Amazon Prime royalties remain a mystery to figure out. In the “gimme a break” category, Amazon Prime is currently paying authors $1.33 for each book that’s streamed via its “unlimited” program. Since $1.33 is about half of what an author would normally be paid for a softcover, a memo has gone out suggesting that writers split the offering in half and release books in two segments. Maybe authors can cut their cars in two for one month and their houses in two the next. Or eat half meals while waiting on the second royalty. How about forgetting all this bookkeeping tomfoolery and just pay authors what they receive from nonPrime customers?
Writers didn’t start this program; it began essentially without any notice or other options for authors short of pulling the plug on Amazon entirely. This certainly isn’t practical when 70 percent of all books sold go through this entity. If at some point market forces don’t come into play, and I don’t see anyone challenging this monolith anytime soon, as much as I hate to say it, the government will have to step in to break up the firm.
To be clear, Amazon is forcing this upon themselves. Great prices for the consumer are definitely hard to argue, but not at the sacrifice of those who provide the intellectual property. My real hope is that Amazon will see the light regarding royalties before it’s too late and develop a more equitable structure. In the meantime, writers get a quick lick on a very big sucker. Now, to add to this issue, page counts are now being determined by an Amazon algorithm.