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How long does market-amnesia take to kick in?  Definitely not less than four months, because people are still discussing Brandon Sanderson’s issues with Audible and their treatment of independent (“indie”) authors and the actual royalties they pay us.

Yes, I’m one of them. 

For those of you reading this who don’t know me, I’m Robert Zangari, the younger half of a multi-award winning and best selling father-son co-author team who write epic fantasy adventures.  Michael Kramer has narrated our audiobooks, which are available on Audible, other platforms, and our website.  We’ve handled the production of these books ourselves,and I look at the back end of Audible, otherwise known as ACX, on a frequent basis. This puts me in a unique position to talk about this issue.



Thanks (or no thanks) to Brandon Sanderson’s annual State of the Sanderson in 2022,a tidal wave has rocked the seas of indie authorship.  Brandon has said he’s hoping his actions bring some beneficial change to other authors.  His shining a light on the subject has definitely sent a wave in our direction—but not a good one.

His most recent guest editorial only made more waves, targeting Audible and making the company seem worse than Odium or the Great Lord of the Dark.

Additionally, claims were made in both articles that were fundamentally flawed or blatant lies in the form of emotionally-charged rhetoric.  Those claims need to be addressed by someone who actually deals with the back end of Audible on a daily basis.  Neither Brandon nor his team has published directly to Audible. His guest editorial speaker also hasn’t—he even admits this in his post because of his stance on DRM practices. In his own words, “I have never permitted DRM on any of my works, which means that none of my audiobooks are for sale on Audible.” (Guest Editorial on BrandonSanderson.com, April 6th, 2023)  To be frank, these guys are only giving second-hand information that is causing more harm than good.

So, I’m going to dive in and set the record straight.  If you’re a conscientious consumer, then keep reading.

“I knew things were bad, which is why I wanted to explore other options with the Kickstarter.  But I didn’t know HOW bad.  Indeed, if indie authors don’t agree to be exclusive to Audible, they get dropped from 40% to a measly 25%. Buying an audiobook through Audible instead of from another site literally costs the author money.” (State of the Sanderson, 2022)

When coupled with the statement about the 70% standard rate on most digital products like video games and apps, many people took that claim as, “Wow, 40% really sucks!  That’s a bad deal!  And 25% is even worse!  Audible is the worst place to sell your audiobooks.”

While I don’t disagree that those percentages are not as good as 70%, there’s more to it than what’s on the surface.  First of all, consider the actual dollar amount Audible is paying in comparison to the dollar amount of royalties on other formats such as print and eBook.  For that comparison, you need a baseline understanding of how much a typical indie author makes which means we’re doing math.

I went to school for Bio-medical Engineering, so I like math.

Math doesn’t lie.

While I could use my own books as examples, they’re not typical of what you find in the indie author space. (They’re far too big and cost three times more to produce than my contemporaries’ works).  So I’ll referencea more standard example throughout this article. It isbased on a fictitious fantasy novel of 160,000 words in length, which is about 420 pages and 18 hours of audio narration. In  2023, the typical retail price for a book this size are as follows:

  • $29.99 for a hardcover
  • $19.99 for a paperback
  • $4.99 for an eBook
  • $14.99 for an audiobook (That’s what the average Audible credit costs, and that’s what most people expect to pay nowadays.)

Now, we also need to factor in costs for audiobook creation. The standard rates for a good-to-great narrator is around $10,350 to produce this fictional fiction book.  That’s about $575 a finished hour.  If you want a newer or lesser-known narrator, you’re probably looking at between $250-$400 a finished hour, making a final cost of $4,500 to $7,200.

Other production costs would include a cover and professional editing.  Hiring a cover designer/illustrator ranges from $250 to $4,000.Editing is more standardized with most line and copy editors charging $3 for a manuscript page (which is typically 250 words).  For the example above, the total manuscript pages would be around 640, bringing us to an average $1,920 for a professional line/copy edit.

There are of course other costs associated with publishing in print and eBook.  If you’re distributing through Ingramspark, you’re looking at a $45 upload fee per print edition, from $25-$5 for ISBN’s, and additional costs for printing proof copies, hiring beta readers, and interior formatting.  All of that can add up to a few hundred dollars in addition to editing and cover design. 

