Amazon’s new Giveaway – how does it compare to Goodreads?

Amazon announced their new Giveaway program today that allows authors to run contests for free print books or other items sold by Amazon. The program is based on the giveaway concept first offered by Goodreads, which is now also owned by Amazon. So which program is better for the indie author? Some comparison points: The Goodreads giveaway: may be started before your book is published, allowing you to generate a bit of pre-release interest. is open worldwide, allowing you to target readers in any country you believe you have a Read More …

Amazon to pay authors only by the page

Amazon officially announced yesterday that as of 1 July 2015 the Kindle Select Fund will only pay out based on the number of pages in your ebook the consumer reads. Amazon refer to their standard page as the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) based “on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.).” The rationale behind the change was that Select was weighted too heavily in favour of short works: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library paid authors by the download regardless of the length of the book, while Kindle Read More …

Kindle Scout’s potential landmines

LAST UPDATED 9 September 2015 Back in October 2104, when Kindle Scout was first launched, I wrote a blog post of my opinion on the program. I also directed readers to Writer Beware’s post evaluating the program’s contract. Recently, I was approached by a journalist for my current opinion on the program, and the request made me take a look at the contract myself, a contract that was updated just recently, on 3 March 2015. In it I found two items in particular that raised a red flag for me, Read More …

Image handling in ePubs reaches new level of inanity

Placing images into ePubs has always been an issue. At the heart of the problem is the myriad ways that device and app manufacturers have programmed image handling. While Amazon have remained consistent with their sensible shrink-to-fit approach, ePub device and app programmers have been all over the map. And it is only getting worse. So bad, in fact, that I stopped providing conversion services for clients with image-laden ebooks. It’s not that the work is impossible, only that the work involved to optimize and test everything is not worth Read More …

Kindle Unlimited expands again but royalties contract

On February 12th, Amazon announced the expansion of Kindle Unlimited to Canada and Mexico. Four days later, Amazon announced that the KDP Select Fund, which pays out for the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) and Kindle Unlimited (KU), had been bumped up to $8.5 million for January. That the announcements were made four days apart was no accident, since Amazon would prefer that authors not make the link between the expansion of the fund and the need for it to accommodate the expansion of the program to another two countries. Read More …

Sigil is back on track—but for how long?

Last summer when John Schember, Sigil’s lead developer, gave me the bad news that Sigil was dead, I cried. Literally. It’s the only time I have ever cried over the loss of a piece of software. Despite the cessation of development, Sigil was still the best out there for building ePubs, and so, with the threat of Sigil losing its place on Google Code a very real possibility, I asked John if I could host the program on my website. Unfortunately I then ran into the problem of this WordPress Read More …

Recovering U.S. tax withheld at source

As a follow up to my previous post on the KDP/CreateSpace tax interview, I will now answer a question that often arises regarding one’s options for recovering U.S. tax withheld: Can I get any of it back, and if so, how? If you are a non-U.S. author who had tax withheld prior to sorting out your U.S. tax ID, you can apply to the IRS for recovery within three years of the date the tax return was originally due for the tax paid, plus any extensions you may be entitled Read More …

New tax rules for non-U.S. authors on KDP and CreateSpace

[UPDATE May 13, 2016: I’ve been receiving emails from authors who live in countries that do not have a tax treaty with the United States and who want to reduce the withholding tax on their royalties. This is not possible. If your country does not have a tax treaty with the U.S., then by default you forfeit 30% tax to the U.S. government on royalties earned on sales in the States. Your own country likely has a tax credit for taxes paid abroad; if so, you can claim your U.S. Read More …

Why Italy is charging higher VAT on ebooks without an ISBN

In their most recent email reminder regarding changes in VAT in the EU, Amazon added a footnote regarding Italy: that also of January 1st, Italy has implemented new legislation that charges a higher rate of VAT on ebooks that do not have an ISBN. eBooks that do not contain an ISBN are charged 22% VAT, while ebooks with an ISBN are charged a rate of only 4%. Before the indie forums light up with declarations that this is a war on ebooks and/or Amazon or Kobo (where ebooks can be Read More …

Understanding KDP’s new VAT-inclusive pricing, and how to work it to your advantage

Much confusion has reigned over Kindle Direct Publishing’s new VAT-inclusive pricing. Part of the problem lies with Amazon who, in an attempt to explain what an author’s pre-VAT royalty would look like, published a list of the new pricing bands with and without VAT. What this did was create worry that if a consumer from another EU country with a higher ebook VAT bought one’s ebook off, for example, the Amazon.fr site, and the price without VAT fell outside the minimum price to receive the 70% royalty, then the author Read More …