Why I’m selling a PDF, but not a Kindle version of my new book

front_cover_verysmall_really.jpgHey all, recently announced my new book, Video Encoding by the Numbers:Eliminate the Guesswork from your Streaming Video, which you can read all about here. The paperback version in full color is available on Amazon for $49.95 here, or you can download a PDF version for $39.95 from a service called Sendowl here.

Why no Kindle version? Because Amazon’s Kindle royalty pricing is a flat out rip off for technical books, which you can see below. I can either opt for a royalty of 35%, which on a $49.95 book is about $17.50. This gives Amazon an obscene profit of about $32. Or, if I price my book at $9.99 or less, I can get 70%, but then I have to pay delivery costs at $0.15 (fifteen cents) a megabyte, at a time when CDN costs are well under $0.10 per GB.

Amazon, of course, is attempting to convince fiction authors to reduce their prices to under $9.99 for Kindle, which is fine when your paperback price is under $20 or so and your title is all text. For a technical book with 40 MB of data, it’s a disaster.


Bottom line is that I think Amazon’s policy here is unfair and I refuse to play. Amazon is generally great to work with, and the combination of Amazon and Lightning Source is awesome for self publishers, but this is one area where Amazon sticks it to technical authors such as myself.

On the other hand, Sendowl lets me offer $10 discount and still make a pretty decent profit on the book, close to twice what I’m getting from Amazon. Since many readers find the PDF version more functional (and certainly easier to carry around) than the paperback version, it’s a win-win for everyone.

So, if you’re a big Kindle reader, I apologize, but now you know the rest of the story.

Buy the book on Amazon ($49.95).


Buy and download PDF ($39.95)

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(Note that a service called SendOwl will handle processing and delivery via PayPal. I know it’s a leap of faith to use a new vendor, but I’ve delivered dozens of books with the service without any problems or complaints. If you try the service, and have a bad experience, please let me know at jozer@mindspring.com)

More about the book. 

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About Jan Ozer

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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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