All in all, to professionally produce a single fantasy novel would cost $2,500-$4,500, with an upper end cost o faround $6,000-$7,000.

Now with that out of the way, let’s break down the first misconception.

Brick-and-Mortar Pays More


“For a frame of reference, most brick-and-mortar stores take around 50% on a retail product. Audible pays indie authors less than a bookstore does, when a bookstore has storefronts, sales staff, and warehousing to deal with.” (State of the Sanderson 2022)


This is only partially true—but Brandon also forgot to mention the costs an indie author incurs by selling physical books in a bookstore. 

While most bookstores pay 45%-55% to the publisher for a single printed book (what we in the industry call a 55%, 50%, or 45% wholesale discount), there’s still the cost to print/ship the book, which gets us to the actual royalty for a physical book.  Let’s take our previous example of a $19.99 paperback.  If the retailer pays the publisher (or indie author) 55% of that $19.99 price, then the author would receive $10.99.  The average Print on Demand (POD) price for printing that 420-pagebook is around $7.20.

That gives the author an actual royalty of about $3.79 with a royalty percentage of 18.95%.  If you have a 50% deal, that would be $2.79 or a 13.95% rate.  Most likely, the retailer will want to give 45% to the author, as most every major bookstore will want a 55% wholesale discount to even carry your book (that’s how we get 45%), resulting in a $1.80 royalty or a 9% royalty rate.  Granted, the major bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Amazon will still carry your book even if you set the wholesale discount to 35%.

Selling on consignment (or if you’re selling at a book signing) yields an even lower royalty because of the added shipping costs for the author to inventory their books.  If you’re printing 100+units, you can expect to pay an extra $1~ per book; sothe actual royalty for receiving 55%is about $2.79 with a royalty percentage of 13.96%.  If you have a 50% deal, you’re looking at $1.79 or a 9% royalty rate.  And for that typical 45% (the average 55% wholesale discount), the author will receive an $0.80 royalty or a 4% royalty rate.

Well, what about a hardcover edition?  Is that any different?

Not many indie authors produce hardcover editions right out the gate, but there are some of us who do.

If a retailer is paying 55% then the author or publisher would expect to receive $16.49 minus the cost of printing which at POD pricing is around $11.43 for a 420-page book.  That gives us the following royalties: $5.06 at 16.87% and $4.06 when selling on consignment at 13.35%.

For 50% you’d receive $15with the final numbers being: a $3.56 royalty at 11.87%, and $2.56 for a consignmentroyalty at 8.54%.

Lastly, for that typical 45%, you’re looking at receiving $13.50 with an actual royalty of $2.07 at 6.90%, and $1.07 for a consignmentroyalty at 3.57%.

Uh, none of those percentages look higher than 40%, unless we’re somehow playing golf…  Sorry, retailers DO NOT pay more to an indie author for their physical products than Audible does for their audiobooks—not dollar wise nor percentage wise. 

Perhaps if we were looking at selling print copies with large print runs, but very few indie authors can afford that method’s cost of entry; it’smuch higher than getting an audiobook produced.  Even then, we’re still paying around $4-$5 to produce a 420-page paperback book, yielding a payout between $7 and $6, resulting in 35% royalty.  But then you have to factor in the distribution costs and warehousing, which will bring that amount down.


Audible really Pays 21%

“The company advertises a 40% royalty for exclusive titles; the true rate is 21%. For nonexclusive titles, Audible promises 25%, but really pays 13%.” (Guest Editorial on BrandonSanderson.com, April 6th, 2023)


I’m sorry, this is a blatant lie.  I’d use colorful metaphors in that last sentence, but I want you to keep reading.

Audible pays its respective royalties on the amount the customer pays.  In the thousands of units I’ve sold on Audible, never once have they paid below 40% during my exclusivity contract. More yes. Lower, no.  “Wait, they paid you more?” you’re wondering.  Yes, I’ll get to that in a moment.  Oh, and the base royalty isn’t 40%.

It’s 41.56%.

