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Amazon has announced it will give a 70 per cent cut of retail price to publishers who make their books Kindle friendly.

The figure is around double what a publisher currently gets, but the deal requires books to be priced at least 20 per cent below the dead-tree edition. Between three and ten dollars, the book must also be compatible with text-to-speech and any other functionality Amazon decides to throw into the Kindle in the future.

Amazon also deducts the cost of delivery, at 15 cents a megabyte, so a typical book will cost (the publisher) about 6 cents to deliver. That means the publisher of a $8.99 book will get $6.25 in pocket, rather more than the $3.15 the same publisher can currently expect.

The new deal will be available for books sold in the USA from June 30th, and only for Kindle titles obviously. But combined with Amazon's Kindle Digital Text Platform - which allows anyone with an e-mail account to sell eBooks for the Kindle - it should generate greater interest in self-publishing and put more titles on the shelf, for better or worse.

Amazon also reckons it will mean a bigger cut for authors, estimating that today an author will get between seven and fifteen per cent of the sale price, or about a quarter of what the publisher sees. But it's worth remembering that the bigger publishers negotiate their own fees with retailers like Amazon, so probably already get more than the listed cut.

Offering such a large bribe for Kindle-friendly content is going to raise eyebrows in the industry, and should certainly ensure that the Kindle platform proves a worthy opponent to Adobe's Digital Editions, even if Amazon produces the only compatible hardware. ®

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