How are my royalties calculated by Australian eBook Publisher?

This is not financial advice. For a full understanding of sales and royalties please read the terms and conditions set forth by each entity (eg. Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Google Play). Please discuss your unique tax situation with your accountant.


  1. Customer pays sum A to Apple
    A.1 Sales made in US result in 5% withholding tax
    A.2 Sales made in AU result in 10% GST etc.
    Etc. (depending on country of sale)
  2. Working with the pre-GST sale price Apple deducts 30% of sum A and keeps it.
    A.1 Working with the post-GST sale price Apple remits 5% to US tax dept. Apple owes the remainder of the pre-GST sale price (70%) to Australian eBook Publisher.
    A.2 Working with the post-GST sale price Apple remits the 10% GST to Australian eBook Publisher, for Australian eBook Publisher to pay to the ATO (all Australian publishers on Apple iTunes have to be registered for GST). Apple owes the remainder of the pre-GST sale price (70%) to Australian eBook Publisher.
    Etc. with other countries.
  3. Apple pays Australian eBook Publisher regularly (eg. at least once a month) by direct deposit. Earnings from overseas are exchanged into Australian dollars with bank fees deducted. Like any ebook publisher or aggregator, Australian eBook Publisher earns a total amount from each vendor for the sales of many different ebooks in many different marketplaces (territories). This is sum D (AUD).
  4. Australian eBook Publisher’s ebook and book royalties database works out the tax dollars owed to either (a) the ATO or (b) the Client, if they are registered for GST. Then it works out the % owed to each Client based on (i) sales reports from Apple and (ii) the Client's royalty percentage as per the Australian eBook Publisher Aggregator Distribution Contract. The database then uses sum D to work out the exact $ in AUD the Client is owed. When Australian eBook Publisher owes at least AUD$100 to a Client, the Client is paid in the next accounting cycle (quarterly).

The scenario is similar for Amazon, except for the following three major differences:

  1. Amazon's individual marketplaces will pay publishers separately, in their own (Amazon's marketplace's) currency, not in AUD. In contrast Apple conglomerates earnings in the head office of the country of the publisher and then pays out earnings.
  2. GST gathered by Amazon for sales in Australia is not paid to Australian eBook Publisher, therefore is not passed on to the Client. It is our understanding that Amazon pays GST directly to the ATO for book and ebook sales made in Australia, as with other country's taxes.
  3. Amazon offers a less favourable royalty set-up to Apple. Amazon keeps between 30–65% of net of RRP depending on factors like price, territory, book size.
  4. Amazon charges Delivery Costs (download fees) for books on 70% setting (Amazon keeps 30% + at least $0.15 per Mb depending on the territory the ebook is sold in).

Australian eBook Publisher contracts make it clear that it pays out royalties based on the “net receipts”, which is what ends up in the Australian eBook Publisher bank account. It is less exchange fees, bank fees and, in most cases except those outlined above, taxes.

If you wish to tightly control and drill down on your data, please purchase a Publishing Benefits Cost Analysis first.

If you would like us to aggregate your ebook, please contact us.

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