Nowhere in ACX’s contract does it say they will pay you based on the “retail value.”  If the author/publisher actually reads the contract, they would know this.

When a customer pays the $29.99 retail price for an audiobook, then the royalty would be $11.98 and listed as an ALC unit (a la carte).  I’ve seen a few of those royalty amounts throughout the years, but they’re very few and far between.  They account for maybe 1% of mine and my father’s overall audiobook royalties.  Most of our customers purchase with a credit, which costs as much as $14.99 and as low as $9.99.

When I first started selling audiobooks, I picked through our royalty reports, hoping to figure out the exact dollar amount we were getting for credit purchases.  To my surprise, the answer was simpler than I expected.

For purchases in the US Audible store, we received a royalty of $6.23 per credit purchase.  Now, I know that several credit purchases were made with the discounted $11.98 credits, but I didn’t see a $4.79 royalty, nor have I ever seen a $4.79 royalty on a US Audible credit.  In the three years I’ve been tracking my sales, every single US Audible credit generated a royalty of $6.23.

The 21% in this lie is derived from taking that $6.23 royalty and dividing it by $29.99 (the suggested retail price).  It comes out to 20.77%, but I’m sure they rounded up for convenience.  I’ve read and commented on the article by Colleen Cross which originally cites these numbers, and the way the math is presented is flat out wrong.  There is no “shortage” of royalty when Audible never collected that amount in the first place.

Audible does not have one hundred million dollars of “shortage” sitting in their accounts.  If such a discrepancy was true, wouldn’t all of us publishing through Audible be talking about it?  Or better yet, mounting a lawsuit?

So, back to our previous section: Is $3.79 or $5.06 more of a profit than $6.23?  I’ll let you answer that.

Here is a table of dollar amounts the customer pays, what Audible pays in the US store, and the royalty percentage.


Payment Type

Consumer Payment

Actual Royalty

Royalty Rate (percentage)

Retail Price





Member Retail Price





Credit Price





Double Credit Subscription Price





Three Credit Sales Deal





Whisperysnc Price

$7.49 (max) $2.49 (min)




Whenever people buy credits in bulk, Audible pays the same dollar amount, $6.23.  So, if you’re encouraging readers to purchase credits at discounts, you’re technically making a higher royalty rate.

This is why I say percentages aren’t as important as actual dollar amounts. (I’ve said that several times whenever I’m engaged with this argument on social media.)  Sure, you need to know some percentages to get to that dollar amount, but at the end of the day that dollar value is what matters.


Other Distribution Options… options we can’t get

In my interactions with other indie authors on this subject, many have claimed that Brandon is only taking offers available to the rest of us.  That simply isn’t true.

Brandon’s deal with Spotify is under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), which means he’s not getting what the rest of us can get on Spotify.  If he was, he wouldn’t have an NDA cloaking his royalty rate.

“I found two companies only—in all of the deals I investigated—who are willing to take on Audible. Spotify and Speechify. My Spotify deal is, unfortunately, locked behind an NDA (as is common with these kinds of deals). All I can say is that they treated me well, and I’m happy.”

Concerning Speechify he said, “He [Speechify’s owner] considered that, then said he’d be willing to do industry standard—70%—for any author who lists their books directly on Speechify a la carte. So I told him I wanted that deal, if he agreed to let me make the terms of our deal public. ”(State of the Sanderson, 2022).

I’ve not found any truly indie audiobooks on Speechify—that is concerning to me.  Trying to find a way to get audiobooks listed with them is nigh impossible.  No aggregators (like Findaway Voices) distribute to them.  You can’t upload directly to them, either.  Whatever barrier Brandon traversed, we indies can’t follow.

The only audiobooks available on Speechify are from traditional publishers, like Macmillan or Simon & Shuster.  I’ve reached out to the people at Speechify multiple times and haven’t received a response except the base customer service reply.

Now back to Spotify. 

If an indie author wants to list their audiobooks on Spotify, they must go through Findaway Voices (which was recently acquired by Spotify).  Findaway Voices is an aggregator (someone who acts like a distributor for digital products), and they boast an 80% royalty on all earnings theyreceive from the retailer.

