Kobo to pay double Amazon royalty rate on higher-priced ebooks

Kobo is raising the minimum price for an ebook to qualify for 70% royalties from $1.99 to $2.99 and has dropped the upper range limit, in effect, doubling the royalty offered by Amazon’s Kindle on higher-priced ebooks.

The change represents a 50% increase as, previously, to qualify for 70% payments, an ebook on Kobo Writing Life had to be priced between $1.99-$12.99, with the royalty dropping to 45% for ebooks outside that range.

Amazon pays 70% royalties on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99 and 35% outside that range.

The Kobo changes take effect from October 17 and the company claims “these revisions will help you to increase your unit sales and earnings”.

It looks like a move that could attract a new wave of authors to Kobo. Although Kobo previously offered a wider price range than Amazon to qualify for 70% payments, scrapping the upper limit will be welcomed by niche publishers who feel their ebooks merit a higher price.

The minimum prices internationally to qualify for 70% ebook royalties from Kobo are:

  • £2.99 in the UK (previously £1.99-£7.99)

  • $2.99 CAD in Canada (previously $1.99-$12.99)

  • $2.99 AUD in Australia (previously $1.99-$11.99)

  • €2.99  in the European Union (previously €1.99-€12.99)

  • $2.99 NZD in New Zealand (previously $1.99-$12.99)

  • $15.99 HKD in Hong Kong (previously $15.99-$99.99)

  • ¥80 in Japan (previously ¥80-¥1,040)

Other conditions include:

  • The ebook price must be at at least 20% below the SRP of the physical edition of the book, if one is available.

  • The SRP for ebooks provided must also be less than or equal to the lowest price provided by the publisher to any third party.

  • Ebooks must be made available to Kobo for sale in every geographic location within which the publisher has intellectual property rights.

Public domain ebooks are paid royalties at a standard rate of 20% by Kobo.