Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s annual letter to shareholders is always a must-read and this year he discusses, among other things, the role of a handstand coach, the fact that Amazon Prime now has more than 100 million members and also reveals (almost in passing) that more than 1,000 independent authors earned over $100,000 through Kindle Direct Publishing in 2017 — that’s $100 million and counting.
It’s not that surprising, as way back in 2014/15, Author Earnings discovered that not only were hundreds of best-selling indie authors making $100K a year through KDP, but there were also several thousand indies firmly in the midlist bracket for earnings, taking between $25,000-$50,000 a year through KDP.
However, it’s good news to get it confirmed straight from the horse’s mouth that indie publishing is continuing to grow strongly and thrive.
Kindle Unlimited has proved to be quite a moneyspinner for many indie authors, particularly those who qualify for the All-Stars bonuses. The KDP Select Global fund shelled out over $222 million in 2017 to indie authors and each month Amazon also pays out well over $650,000 in All-Star bonuses. The 10 top authors on Kindle Unlimited pick up $25,000 each month while the authors in places 11-20 get $10,000 apiece.
The letter also reveals that Amazon Prime now has over 100 million members worldwide and that’s the first time that Prime numbers have been disclosed by Amazon. Last year, some independent estimates reckoned total Prime membership was somewhere between 65 million and 80 million.
Prime costs $99 a year on an annual plan, so simply multiplying $99 by 100 million gives the staggering total of $9.9 billion, so Amazon is basically pulling in around $10 billion a year just through Prime membership.