFAIR!


Createspace has done nothing in six years, except to make false promises.

Now, if this were a new problem it wouldn’t be so bad, but Createspace has been promising to address this issue for over six years, as their Community message boards on this subject prove.

But nothing has been done, except for Createspace to keep making as yet unfulfilled promises.

I sent yet another message only yesterday about this unfair situation, and received the same stock standard reply I have been receiving for years, in that Createspace value their customers and are working on it! Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Let’s get something clear.

Createspace is an Amazon company. Amazon KDP has no problem at all in paying by EFT to authors in most countries, but for some unfathomable reason, Createspace can’t manage to do it.

Worse still is that Createspace is sitting on a huge pile of unpaid royalties that have not managed to get to the minimum amounts payable by check. So how many books do I sell in France, Spain, and Germany? A few, but at my current balance of around Euro 20, I’ll be waiting ten years to see a check.

I imagine a lot of authors have similar outstanding balances. But if EFT were available, I would have been paid already. Theft? Hoarding? Stupidity? Ineptitude? Whichever, it amounts to a lot of money Createspace is sitting on that should be paid to authors!

This is not an isolated problem either, as I have written before about International Self-Publishing Hurdles, and Is Self-Publishing Only For Americans?. If you are not American, you are almost always at a disadvantage in one way or another with Amazon.

If you are an Amazon Associates member, for example, there is the same $100 minimum problem for non-US residents, but at least Amazon Associates offer an Amazon Gift card for balances over $10. Not a fantastic solution, but it is more than Createspace can manage to do.

If you are an international self-published author, who is suffering from the reluctance of Createspace to change their discriminatory payment options, all I can suggest is hitting them with a message every month, complaining about the unfairness of their payment system.

Mind you, on their Community Boards; this topic has been hit by the same complaints since two thousand and nine! That’s only 7 years!

Amazon is a company that started with books and still owes a lot of its success to books and ebooks. But isn’t it high time that it treated (all) their authors with a little more fairness?



Footnote: Since writing this post, Createspace finally acted after six years and now offers EFT payments to a few more countries


Update: I have filed this article as Dated due to the fact that Amazon KDP now offers easy paperback publishing, which overcomes the Createspace EFT payment problems for almost all authors. 

Update 2: There is news speculation that Createspace will be closing down. This might be the right time to move your paperback POD self-publishing to KDP.

Update 3: We have published a new article explaining how to move your existing Createspace paperback titles to Amazon KDP.

Update 4: Amazon announces it is taking over media production from Createspace.

Update 5: Amazon Associates has come out of the cave and announced that direct deposit EFT payments are available now for a limited number of countries outside the US. See the list below.


Derek Haines

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

Avatar for Derek Haines

36 thoughts on “Why Does Amazon Still Pay Some KDP Authors By Check?

  • Avatar for Dr. Nick DeBonis
    June 19, 2018 at 5:36 am

    This isn’t just a problem for international authors. And why move to Amazon KDP when it can’t manage CreateSpace?

  • Avatar for Eydie Schultz
    June 7, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    The story above states when I first hired Booksurge/Ingram in 2008. The books were brand new books. I have the copyright and LSI/Booksurge contracts so no this is very illegal

  • Avatar for Barbara Livingston
    April 14, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Some Canadian banks now have “partnered” US banks. I opened an account with a US bank from Canada. They sent me a package of blank cheques, which I can either cash at my CDN partner bank (need an account there to do that), or deposit in my own credit union. There are several Canadian banks that now have US partners. They also gave me a debit card, so I can withdraw cash from ATMs when I visit the US.

    There are several CDN banks who have partners, now. You can also go through a money brokerage like Knightsbridge FX.

    It’s a lot easier than coping with Createspace’s lost cheques and watching other countries’ royalties sit below the pay out threshold for months.

    • Avatar for Wanda
      April 17, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      I just set up a Createspace account and was shocked that they don’t provide EFT for Canadians. What Canadian banks are partnered with a US bank? I was told I would have to go to the US to open an account if I wanted EFT.

      • Avatar for Derek Haines
        April 17, 2018 at 8:28 pm

        I would suggest using KDP for paperbacks. There has been a lot of news about Createspace scaling back or closing down. And, KDP offers EFT payment to Canada, I believe.

        • Avatar for Wanda
          April 17, 2018 at 8:54 pm

          Thanks, Derek. I was just looking into it based on your article. Unfortunately it isn’t available to Canada, from what I understand.

          • Avatar for Derek Haines
            April 17, 2018 at 9:03 pm

            I have heard a lot about problems with Amazon EFT payments from Canadian authors. It really is so unfair. You could try Draft2digital. They can publish paperback and pay by Paypal. Perhaps an option for you.

