Amazon Charges Outrageous Prices for Kindle Delivery

Perhaps it’s just me, but something about being a book author often feels like I have a sign on my back that says “Kick Me,” or worse. Maybe it’s that publishers get to hold onto my royalties for 3-6 months, so I can finance their business. Isn’t that special? Or maybe it’s Amazon’s Kindle royalty strategy; I get 70% if the price is under $9.99, but 35% if the price is $10 or more? Thank you sir, may I have another? 

Then I uploaded my most recent book, Mastering Webcam and Smartphone Video: How to Look and Sound Great in Webinars and Videoconferences, to Kindle, and saw the delivery pricing. The book is about 40 MB in size, for which Amazon is charging me $0.95 to deliver (see below). 


Here’s bandwidth pricing for Amazon’s S3 cloud storage, which is three cents a GB ($0.03). 


Let’s do the math together. If you divide the 40 MB book size into 1 GB (or 1,000 MB), you get 25, which means that 25 book downloads equal 1 GB. For that, I’m paying $0.95 x 25, or $23.75. How does that compare to S3 pricing? Divide $23.75 by the lowest price tier of three cents per GB and you get 791 times the per GB charge. So Amazon is marking up their lowest tier bandwidth pricing, for which they obviously make a profit, by about 800%.  

Sound high to you? I’m a writer and I can’t think of an adjective to describe it, but high clearly doesn’t cut it. For example, if you based Amazon’s delivery price on their S3 pricing, Amazon would charge $0.0012 to deliver my book ($0.03/25). I could live with that. 

Obviously, the product managers for the S3 service and Kindle service have very different views of what’s fair and reasonable. Makes perfect sense; the Kindle PM obviously saw the sign on my back.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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