Author Says eBooks Will Hurt Authors Because Of Royalty Rates

from the but-the-percentages-say-otherwise dept

Opinions on the emergence of eBooks in the modern era come with all manner of widely varied opinions. We saw J.K. Rowling go from staunchly refusing to offer her works as eBooks to routing around her publisher and offering them directly to her fans. Barry Eisler turned down a huge publishing contract to self-publish his eBooks, even as the Mystery Writers of America were telling Joe Konrath, Eisler's friend, self-publishing meant he wasn't a "real author". And, of course, we have the always prevalent opposed viewpoints of the benefits of carrying your digital library everywhere versus the preference for the look and feel of a physical hardcopy tome.

But one argument I haven't heard before (and I spend a decent amount of time reading and learning about the publishing world, for obvious reasons) is that eBooks are dangerous to the future of young authors because the royalty rates won't support them making a living. That's the argument Graham Swift made in an article in The Telegraph by Nick Collins. Graham is quoted as saying:
“The e-book does seem at the moment to threaten the livelihood of writers, because the way in which writers are paid for their work in the form of e-books is very much up in the air. I think the tendency will be that writers will get even less than they get now for their work and sadly that could mean that some potential writers will see that they can't make a living, they will give up and the world would be poorer for the books they might have written, so in that way it is quite a serious prospect.”
Swift is an award-winning author and, as such, I assume he's as or more informed about the publishing world than I am, but I'm having trouble rectifying his speculation on declining royalty rates for eBooks with how such royalties are handled now. Unfortunately, because there is some variance in how royalties are handled in the publishing world, particularly with fiction, there are some distinctions to be made with how this all works.

First, let's quickly look at royalties offered in a standard publishing contract through a mainstream press. Hardcover royalties are typically between 10% and 15%, with some variance in the contract based on the number of units sold. Paperback royalties are typically between 6% and 9%, usually also with breaking points based on sales. Meanwhile, the standard eBook royalty rates tend to be much higher, anywhere between 25% and 50%. Now, Graham appeared to be speaking of the future decline of eBook royalty rates, but the general trend with established publishers has been for those rates to rise rather than fall, recently.

Now, as everyone is aware, the emergence of eBooks has coincided with a boom in the self-publishing industry. I'm going, for the sake of this argument, to set aside true vanity publishers with awful reputations in the publishing world. Some authors out there will tell you horror stories about operations like Publish America, but they have an equally bad reputation when it comes to both hardcopy books and eBooks. Instead, let's deal with how royalties work for self-publish eBook operations like Lulu and the Amazon Kindle market. As someone who has published on both platforms, I'm very familiar with how royalties work with each.

With Lulu, there is some wiggle room for authors to set their own retail price and, therefore, royalty for physical books. The default settings come to something around 9% for hardcopy books. That same default setting for eBooks? Roughly 55% in royalty for the creator. Creators offering up eBooks on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform can expect their royalties to start at 35% (although there are some options that can bump that royalty to 70%, depending on how much the author wishes to sell their eBook for).

And none of that even takes into account authors who are cutting out the middlemen with eBooks entirely and offering up their works with something like a PayPal account, yielding royalties for eBooks effectively somewhere around 75%. This is a sector of authors that's only going to grow, as we've discussed here before. The beauty of the eBook is that an author no longer has to worry about the single most difficult aspect of getting his or her work to the reader: the physical production of the printed book. With that barrier gone, it seems as though more young writers will find themselves suddenly able to enter the market, not fewer.

So, perhaps Swift knows something I don't, but everything I read seems to indicate that eBooks are going to result in options for higher royalties, not lower. So I have to wonder where this fear comes from?


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  1.  
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    Michael Kohne, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 4:57am

    I think it's obvious

    Swift is assuming that the sort of people presently in charge of big publishing (along with their mentality of keeping most of the money) will end up in charge of the world of ebooks. If that were to happen, I think Swift is right - they'd use the transition to try to give even less money to authors, because that would be profitable.

    The problem is that there's not reason to suspect that the old guard is going to end up in charge. Under the old rules, they were the only ones who could manufacture and distribute books, so they got to set the rules of the game. With eBooks, the manufacturing costs are low, and the distribution chain is mutating massively and quickly.

    If one or two players end up selling most eBooks (as in, they control access to the consumer), then we can look forward to falling author rates. There's no way to know for sure, but it's not really looking like that's going to be how things play out.

     

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    ethorad (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:10am

    Re: I think it's obvious

    I assumed he was talking about the $ amount rather than the percentage. If a hardback is $15, but the eBook is $5 then you'd need three times the royalty rate on an eBook sale to get the same income per copy. In fact you'd need less than three times, since economics states he should sell more copies at $5 than at $15.

