Amazon.com’s top 50 digital best-seller list featured 15 books priced at $5 or less last Wednesday afternoon. Louisville businessman John Locke, for example, a part-time thriller writer whose signature series features a former CIA assassin, claimed seven of those titles, all priced at 99 cents.
According to The Wall Street Journal, as digital sales surge, publishers are casting a worried eye towards the previously scorned self-published market. Unlike five years ago, when self-published writers rarely saw their works on the same shelf as the industry’s biggest names, the low cost of digital publishing, coupled with Twitter and other social-networking tools, has enabled previously unknown writers to make a splash.
“When I saw that highly successful authors were charging $9.99 for an e-book, I thought that if I can make a profit at 99 cents, I no longer have to prove I’m as good as them,” says Locke. “Rather, they have to prove they are ten times better than me.”
Locke earns 35 cents for every title he sells at 99 cents. Amazon pays all authors who use Kindle Direct Publishing, the retailer’s independent publishing service, a royalty rate of 35% on digital titles priced below $2.99, and 70% on e-books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Altogether, Locke says his publishing revenue amounted to $126,000 from Amazon in March alone.
Previously on Burnin’: From A Stack Of Rejection Letters To A New House Paid For In Cash