Amazon launched ACX in 2011 to connect up publishers, authors and producers for unsold audiobook rights. Indie authors have begun to use the program more than the publishing companies and Amazon has tweaked their program a number of times to be more appealing. Today, the company announced they were adjusting the royalties it pays on audiobooks.
When the ACX program first launched, companies like HarperCollins and Random House primarily used it to compliment their eBook strategies with audiobooks. Lots of famous actors loaned out their voice to read novels and producers were earning extra income. A year later self-published authors started to take over the platform and Audible adjusted their strategy to have a wider appeal.
Until now, the royalties paid on audiobooks have been really solid. If you wanted to market it exclusively through Audible you would get paid around 50–90%, if you wanted to sell it outside of Audible you would earn 25–70%. Amazon has now lowered the exclusive rate to 40% and the non-exclusive version to 25%.
Further, a bounty of $50 will be awarded to the royalty earner every time your book is the first purchase of a new AudibleListener. Under the previous program, a $25 bounty was awarded every time your book was one of the first three purchases by a new AudibleListener. In Royalty Share deals, the Rights Holder and Producer will now split the $50 bounty equally.
If you have produced an audiobook in the past, the royalty structure will not change. Authors and Producers will still earn the old amount for audiobooks published before March 11, 2014. The commission adjustment is only applicable for new titles being published, although the bounty rate will change across the board.
Amazon, Audible and ACX have continued to make their platform less appealing to authors as time as gone on. It was not too long ago that the company paid authors an additional $1.00 everytime their book was purchased or downloaded. They did this to draw attention to their platform as a viable way to distribute audiobooks to the masses. This new adjustment to royalties is the latest decrease to revenue earning potential. But really, where else are you going to sell it?
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.