I recently uploaded a large file to Kindle Direct Publishing. The book had a little over 31K words and 150 images. In spite of its size, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) had no trouble converting the .doc to a .mobi. I sold four books and earned a royalty of $0.00.
Trying to maximize my profits, I had chosen to earn a 70% royalty option over the 35% one. In this 70% option the royalty is calculated as follows:
70% Royalty Rate x (List Price – applicable VAT - Delivery Costs) = Royalty
This made sense to me at the time. Who wouldn’t want to earn at the higher rate? Unfortunately, I had failed to understand the importance of the “delivery cost.”
The reason for this was due to the size of the ebook (the Mobi file was approximately 82 MB) and the way the KDP calculates the 70% royalty option:
70% Royalty Rate x (List Price – applicable VAT – Delivery Costs) = Royalty
The delivery costs for my ebook was $6.40. This meant my profit was determined as follows: 70% x ($4.99 – 0 – $6.40) = $0.00.
The KDP Pricing Page explains that the Delivery Costs for a Digital Book is equal to $0.15 multiplied by their determination of the number of megabytes the Digital Book file contains, once uploaded by the author and converted by KDP into their Digital Book format. One megabyte equals 1024 kilobytes. One kilobyte equals 1024 bytes. KDP rounds file sizes up to the nearest kilobyte. The minimum Delivery Cost for a Digital Book is $0.01 regardless of the file size.
In an email response, KDP gave me the following options to guarantee my earning more than $0.00 from the sales of my book, I could either increase the list price to ensure a profit or change to the 35% royalty option which doesn’t charge a delivery cost fee. They never mentioned uploading a smaller file.
To increase my profits, I decreased my file size. First, I compressed the pictures in MS Word. As you can imagine, reducing the resolution made for a smaller file (without sacrificing visual quality), but not enough to make a profit. Though the file was considerably smaller, the delivery fee was still eating up too much of my profits.
I then followed Mark Cokers Deep Cleanse Method to clear out formatting problems and whatever junk MS Word stuck into the file. This time, the KDP converter created a Mobi file that was 32.102 KB while the same file uploaded to Smashwords created a Mobi file that was 5.757 KB. Why was the KDP conversion about six times the size of the Smashword’s one?
Because KDP wants to produce high-quality ebooks on various Kindle reading systems, it creates several versions of the ebook in the Mobi file to support the various devices or apps. Supposedly, KDP uses only the smallest version to calculate the file size. But I was still unhappy.
I decided to use the Smashwords Mobi file. First I opened it with Caliber and saved it as an .epub. Then I edited the publisher’s reference on the copyright page with Sigil. I took this file and converted it back to .mobi with Caliber. I uploaded the new Mobi file to KDP. This book file size after the conversion was 5.95 MB. The delivery cost was $0.89. (A big difference from $6.40!)
Once you’ve uploaded a book to KDP, I recommend checking the Delivery Cost in Step 9: Set Your Pricing and Royalty before publishing the book. If you don’t like what you are being charged for delivering your digital book, make the appropriate changes. Don’t be taken by surprise like I was.
Do you have other ways to maximize your KDP profits? Tell us about it in a comment.