How much do you make per sale when you write a book and publish independently?


My book

As you know, I have written a book called “Increase your refund: Australian tax return tips for employees”. You can check it out here: It was a trying process, but I am very glad that the book has been launched. Now my question is: will it be worth all the time and effort I put in? Also, will it be worth the time my wife Katie, who proofread the book multiple times, has put in?


Options for selling the book

There are a few options for selling an e-book yourself.

You can:

  1. Sell via Amazon
  2. Sell via your own website
  3. Sell via a number of other book distributors


Option 1: Sell via Amazon – Kindle royalty

Positive: Massive marketplace

Amazon has a massive marketplace of people buying books. A number of authors have become the next big thing and made a lot of money just by using Amazon.

Negative: 35% royalty (Amazon keeps 65%)

Amazon pays authors a royalty of 35%. Some authors in the USA get 70%, but Australian authors can only get 35%. So on the sale of a $10 book, Amazon takes $6.50, leaving me with a $3.50 credit due to me (but keep reading).

Negative: $100 minimum payout, 60 day waiting period

Amazon pays out Australian royalties 60 days after you reach $100. The $100 payout figure is also split by different stores. So if you sold a few books in Japan, you would only receive those royalties if you managed to reach $100 from that store. Currently having only one book (written about Australian tax) means it is unlikely I will receive royalties for any overseas purchases.

Result: To be paid the minimum on Amazon, I have to sell 29 books at $9.99 to get paid $100. For cheaper books the minimum payout means even more books – 58 books at $4.99, 96 books at $2.99 or 289 books at 99c.


Option 2: Sell via your own website

Positive: You keep control and get more cash, instantly

Selling through your own website (like means that you know who has purchased your book. While you have to setup a system to get paid and deliver the goods, you get paid a lot more and you get the money instantly. I used PayPal when I sold my book through this website. PayPal charges 2.4% + 30 cents per sale. This means on a $10 book, PayPal takes 54c (24c plus 30c), leaving me with $9.46.

Result: Based on my $10 book, I receive $9.46 or 94.6% into my PayPal account immediately, as opposed to Amazon/Kindle’s standard 35%.

Negative: Your own website and shopping carts

To sell via your own website, in addition to PayPal, you would usually have your own shopping cart. There are a number of shopping carts that charge an amount each month, but given the limited time I planned to have my book for sale as a PDF, I decided to go with PayPal only and manually email readers with the product when PayPal notified me of a sale.


Option 3: Sell via a number of other book distributors

Besides Amazon, there are a number of other book distributors that you can list your book with. Google books, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (US), etc. I decided to exclusively list with Amazon given they have a special authors program called KDP Select. In future, I might list with Smashwords, which also gives you the option to use them to list your books with other booksellers (rather than having to list your book with all these different bookstores yourself).

Positive: Larger market

Trying to get into other booksellers means even more people will be able to see your book.

Negative: More work might not pay off

Listing with multiple booksellers can mean extra work and each might have their own minimum payment thresholds. For me, publishing an Australian-based book means there are probably few Australians (or people interested in Australian tax) looking to buy through Barnes and Noble.


Overall Verdict

Selling through your own website is a lot more profitable and great to reach family and friends initially, however you might be able to reach more people selling through Amazon and other book sellers.

Posted in Business, IT, Making Money

Sign up




Tweet This
SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline