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Self Publishing Royalty Rates

You Worked Hard to Write Your Book - You Deserve to Reap the Rewards!

Royalty Rates

Understanding Your Royalty Rates

Royalties is just a fancy word for profits. It's the money that's left for the author after a book is sold and all the associated costs of things like printing, shipping, a share to the retailer, etc. have been subtracted from the retail price. With a traditional publisher (and unfortunately most self-publishers), that profit gets shared between the author and the publisher with the publisher keeping the majority of the profits. At Xulon Press, we think the old way of doing business is wrong. You did most of the work! Why should your publisher keep most of the profits?

How to Calculate Your Royalty

(Examples below are based on a $15.99 retail priced book)

In its simplest form royalties are calculated as follows:

Retail Price minus Retailer Charges minus Production Costs equals Royalty (or Net Profit).

  • Production costs include things like printing, shipping, taxes, etc. These costs vary widely depending on things like order volume, page count, hardcover versus paperback, etc.
  • Retailer charges are the portion of the sale that the booksellers keep to cover their costs and make a profit. What's left is the profit that the author shares with their publisher (Remember, with Xulon Press the publisher's share is 0% for 3rd party direct sales.)

What does that mean for you in actual dollars? Below is an example based on an average book retailing for $15.99 with an average production cost of $3.90.

3rd Party Retailers

So, what does Xulon Press pay? We are one of very few publishers who pay 100% of the net profits on all books sold through 3rd party retailers like Family Christian Stores, Lifeway, and Barnes & Noble, etc. Retailers typically keep about 55% of the retail price. Once you subtract the cost of printing, shipping and the share the retailer keeps, the rest is yours. We keep NOTHING so you earn as much as possible from your work!

The first step in calculating your profit on a 3rd party retail sale is to subtract retailer charges. On average 3rd party retailers keep 55% of the retail price of a book. The retailer charges on a $15.99 book would be $8.79 so that leaves $7.20.

The second step is to subtract the production costs. Our example $15.99 book costs $3.90 to produce so that leaves $3.30 in profits from our $15.99 book. Since Xulon Press pays you 100% of the profit on 3rd party direct sales, that $3.30 goes directly to you. Here's how this is calculated:

15.99    Retail Price
- 8.79    55% Retailer Charge
- 3.90    Production Cost
$3.30    100% royalty

Note: The average 55% is taken from the suggested retail price.

Xulon Retail

You have an opportunity to earn an even higher profit when your book sells through Xulon Press retail channels. We'll sell your book on our online bookstore, our toll-free order line, through our book sales representatives and our eBook service.

When we sell your book we only charge 25% versus the typical 55% paid to 3rd party retailers. This means you earn even more for every book sold. In fact, your profits on books we sell are usually more than DOUBLE that of books sold via 3rd party retailers!

Note: The 25% is taken from the adjusted retail price after discounts, production costs and fees not the suggested retail price.

Online Bookstore

When an order is placed through our online bookstore or Google book search, the royalties paid to you are calculated as follows:

The retail price of $15.99 less the production cost of $3.90 and the shopping cart admin fee of $2.50 is $9.59. Calculate the 25% direct retail channel charge on the $9.59, which comes to $2.40. So the royalty calculation for this order would be as follows:

$15.99    Retail Price
- 3.90    Production Cost
- 2.50    Shopping Cart Admin Fee
- 2.40    Xulon Press 25% Retail Charge
$7.19    Royalty

eBook Royalties

There is no print cost on eBooks and the eBook retail charges vary widely. eBook retailers keep 30% to 70% of the cost of the eBook retail price.

Xulon Press handles uploading your eBook to major retailer sites such as:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Barnes & Noble Nook
  • Apple iPad, iPhone

Your retail price for eBook is half of the paperback retail price rounded to the next $0.99 and not to exceed $9.99. As an example a $15.99 paperback book sells as an eBook for $7.99

We will use Amazon Kindle as our example below sold at their 30% retail charge:

$7.99    eBook Retail Price
- .05    Amazon Kindle's Delivery Charge
- 2.38    Amazon Kindle 30% Retail Charge
- 1.39    25% Xulon Press

Retail charges by eRetailers are as follows:

Amazon Kindle - 30% to 65%
Barnes & Noble - 35%
Apple - 30% to 70%
Google - 48%
Sony - 50%

Note: Amazon's Kindle 70% royalty option is only available for sales in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. Sales outside of these countries receive 35% royalty. Barnes & Noble and Google currently distribute only in the United States. eRetailer's retail charges are subject to change.

Royalty Payments

If all of this seems overwhelming, don't worry. The great news about tracking book sales and royalties is we do all the work. We get reports from all the distributors, bookstores, website and other retailers that are carrying your book. You'll get an easy to read online statement that shows exactly how many copies sold, when they sold and what your net profit is. We now offer monthly online statements and quarterly payments so you can keep track of what's happening with your book and how much you're earning. We also have Author Representatives available to help with any questions that you may have.


Still have questions about royalties? Call us at 866-381-BOOK (2665). We would be happy to help.

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