    Of course the difference in the royalty rates above is way more than three times so there shouldn't be a problem there - until eBooks come further down in price, or royalty rates change.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    The rest of the article + Comments

    THe edvidence in the rest of the article somewhat contradicts Swift.

    eg

    "In June John Locke, an independent American author, made history by becoming the first person to sell a million e-books without a publishing deal, putting his sales on a par with established writers like Stieg Larsson and James Patterson.

    By selling his book for 99 cents (60p) per copy, compared with many successful authors who charge up to $10 (six pounds), he was able to break a million sales in just five months. "

    Doesn't sound like a disaster for young writers to me.
    It just means you now have to write for the reader - not the publisher - which may hurt some authors.

    Also you will see that Swift's line is completely trashed in the most recommended comments on the Telegraph site.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:16am

    Forget ebooks mr.Swift

    You should be looking at the ever increasing clay tablet royalty rates. Thats where the future for real authors is. The Internet is just a fad

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:25am

    Content Creators Need to Adapt to Changing Technology

    Why should content creators be protected from technological evolution? How much sympathy do the content creators have for the typists that have been put out of work with word-processing software.

    As a simplistic observation; property rights are believed by some to originate out of scarcity. Conversely, if scarcity no longer is an issue; the property right should diminish. Anyway copyright is a privilege that is being distorted into an assumed property right.

    Content creators need to adapt, like everyone else, to changing technology.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:26am

    Re: Clay Tablets

    And the nice thing about clay is, it’s soft and doesn’t keep the writing. So you can make them buy your writing again if they want to read it again.

    Though I hear there’s this illegal thing called “fire” that some buyers of clay tablets have been using to defeat the DRM ...

     

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    big al, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:35am

    math

    hummmmmm

    paperback books= 8%......$5.00 book price = $0.40
    sells 200,000 = $80,000...

    ebook = 70% .............$0.99 book price = $0.70
    sells 1,000,000 = $700,000

    ebook = WIN

     

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    Loki, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:40am

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    Re: math

    Let's be fair to Mr. Swift here, though. It's probably unlikely that eBooks will immediately produce the same bump in interest that MP3s did for music. That said, every economist I've ever heard speak has said the best way to increase revenue in a marketplace is to GROW that marketplace, and to one degree or another I forsee eBooks bringing people back to reading, particularly fiction, in a big, big way.

    eBooks could actually SAVE writers, rather than the other way around....

     

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    John Lambert, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:51am

    Source of fear

    >So I have to wonder where this fear comes from?

    I suspect he's afraid of ebook-based royalties because he earns so much from paper-based royalties, and he may not consider how hard it is for new authors to break in to the big paper publishing companies, and how most of those who do get published by large publishers still don't make much money at it. The advance fee is the only revenue many authors ever see from the large publishers, which is quite small for non-famous authors.

     

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    J.A. Konrath, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    So I have to wonder where this fear comes from?

    Stockholm Syndrome. Or ignorance.

    Very few writers could actually quit their day jobs and make a living with legacy contracts. I've got hundreds of peers who are trad published, but only a few handfuls can make a go at it full time.

    Self-pubbing ebooks will allow more writers to make more money. The very tip-top of the dogpile may make less, but I have a hard time weeping for NYT bestsellers. They were given the keys to the kingdom, and now the kingdom is crumbling.

    But anyone making less than $500k a year should be able to do better going solo.

     

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    Danny, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: I think it's obvious

    That's my thought on it too. I'm thinking that Swift's complaint is about the money. As in in his mind selling an ebook for $5 and getting a 25% is not as much as selling a physical copy for $15 and getting 10% (which on a single copy he's right but that requires ignoring the economics that ethorad points out that you are more likely to sell more books at $5 than $15).

    I believe that's the "hurt" he is talking about. To me this is dangerously close to the idea that turning the same amount (or hopefully more) profit as in the past should take precedence over evolving technology. Yeah good luck getting customers to think that technology should take a back seat to the writer's/publisher's "right" to make money (and that's the trick, they don't have right to make money but a fair chance to make money and as the data shows ebooks are not interfereing with that).

    Just like with movies and music publishers (and some writers). They had so much control on the content for so long that now that they are losing that control they are basically crying and are now resorting to the idea that their mere existence means we as customers owe them money and should continue to owe them money now and forever.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    Ugh, sorry community...

    I claim to be a writer in this very post about writing and literature....and now that I reread my first sentence on the article I want to hang myself with my own intestines....

