The study admits that “[m]ore than 50 [percent] of all traditionally-published book sales of any format in the US now happen on Amazon.com” — which would leave out 50% of traditional book sales (in, say, brick and mortar stores) — but it also points out that “roughly 85% of all non-traditionally published book sales of any format in the US also happen on Amazon.com.” It’s impossible to ignore Amazon, in other words, if you want a broad view of how much authors are earning.
So how much are authors being paid for books sold on Amazon? The numbers are either dismal or inspiring depending (of course) on your point of view. To begin with, around 9,900 writers are earning $10,000 or more from Amazon, which, as AuthorEarnings points out, is “a nontrivial supplementary income.” But it’s important to remember that this number includes authors making more than $10,000. It’s also important to point out that independent authors generally outperform those published by the Big 5 publishers, especially if you consider authors published in more recent years. This pattern would seem to confirm our earlier report that says Big Publishing’s market share is in decline.