  • Avatar for Christopher Totten
    February 2, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I published my book “Autobiography of a Hippie” with LULU back in 2007, and over the years I‘ve noticed a virtual feeding frenzy by Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online distributors of listings for my book for sale, both new and used. and always in substantial numbers (more than 50 available, etc) yet LULU has claimed that in the last 10+ years, I’ve sold less than 20 books altogether; according to them! Now the used books available online outnumber that by several times, especially when looking at international sales, and they always listed new books available in large numbers too. When I confronted LULU, they replied; “we are a print on demand publisher, so Amazon can list as many as they please, and when they receive orders, we will print them; as for the used books available, anyone can resell their books after reading them” …but how does that explain a used book count that far outnumbers the alleged sales? Is someone else printing and selling my book besides LULU? If so, that would be illegal, and shouldn’t LULU be on top of that to protect one of their authors? Unless, of course, LULU is in collusion with Amazon and others, and especially considering that Amazon has it’s own in-house printing service, it’s easy to see that if LULU gave them the files and rights to print my book, they’d need not have to pay me a dime, and simply split the profits with LULU. When I confronted Amazon with this; they said it was LuLu’s responsibility to pay me my revenues, and when I turned to LULU, they replied that all sales made outside of LULU, would have to paid by the retailer selling the books; similar to the notorious old “Tweed Ring” of some criminal politicians back in the late 1800s; who’d point the finger at the next guy, and that one pointed to the next one, and so on. I see the same thing happening with my music posted online for sale at Reverbnation and elsewhere. You’d think that after 5 years of more than 50 tunes posted, at least one of them would have sold for a lousy dollar, but according to Reverbnation; nothing has sold, NOTHING! Now how in the world can I know if that’s really true or not, as several of my songs have gone viral with a following on the internet radio, so certainly someone should have liked at least one enough to pay $1 for a download copy. You see how it is; the online retailers are in the “driver’s seat” with total control, and there’s no way of really knowing just how many copies were actually sold; unless they are forced to open their books to an IRS audit; to reveal actual sales, we are simply out of luck! Indy authors, musicians and artists like myself ; need to form a class action against the big rip-off corporations and demand justice in a court of law; that’s the only thing that will get their attention! Meanwhile, the story of my youth is being profited on by many others; but not the one who wrote the story; me! I am ready to give my book away for free just to take the wind out of the sails (and sales) of the corporate giants, but actually another one has already done that; Google. Sadly, when I published my book, Google contacted me with an offer to list my book with them in “Google Book Search” and as I thought that meant simply listing it in their search engine, I accepted their offer, not realizing that it would mean that Google would essentially place my entire book up online for anyone to read; nearly in it’s entirety, with only a few pages deleted here and there, so why buy a book, that one could essentially read for free!?! I think I need a really good pro-bono lawyer to help me with all of this, as I sure can’t afford to pay someone to fight the corporate lawyers Amazon and others have at their disposal; know anyone?

  • Avatar for Fiona
    August 12, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Weird! I’m in Australia and got paid for one book recently. I have a Payoneer account for all Amazon & Createspace payments though. Is that the difference?

  • Avatar for D.G. Kaye
    June 22, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Glad to hear it said yet again. I wrote about this bogus issue over a year ago. I sent them numerous emails numerous times. Still nothing. I’m Canadian, part of North America and treated as though I’m from a third world country.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      June 22, 2015 at 7:35 am

      I have heard that Canada gets a rough deal from Createspace too, as well as some parts of Amazon KDP, like Kindle Scout. Crazy. So much for a globalised economy huh?

    • Avatar for dr walter o. ochan
      September 7, 2018 at 6:59 am

      Dear all;
      Amazon looks at the rest of world as one country.

      Amazon has no problem receiving digital payments from all countries, including Africa. However, when it comes to paying royalties Amazon considers such countries digitally nonexistent. Why should a conglomerate receive digital money from from one country and choose to pay Stone Age money to these countries?

      Check payments are pre-historic, even in Africa.
      Amazing how a conglomerate like Amazon still wants to operate at levels below banks in Africa.
      A South African bank refuses to clear checks from Amazon because:
      -clearance costs are more than values of the checks issued by Amazon
      -all banks in Africa are moving, or have moved away form using checks for international payments.

      It would make a lot of sense if an American bank was rejecting a check payment from a company in Africa.
      Wake Amazon.com, even African banks are dumping the check book and all gone digital. We believe that Amazon.com is not operating form the Amazon rain forests but from the clouds; is it not time Amazon and Createspace started taking EFT instead of CHECK BOOK?

      EFT is a language spoken globally and the CHECK book should not belong even in the rain forests of Amazon.

      Please Amazon.com, wake up to the new world and join the EFT nation, drop the CHECK BOOK. I think it is time Amazon came out of the rain forests and hugged the computer key board, that is where the new bank lives and not in the Check Book. The rest of the world lives on QWERTY or QWERTZ, and that includes the global banking system. The rest of the banks are in the “clouds” globally and it is time for Amazon.com to move up into the clouds.

      Keep well; keep working.

      dr. w. o. ochan

      • Avatar for Derek Haines
        September 8, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        Even though I am in Europe and receive EFT payments from Amazon KDP, I STILL get paid by check from Amazon Associates. It’s prehistoric and a nonsense. Some parts of the Amazon empire clearly still operate in a cave.


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