In a few short months Amazon will no longer have an excuse to charge ebook delivery fees. Now would be a good time to tell them to stop.
Early in 2010 Amazon responded to the imminent launch of iBooks by offering new payment terms to indie authors. Self-published books had been in the Kindle Store since it launched in November 2007, but most of those came by way of the Amazon subsidiary Mobipocket and paid a 35% royalty.
Now anyone who dealt directly with Amazon could earn a 70% royalty on the sale of their ebook, with one caveat.
You could get the 70% royalty minus a delivery fee. Amazon sold ebooks on 3G-equipped Kindles at that point, and unlike regular internet service, 3G bandwidth had a discrete cost which Amazon wanted to recoup. (Similarly, this is why Amazon charged to deliver personal documents to your Kindle over 3G but not over Wifi.)
That delivery fee has made less and less sense over the years as sales of 3G-eqipped Kindles dropped, but Amazon was able to keep the fee so long as they still sold said Kindles. But now that is going to have to change.
News broke last month that Amazon is going to be shutting off 3G service starting in December. This means that owners of 12 year old Kindle DX and Kindle 2 ereaders are finally going to have to upgrade their devices, but it also means that Amazon will no longer have an excuse to charge for delivery of ebooks.
That delivery fee was always about the cost of 3G service (the charges for personal document delivery makes that indisputable), and now that service is going away.
The fee needs to go with it, but that isn’t going to happen until the book publishing industry demands it. Amazon will charge that fee so long as we let them get away with it. Authors, publishers, and trade groups such as the IBPA need to start challenging Amazon on this issue.
It is only through collective pressure that we can make Amazon change its policy.
Who is with me?