It combines the power of a Lulu.com or a Blurb.com with Amazon retail prowess. It could be a game changer except that the cost per unit remains stubbornly high. As the Petrona blog spells out:
Amazon’s share of each sale is calculated by taking a fixed charge of $3.15 per copy, plus a charge per page ($0.02 or $0.12 per black and white or colour page, respectively), plus a percentage of the list price (30% for sales through Amazon.com). So a 100-page black and white book sold on Amazon with a list price of $25.00 would earn an author a royalty of $12.35 per sale.
If I get that right the author gets about 49.4% and Amazon the rest. For the author that is no bad deal but the 100 page books that sell at that kind of price are few and far between so the sample is a little unrealistic. A 350 page book @ $25.00 on the other hand would result in about $7.45 flowing back to the author but Amazon pocketing about $17.55. But even more realistically that book might sell for $20.00 so it would result in $3.85 for the author and $16.15 for Amazon. It is impressive capture of value on their part to be fair.
The money/success issue
I cannot decide if this is good or bad. I have previously considered the dangers Blurb and the like pose to niche publishers and feel that at that level the act as a more efficient form of self publishing. They draw borderline commercial projects out of the pool. They also ensure that self publishers can publish without getting fleeced but also do take the odd book that a publisher who specialises in limited run could have made money on.
I simply cannot make up my mind of this is big news or not. I think it is because book buyers on Amazon don’t care who published a book so long as they can get it and if there is information and good reviews a self published book is as likely to sell off it as traditionally published one.
Thinking long and hard