Sam Frizell in www.time.com 22 Jan 2015
Amazon announced Thursday that it’s making it possible for authors to create and distribute digital textbooks using its self-publishing tool, Kindle Direct Publishing.
The e-commerce giant expects the new initiative mostly to be used by independent authors, particularly those who have regained the rights to their textbooks, or smaller publishers. The self-published textbooks, Amazon expects, would be purchased and read mostly by higher education students.
“A professor might have an extra packet for their class that they could upload and make digitally available,” says a spokeswoman for Amazon.
Textbook writers will be paid on Amazon’s familiar royalty scheme: for all textbooks priced under $9.99, authors will earn 70% of the royalties. For all textbooks $10 and over, authors receive just 35%. That model helps Amazon encourage authors to price their books under $10. However, it’s unclear whether that model will disadvantage writers of textbooks, which are traditionally much more expensive than your average novel or non-fiction book.