How to Make Money Publishing Books On Amazon

Posted on Jul 7, 2021

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Written by R.E. Vance

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Making money on Amazon is a relatively straightforward process. Once you’ve done your market research and hit your target audience, it’s really all about the numbers. Thisis the definitive guide on to make money publishing books on Amazon.

(Need some help learning how to do market research and hit the target audience for your genre? Check out our course on how to become a Full-time Fiction Author.)

Kindle ebook sales and Kindle Unlimited page reads are the two top ways authors make their money on Amazon. Here is a simple breakdown of how the process works.

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Kindle eBook Sales

For Kindle ebook sales, there are two royalty rates that Amazon will pay out based on the price you choose to list your ebook. 

Amazon pays out a 35% royalty rate for books priced at $0.01-2.98 or any book over $9.99. However, if you list your Kindle book within the preferred $2.99 – $9.99 range, you’ll earn 70% royalties on all book sales.

Obviously, it pays to play Amazon’s game and keep your price point within their golden zone.

Need a visual breakdown? Check out the table below to see the most common prices points and what you will earn per book sold.

Kindle PriceRoyalty RateIncome Per Book Sale**

* All Kindle ebook prices outside of the $2.99-$9.99 range automatically earn 35% royalty rate unless the book is on a Kindle Countdown deal

**Excluding delivery fee determined by KDP based on file size

Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read

If you choose to enroll your book in Kindle Unlimited (or Kindle Select), you will be introducing another Amazon revenue stream into the mix. There’s only one caveat—you must make your book exclusive to KDP for a 90-day period. 

Many find the benefits are well worth the trade-off. Successful KDP Select authors attribute 50, 60, or even 75% of their income to Kindle Unlimited Page Reads, or KENP Read (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read).

There is definitely money to be made when you become a KDP Select author.

The royalty rate for KENP is based on how many subscribers are enrolled into the Kindle Unlimited program each month. As you’ve probably guessed, that rate changes every month. Yet, historically, the rate doesn’t vary by much. We’re talking percentages of pennies here. 

If you enroll your book in Kindle Select or Kindle Unlimited, your ebook will be evaluated and given a page count, or KENPC (Kindle Enrolled Normalized Page Count). Amazon loves their acronyms.

Here is a simple chart to help show an example of the money you can earn with KENP reads. (Based on the average KENP rate of $0.045 a page.)

Kindle Pages ReadKENP Income Earned
100 page reads$0.45
1,000 page reads$4.50
10,000 page reads$45.00
100,000 page reads$450.00

Enrolling your book in Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited has another perk—special promotions. KDP Select authors can use one of two types of promotions per quarter, every 90 days:

  1. 5 Free Days per period
  2. 7 Kindle Countdown Days per period

Granted, using your free KDP days may not technically make you more money. But you can use free days to give your book some much-needed exposure.

However, the real money-maker comes from the Kindle Countdown Days. During your Kindle Countdown promotion, your $0.99 or $1.99 book will earn 70% royalty rates. That’s right, you can list your book at $0.99 and earn yourself $0.70 per book vs. the $0.35 you would normally earn. 

Of course, this double royalty rate is only good for 7 days per 90-day period. So, use your Kindle Countdown Days wisely.

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What about paperback sales?” Good question!

In an ideal world, paperback sales would earn authors just as much money as ebook sales or KENP reads. However, on Amazon, that’s not typically the case.

Most authors make only a small percentage of their income from paperback sales (0-10%), especially fiction authors. Paperbacks are mostly good for selling to family and friends or at in-person author events.

The reality is that ebook sales have eclipsed paperback book sales, especially on the almighty Amazon. You can thank the Kindle app for this phenomenon. Avid readers can download the app and devour books anywhere, even on their phone. (Guilty!)

That’s good news for authors looking to make money on Amazon. The age of Kindle is still going strong. Now is the time to dive in and start making those ebook sales and get your KENP reads on. 

For more info, check out this super quick video on the topic.

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Heads up!

Disclaimer: This post was written by a best-selling full-time fiction author, who also happens to be one of our amazing book coaches here at Self-Publishing School!

If you’re looking to do more with your book or book idea, like develop it into an income stream, we can help!

Check out the free training below with tips from best-selling author, Chandler Bolt, on how to harness the Amazon algorithm to help get reviews and get over the initial “publish” hurdle, become a trusted voice in the author community, all while selling books!

Already seen the training? Great! Book a call with one of our Publishing Strategists, to see how our coaches and group community can help you reach your author goals!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

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