Remember when Brandon commented on the indie landscape and inferred that Audible’s 40% royalty was bad?  What was the number he cited for typical digital product royalties? 70%.

According to Findaway’s royalty table, Spotify pays 50% on audiobooks sold through their store.  That sounds better than 40%, right?  Wrong.  80% of 50% is…

Drum roll please.


So, one of the companies Brandon believes has the most chance of taking on Audible is paying authors the same amount as Audible.

But wasn’t 40% supposed to be “bad” for us indie authors?  Or was it bad because Audible was offering it?


No, that’s because there was an NDA involved.  40% is still a bad deal, so bad that a behind-the-scenes contract had to be made and cloaked with an NDA.  Does that sound like something everyone can get?  How does that help other authors?  Will Spotify see that Brandon’s brought a significant audience to the platform, and then… then start paying the rest of us more?


It’s insane to even think that, let alone believe that’s a possibility.  That’s not how corporations work.

If anything, there might be a slight increase in organic traffic, where some fantasy listeners start buying through Spotify, but that’s not likely to happen for a very long time.  And the effects of that sort of thing will be so minuscule that we indies will barely even notice.

These alternatives don’t help us indie authors at all.  We can’t take advantage of those opportunities.  It’s like asking Egwene and Lan to race from the Stone of Tear to Seanchan and saying neither can use a boat, but Traveling is just fine.  Only one of them is going to win that race.


Did Sanderson call for a Boycott on Audible/Amazon?

Not directly. 

“Again, I like the people at Audible. I like a lot about Audible. I don’t want to go to war—but I do have to call them out.” (State of the Sanderson, 2022).

But many of his fans took this statement as a rallying call against Audible, to label them as the bad guy, to stop buying there and to return any books they could.  They essentially turned into Masema and the dragonsworn.

Boycotting Audible is probably the worst thing you as a reader can do.

Since the State of the Sanderson, my father and I have seen a 60% drop in our overall sales and a 75% drop on Audible alone; all in all, it’s about a 70% loss in revenue.  Our returns also spiked from Christmas to New Year’s.  What would have been a typically average month (about 150 audio books sold) was reduced to a whopping42—and while I wish this would have been the answer to everything, it wasn’t.  January and February were not any better.  We went from 5-10 audiobooks a day on Audible to maybe one or two.

We’ve never seen Audible numbers this low, and I firmly believe it is a result of the Sandersonsworn’s reaction to the State of the Sanderson.  Our numbers were fine up until December 21st, and the only major market change was that email.

Royalty Report from December 2022

Mine and my father’s audience share a great deal of overlap with Sanderson’s. Often Brandon is the number one “also bought” for us on Amazon.  We have similar covers, we have the same narrator, and we write similarly long books.  So, it’s no wonder that when a tidal wave like this happens, we’re the first to get hit, and the first to suffer the consequences.

Other indie fantasy authors I know have also struggled this past quarter.  Most are seeing about a 50% drop in revenue in their retail sales, particularly Amazon/Audible.

Then there’s the aspect of the royalty share; if you boycott Audible, some of your favorite narrators are being shorted for their work.  Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are among those who have turned to Audible’s royalty share model because it can earn them more money in the long run.  Kate explains this on their website, and I’d encourage you to give it a read: https://www.katereadingaudiobooks.com/get-the-facts.

Narrators don’t typically get royalties, and Audible isn’t the reason why.


Audible, the Lord Ruler

“Audible runs this town, and they set the rates. For everyone. Everywhere.” (State of the Sanderson, 2022).

Did you know that in the early days of Audible they were paying up to 90%  to indies for audiobooks?

Even up to a few years ago, they were still paying more than 40% for exclusive titles.  At the time my father and I first published our audiobooks, Audible had a bonus scaler that would increase your royalty rate based on the volume of books sold in a one-month reporting period.  This bonus was available to both traditional publishers and small-time authors.

The scaler started at 100 units. This meant if you were selling a few hundred audiobooks a month, you received around a 45% to 50% royalty rate.  This was in effect up until a year after the COVID-19 pandemic started. 

