Amazon opens Kindle in Mexico but there’s a downside

Amazon has just announced the opening of Kindle in Mexico, and authors can now set a separate price in pesos. Mexico remains a 35% royalty territory but, as with India, authors who elect to give Amazon exclusivity by way of KDP Select will be paid 70% for sales in Mexico.

This, to me, points to two alarming trends on Amazon. The first is that, in my opinion, the payment of only 35% to authors who do not give Amazon exclusivity amounts to blackmail: give us exclusivity or else.

The second problem is that by opening these new Kindle sites, Amazon get to keep your royalties for a longer period, since now you will have to meet the minimum threshold in Mexican pesos before you will be paid for sales in that jurisdiction; previously, sales in Mexico were included in your U.S. sales because Mexicans had to buy from the U.S. site. It was the same with Amazon Canada: Kindle books were already available to Canadians as we were able to buy them from the U.S. site; Canadian sales were thus converted to U.S. dollars and lumped in with U.S. sales. That meant one did not have to wait until one’s Canadian sales reached the minimum threshold before they were paid out by Amazon. Now, of course, you do.

Since Amazon do not amalgamate royalties, every new currency introduced means longer and longer wait times to be paid. In fact, if you only ever make a few sales in Mexico, you may never get paid for them: Amazon do not pay out at year’s end royalties earned below the threshold. This puts one in a peculiar situation with the tax department, since legally you have to declare those earnings in the year you earned them and pay tax on them even though Amazon have not paid out.

And how convenient for Amazon who earn interest on YOUR money while it sits in Amazon’s accounts. Compare this to Kobo, who do amalgamate sales in multiple currencies and who pay out twice yearly even if your royalties do not meet their minimum.

I think it time that authors looked into the legality of Amazon retaining royalties even after year’s end — because at this rate, authors with low book sales in foreign jurisdictions may never get paid.

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