Ensuring royalties are paid on ebooks

The income or revenue you receive from the sale of your books is regarded as royalties. The book’s publisher or distributor generally pays this money to you. So, for instance, you could get a royalty on every book you sell. But in actuality, books have two royalties.

That means the sale of your books offers retail and a net price. So the royalties you receive on the sale of every book depend on the price calculated on your royalties. Let’s understand this with an example.


If you received royalties calculated on the retail sale of your books, you would receive a percentage of the amount of money the book sold. For instance, if you receive a 10% royalty on the retail sales of your book, and your book is retailing for $25, you would receive $2.50 for every book sold. This form of royalties was typically popular in the 1950s until about 2000.

Today, authors are paid net sales royalties. This means the publisher or distributor would take out the production price for every book and pay you a percentage of the net worth of your book.



For instance, if your book sells for $25 and it cost the publisher $12 to publish the book, the book’s net price would be $13. Therefore, if the royalty is 10% of net sales, you could be making approximately $1.30 on every book sold.

Some authors take the self-publishing route to ensure they receive 100% of their retail sales royalties. For instance, several authors opt to sell their books on Amazon. But these self-published authors could make a royalty from 25% to 35% of the retail sale price. This is because Amazon takes out printing and production costs before calculating their royalties.


Ensuring the highest royalties for your books

There are several ways to ensure that you receive the highest royalties for your books. They are:

  • Paperbacks.
    For every paperback book you sell, you can make the most money if you choose to sell the book yourself. For instance, Amazon offers to sell authored copies to authors for practically nil price. Hence, if you purchase your book wholesale from Amazon and sell it in person at a conference, speaking event, or book fairs, you could make the most profits.
  • Ebooks.

The best way of getting the highest royalty for your ebooks is to sell them from your own website.  You are responsible for their marketing however and will have to pay a small amount to the payment processor each time your books are sold.

  • The second best way of getting the highest royalty on your ebooks is to sell them on Amazon. Selling ebooks on Amazon may get you as high as 35% royalty on the retail price of your ebooks. And if you choose to sell your ebook only on Amazon’s Kindle, you could receive a 70% royalty on your ebook’s retail price. That means, if your ebook is retailing on Amazon for $10, you could make seven dollars for every ebook sold.

The problem with selling ebooks

While ebooks offer the highest royalties, there are several online publishing and sharing issues. That means any individual can easily download or share your ebook in just a few clicks without paying a single dime. In addition, each time any online pirate downloads and shares your ebooks without your permission, you lose the cost of the ebook pirated on illegal sites.


And even if you think you are covered by traditional copyright laws, it can be practically useless when it comes to protecting your ebooks since it can be a time-consuming and expensive solution to stopping pirated copies from being sold. The only secure alternative to safeguard your ebooks from unlicensed and unauthorized downloaders is through digital rights management or DRM.

Why you need DRM for your ebooks 

DRM is a proven method of protecting the copyright of your ebooks, enforcing how ebooks can be accessed and used. DRM adds a layer of security to your digital works to prevent unauthorized copying and sharing. With DRM, you can be assured of:

  • Enhanced revenue. When publishing ebooks online, you have the option of offering your readers access to material for free or behind a paywall. If your ebook promotes products or services, you may want to provide a free download for a specific number of pages. But to obtain the entire book, you would like your readers to purchase it. In this regard, DRM protects your copyright and eliminates unauthorized downloads or the copying and sharing of your material, therefore making the purchase necessary. When authorized people pay to download your ebooks with DRM, you hold the key to unlocking your intellectual capital and receiving the royalties you deserve. Therefore, it’s needless to say that DRM benefits you with enhanced revenue.
  • Avoids IPR theft. DRM eliminates the theft of intellectual property rights either intentionally or as an unintentional result. Ebook content cannot be copied, edited, screen grabbed or shared, and watermarks can be dynamically applied to identify users if photographs are made.


Selling ebooks from your website or digital publishing platforms can be a potential source of piracy and loss of revenue.  However, with the added benefit of DRM encryption, you can be assured of receiving what is due to you on your original, creative works, in the form of complete royalties.

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