So what happened to this bonus?  Who knows?

Do traditional publishers still get this scaler?  My guess would be yes, but I don’t know for certain.

Which brings me to my next point: Is Audible really the one running the town of audiobook publishing?

I’ve done some digging on royalty rates with authors signed to traditional publishing houses, and many of the mid-list authors are earning 25% royalties on digital sales (eBook and Audiobook).  From what little I’ve gleaned, that’s 25% on the retail price (or what the customer pays), and these are for non-exclusive titles to Audible.

That’s the entire royalty rate for a non-exclusive title.  That doesn’t add up…

A traditional publisher would want to make at least what they’re paying their authors, if not more, meaning that they would need to receive at leasta 50% payout for a non-exclusive audiobook sold on Audible.  That’s not even feasible with the existing royalty model.

My gut tells me there’s something else going on—something that we’re not seeing on the outside.  But it reminds me of a decades old issue with other retailers.

In the early 2000s to the mid 2010s, it was extremely hard for indie authors to get into bookstores, particularly Barnes & Noble.  It wasn’t until I started my mentorship under David Farland that I learned there was a very good reason for that.  Traditional publishing houses had made deals with the retailer that would prioritize carrying their titles over any indie author.  If the retailer didn’t comply, the publishing house would stop distributing to them.  Is the same thing happening at Audible?  Barnes & Noble has since circumvented this by launching their own self-publishing arm—but Indie authors still have to jump through hoops to get their books carried in a physical store. 

I suspect that Audible is not the entire problem here.  Traditional publishers and secret deals, deals cloaked by NDAs, also contribute to the problem.  We will most likely never know what rates traditional publishers are actually getting until someone from the inside blows a whistle.  But I suspect it’s close to or around 70%.

Well, what about every other retailer?

As of this article, most other places are paying 40% to 25% depending on the model of payout. Audible’s competitors have seen what their rival has done and just copied and pasted.

It seems like Speechify could do better, especially if they offer 70% to everyone—indie and traditional publishers alike.  But trying to upload your audiobooks to their platform is difficult.  If anyone from Speechify is reading this, please build an accessible backend for us indie authors.  We’d gladly come join your platform.

The other downside to these competitors is the shorter reach they have when compared to Audible.

Since our sales have dropped, my father and I have decided to take our audiobooks wide.  Unfortunately, what little sales we’ve had don’t even come close to matching what we’ve lost through Audible.



In October of 2020, there was a glitch that showed a new column in ACX’s dashboard.  I remember seeing this, as we had a total of 15 sales for the day but 10 returns.  That jived with our average of 5-10 sales a day, and the next day we had 6 or 7 sales, but the returns column vanished.

You’re probably aware of how some Audible users were abusing the return system.  I won’t belabor this point, but essentially Audible was treated as a library.

Audible somewhat rectified this issue with their new terms of service released in January 2021.  It reduced the return window from 365 days to 7 days and 2 listen-throughs to 10%.  They also implemented the Qualified Returns column in the dashboard.  So if a listener wanted to return the book after those 7 days or after listening to 11%, then Audible would still count that as a sale for the author, and the company would eat the cost of the return.

Now another lie needs to be set straight: Sanderson’s guest editorial claimed Audible would ask listeners if they wanted to return the book they just finished.  I’ve listenedto over a hundred books in my Audible library, and I’ve never once seen that prompt.  Asked to leave a rating and a review, yes; but never a return.

Sure, they’re both six letter R-words, but c’mon—you can’t misinterpret review as return.

It’s outlandish claims like that which irk me.  Just because Audible did some bad things doesn’t give anyone licensure to invent allegations to further a maligned narrative.

People like the writer of that article have only taken the Audiblegate incident and blown it out of proportion with erroneous claims to try and push their agenda.  That needs to stop. I find it highly irresponsible that Brandon allowed such claims onto his platform.

I understand that the point of the guest editorial was to [drive a point] of supporting authors directly via Kickstarter or other ways.  But when you use emotionally charged rhetoric with fictitious claims, you’re only causing more harm and planting the seeds of distrust between authors and readers.  If we are to make any changes, it’s with facts—none of which I saw in that guest editorial.

