We don’t normally have posts with such newsy, matter-of-fact headlines on this blog, but last night Amazon KDP announced something important and I wanted to make sure you all know about it, although if you’re a KDP author and this affects you, you should have received the same e-mail I did. It’s bye-bye to foreign currency cheques and hello electronic funds transfer because KDP is now offering to pay all royalties, be they dollars, pounds or euros, into your European bank account.
Up until now, I got three different payments from KDP each month: a US dollar cheque for sales from Amazon.com and a British pound cheque for sales from Amazon.co.uk, and royalties from Amazon.de sales (which were minimal; I think my best month ever there was €50) were paid directly into my bank because, being in Ireland, my bank account and Germany shared the same currency, the Euro.
Now I never really minded getting cheques, because I always thought it was wondrous thing that Amazon would allow me to sell my books on their Kindle stores and promptly pay me once a month to in the first place, and so I didn’t especially care how the money arrived. But I’ve been getting these cheques for three years now, and they do have their disadvantages. With one of them coming all the way across the Atlantic, they can take a while to arrive, and once, one got lost. (It was quickly cancelled and replaced by Amazon.) When I lodge them in my bank, it’s a bureau de change transaction, and sometimes they can take up to 5 weeks—5 weeks!—to clear. Also, these cheques are the biggest chunk of my income, so getting paid in such an undependable way wasn’t all that great either; some months they’d arrive by the 1st, another month it might be the 10th, sometimes Amazon.co.uk sent out their cheques in the middle of the month, just for laughs. (And once when this happened, I was in Nice Airport dutifully staying away from the shops when a text message informed me that this unexpected early cheque had arrived. I literally ran into the Duty Free. Toblerones for everyone!)
And I couldn’t switch to EFT, because Amazon would only do that when there was a currency match, i.e. my earnings were in the same currency as my bank account, which is Euro.
Now they will convert my US dollars or UK pounds in Euro, and then pay them directly into my account. Hurray! Some people are logging onto their account and coming back telling me the options look the same, but just change the currency symbol to € first and the EFT option should pop up, as in the image below.
For some of you, the big benefit to this is that the threshold for payment will dramatically reduce. For cheques, it was $100/£100/€100. Now for EFT, it’s just the equivalent of €10.
I do have a query about whether this means less or more money (what conversion rate are they using? Is it real time? Will I gain what I was paying my bank in commission for a foreign currency exchange? Or is it my bank doing the exchanging anyway, when the money gets sent to them?). When these EFT payments start to arrive in April, I can easily compare the conversion rate to previous payments anyway, and see what’s up. But overall, I’m just happy there’s no more cheques.
Well, that’s no strictly true. There is still CreateSpace, who follow the same method since they started their European Amazon extravaganza: a US dollar cheque for Amazon.com/EDC sales, a UK sterling cheque for Amazon.co.uk sales and a Euro cheque for other European Amazon sales (with the same payment thresholds). I just logged in and it looks like nothing’s changed there, but we live in hope.
This situation change is true for Irish authors, but I wonder what changes KDP authors in other European countries are seeing. Let me know in the comments below!