Jeff Bezos Talks Publishing Royalties with Shareholders

By Jason Boog Comment

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos released his annual letter to shareholders this week, reminding them that “we want to make money when people use our devices – not when people buy our devices.”

Click here to download a PDF copy of the letter. While the letter focused on the overall business, he mentioned publishing a few times–taking time to mention royalty changes for authors.

Amazon Publishing has just announced it will start paying authors their royalties monthly, sixty days in arrears. The industry standard is twice a year, and that has been the standard for a long time. Yet when we interview authors as customers, infrequent payment is a major dissatisfier. Imagine how you’d like it if you were paid twice a year. There isn’t competitive pressure to pay authors more than once every six months, but we’re proactively doing so.

Bezos followed up by reminding shareholders that the Kindle eReaders have cornered the beach reading market:

By the way – though the research was taxing, I struggled through and am happy to report that I recently saw many Kindles in use at a Florida beach. There are five generations of Kindle, and I believe I saw every generation in use except for the first. Our business approach is to sell premium hardware at roughly breakeven prices. We want to make money when people use our devices – not when people buy our devices. We think this aligns us better with customers. For example, we don’t need our customers to be on the upgrade treadmill. We can be very happy to see people still using four-year-old Kindles!