If you lie to consumers to try and get them to change their habits or switch to a different platform, they will revert when they discover the truth.


Digital Rights Management (DRM)

While I don’t disagree with the notion that DRM is harmful and restrictive, I don’t agree with the way it was presented in the guest editorial.  It’s misleading—that’s not how we as authors should be educating our readership.

I’ve never used DRM on my eBooks, but I have with my audiobooks because I sell on Audible—although I’ve offered non-audible editions in the form of mp3’s before I sign my exclusive contract.  I always offer my readers DRM-free versions of my digital editions before I launch on retail platforms. 

As a consumer, I like the ability to move my digital products from device to device, so I try to offer that as much as possible to my readers.  That’s why I release my books first through Kickstarter, delivering eBooks and audiobooks via BookFunnel.  My first audiobook I gave to Kickstarter backers in mp3 format delivered through Dropbox, but that became too unwieldy.  I’ve pivoted toward BookFunnel as my main delivery system. It has some great automation and a digital watermarking feature instead of DRM (so you can see where pirated copies are coming from).BookFunnel also has wonderful customer support, their app is pretty good, and you can move your files to your preferred eReader.


Indie Royalties

Now that my concerns/rebuttals have been voiced, let’s get to the heart of the matter.  What is fair compensation for authors who decide to handle the entire publishing process?

I think the current rates for print are pretty fair and will only improve if POD printers can somehow lower their prices—but that’s another problem altogether.

But for digital, you’re probably thinking 70%.  After all, that’s what Brandon said was the standard, right?

I disagree.

It should be higher, more like 90%.  After all, digital sales on a retailer are just a file hosting service.

Are there any major platforms that offer this?  Yes.  Kickstarter.  But they’re more a halfway point between retailer and selling direct, and it’s time sensitive.  It’s not a feasible option for long-term selling.  But it still has its place in the publishing process.

Over 90% (between 90%-92%) of the money raised on a Kickstarter campaign is paid to the creator.  Of course, there are other costs associated with publishing that lower that percentage, but it’s by far the best way to go next to selling directly to readers.

Let’s look again at the current retail landscape.

We’ve established that physical book royalties are between $0.80 and $3.79 (4%-18%).  Audible is paying $4.10 for non-exclusive titles and $6.23 for exclusive audiobooks (25%-40%). Most other retailers are doing about the same.  Lastly, the eBook averages $3.49 (or 70%).

Those are all about the same payout per edition.

Many would argue that Audible’s rate needs to be higher because of the additional costs to produce the audiobook.  While that is somewhat true, there are still the costs associated with producing the print and eBook editions.

Let’s take a look at those production numbers.  At a 25% rate for audiobooks, it would take 2,524 listeners to break even with the audiobook that costs $10,350, and, for exclusive titles, it would be 1,661.  For our lower cost narrators, you’re looking at 1,097 to 1,756 listeners at the 25% rate and 722 to 1,155 listeners for an exclusive title.

For just the print and eBook editions (rounding this down to $3 to average out the varying costs), it would take 833 to 2,333 readers to break even, depending on how much is spent on the cover.

That gap isn’t as disparaging as many make it out to be.  In fact, if you have readers buying a print or ebook alongside the audiobook, your listening audience doesn’t have to be that much bigger than your reading audience.  Granted there are other issues like advertising to factor in, but there are so many variables in ad strategy that we could spend a whole article looking at the various numbers.

Now if we contrast this to Kickstarter, you would need the following amount of backers to cover the production costs.

  • 619 backers at an average of $56 pledge for a $17,350 budget.
  • 229 backers at an average of $56 pledge for a $12,350 budget.

You might be thinking the math is off, but I always build my Kickstarters so that half of the money raised is going to fulfillment and the other half is going to production costs.  All in all, my Kickstarters earn about 65% of the final number you see on the campaign page.  So, for the examples above I’m just doubling the budget and dividing by the average backer pledge.

So, if you’ve already covered the cost of producing the audiobook, do you still need a higher rate on Audible?

