It’s hard to think of a more old-fashioned way for Amazon to pay authors than the humble paper cheque. Yet that’s exactly how Amazon pays thousands of authors every month, posting paper cheques around the globe. Those authors then have to negotiate the hurdles put in place by their banks when cashing those cheques. At the very least, many authors are charged exhorbitant fees. Now there’s a petition calling on Amazon to adopt a more modern payment method (via).
The petition, set up by Sarah Billington, calls for Amazon to take a more modern approach to payments, either by using Paypal or by updating its moribund Amazon Payments service for the benefit of international users. The petition points out that other ebook companies, such as Smashwords, have managed to set up a Paypal-based system of payments. It’s unclear why Amazon has been so reluctant to ditch the checks, and the company has so far remained quiet on the subject.
Some banks charge upwards of £50 to process US checks. Unless an author is making huge sums each month, these fees mean that a significant chunk of royalties are being consumed by bank fees that are arguably unnecessary. Even if Amazon doesn’t want to use Paypal, it should be possible to expand Amazon Payments so that the system works better for international authors. Amazon has been busy expanding its Kindle device around the world, so why is the company’s KDP payment system so resolutely stuck in the past?