Now if you’ve read this far and you still despise Audible/Amazon, then I’d urge you to consider changing your buying habits and purchasing directly from your favorite authors.  Most have their own web stores, especially if they’re indie authors.  We indies know the value of selling directly to our readers, and we’re making on average 97% on our digital products and a true 50% or more on our physical editions.

In the past three months, my father and I have turned our focus to selling direct to offset the losses incurred by our drop in Audible sales.  Many of us are finding that we have to pivot to direct sales to weather this tidal wave.Granted, we earn more per sale, but it’s a lot more work.  The more work an indie author has to do the less writing we get done.  We don’t have large teams to help us handle this.  My father and I are lucky that we have the two of us, but many indies are going it alone.

I do not think this was a situation Brandon considered when he published the State of the Sanderson—if he had, I hope he would have gone a different direction or offered his readers some solutions on how to best support other authors.  It feels like we were left high and dry on the shores of authorship, trying to salvage a mess we didn’t ask for or want.


In conclusion…

In the current landscape, every other edition yields about $3, while audio yields $4-$6.  If you look at the dollar amounts, 40% audiobooks yield the most—unless you’re charging $9.99 for your eBooks and setting your print’s wholesale discount to 35%, then the dollar amounts will probably be about even.


Let’s look at those retail earnings again:

  • Hardcover: $1.07 to $5.06
  • Paperback$0.80 to $3.79
  • eBook: $3.49
  • Audiobook $4.10 to $6.23


Now contrast that with Kickstarter earnings (taking into account a “royalty” of 92% on every dollar earned and subtracting the fulfillment for printing).

  • Hardcover: $15.17
  • Paperback $10.20
  • eBook: $4.60
  • Audiobook $13.80


And lastly a comparison to selling direct:

  • Hardcover: $16.81
  • Paperback $12.29
  • eBook: $4.86
  • Audiobook $14.62


Buying direct supports your favorite authors the most.


I strongly encourage every reader to sign up for BookFunnel and download their app, create a Kickstarter account and install their app, and start looking to buy directly from authors.


If you want DRM-free digital content that benefits your favorite authors the most and gives you a potential discount, then buy direct—whether that is through Kickstarter or through an author’s personal website.  If your preferred authors aren’t selling direct, drop them a line and encourage them to look into it.  Most traditionally published authors probably won’t budge from their current methods of garnering royalties, but it’s worth the mention.


Now there are other issues concerning Audible, such as only US authors/publishers can upload to them, their Audible specific stores are only in select countries (yes, they export audiobooks to iTunes which is quite globalized), etc.


Audible isn’t perfect.  But it’s still good for those of us who can leverage it in our indie author careers.  Many listeners don’t view using a credit as spending money, so they’re more willing to take a chance on new authors.  There are a lot of organic sales happening on Audible, especially if you have a narrator that listeners follow.  Much of our readership has come from people finding us on Audible. 


Forcing a change, which is currently encouraged by voting with your money, will first hurt the small guys before the corporation.  Individuals with an established platform need to be conscious of this, and, if you’re going to do something by example, do something that EVERYONE can do. Rather than boycotting Audible, we should be encouraging readers to go to authors and buy direct. Other platforms are still big business; they are just a different big business.


If you found this articling informative and would like to support us, please consider purchasing digital copies from our website www.legendsofkalda.com or take advantage of this special audiobook deal where you can buy 70 hours of Michael Kramer reading three of our fantasy books for the low price of $14.99.



Thank you for reading.


Robert Zangari

Robert Zangari is the co-author of the various books which belong to the Legends of Kalda universe. He studied Bio-Medical Engineering at the University of Utah; however, his love for stories and storytelling took him down a different career path. When he’s not writing he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters, playing video games, practicing martial arts and immersing himself in a good story

Dan and Robert have won multiple awards for their novel, A Prince’s Errand: the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Awards in the OZMA (Fantasy) division, the 2020 Global Ebook Awards for Fantasy, the 2020 International Book Awards for Fantasy, the 2020 American Fiction Awards for Fantasy, the 2020 Best Book Awards for Fantasy, and the 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for Science Fiction/Fantasy.