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Re:

    Joe, thanks for stopping by, I'm actually a big fan. That said, while I can understand the fear established authors have, what's really galling to me is this contention that all these barriers coming down is going to keep new/young authors OUT of the market. That just doesn't seem to make sense to me.

    Even if income levels out a bit, that's going to be the result of so much new talent in the marketplace, not evil publishers skimming royalties from eBooks. I almost wonder if THAT'S the fear here, the fear of so much more competition for entertainment dollars.

    And mark my words, the MOMENT that someone actually comes up with a literary version of iTunes (the current crop from Amazon's KDP, iBooks, etc., just doesn't do it for me), self publishing is going to skyrocket....

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Re: math

    You forgot some of the formula of your math in your example:

    paperback books= 8%......$5.00 book price = $0.40
    sells 200,000 = $80,000 - $50,000 (advance) = $30,000...

    or more likely:

    paperback books= 8%......$5.00 book price = $0.40
    sells 50,000 = $20,000 - $50,000(advance) = $-30,000...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    At this point in the game I would only support ebooks if the royalties fully go to the author, AND the cost is below $5.

    Any other scenario and I feel that waste is occurring (publishers/middlemen) or greed is occurring ($5 is fair for your book, it's far more than you'll see than any other medium)

    Sadly no e-reader is setup for this type of transaction, so I haven't bothered and continue to just pull books from the library.

    (I do realize libraries are also a large form of waste in 2011. Libraries pay for books and pay storage for those books, maintenance for those books, and people to sit around and look at those books, meanwhile we already have a very fast and reliable distribution system available for pennies...)

     

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    Some Other AC, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Re: math

    Hell even if the eBook only sells the same 200,000 copies it is still a major win.

    ebook = 70% .............$0.99 book price = $0.70
    sells 200,00 = $140,000

    With the proliferation of eReaders and eReader applications for both smart phones, tablets and computers, this is likely a market that will continue to grow.

     

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    rangda (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re:

    For me the big barrier to eBooks (of established, in print authors) is price. I simply refuse to plunk the money down for a reader and then pay more for an eBook than I do for a dead tree book.

    As a paperback reader up until Borders went under I was buying $8 paperbacks at ~30% off, and with them gone I can still get a 10% discount at B&N (I buy enough to come out ahead in their membership). Meanwhile every eBook of any author I've bought recently is priced at the paperback list price $8-$10.

    It seems that (as usual) the content copying industry has it's collective head up its ass when it comes to pricing. The biggest benefit of eBooks IMO is the ability of an author to route around said content copying industry.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Re: Ugh, sorry community...

    I never would have noticed if you hadn't brought it up yourself...

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Ugh, sorry community...

    The bane of a writer is hating everything he or she has written. In fact, I'm surprised every author on the planet doesn't end up burning their own books and jumping into the flames themselves.

    Oh well :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: I think it's obvious

    "I think the tendency will be that writers will get even less than they get now for their work and sadly that could mean that some potential writers will see that they can't make a living"

    I see no problems with this. The reason that writers will get less is only because there is more competition, IOW, because there are more people writing more books. Those who don't want to compete in the free market should find another job. If you can write a book worthy of providing a better product than the competitors, then you can charge more. If your competitors can offer an equivalent product for a cheaper price than what you are willing to charge, then it's time for you to find another job.

    "they will give up and the world would be poorer for the books they might have written, so in that way it is quite a serious prospect."

    Writing isn't for everyone. I may write for a living too if I could make a million dollars a day doing it. But since I can't, I could argue that the world is a much poorer place for the books it might have written. The solution? Lets have the government subsidize my writing, a million dollars a day.

    If you can't make it in the free market as a writer, then find another job. The argument that the world is a poorer place because you can't make more money writing is meaningless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:27am

    I learned a very simple business lesson many years ago, it's one that I hold dear:

    15% of something beats 70% of nothing.

    Nobody here seems to be making an assumption that e-books will be widely pirated, and likely few people will actually pay for them in the long run. Authors will likely only make a living by going on speaking tours or perhaps playing mini-putt with readers. Maybe writers of children's books could be made available to read kids to sleep at night.

    There is nothing, nada, that says that once e-books become common that there will be a paying market for them.

     

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    iptrolltracker, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    SImilar issue happened years ago with stock photography

    With the advent of iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, and several other "microstock" agencies, the whole photographic world fuh-REAKED the hell right out. How can anyone make any money at $.20 a photo?? What about paying me for my artistic talent? I'm worth more than $.20 a shot, you cheapskates, you! {shaking fist violently in the air at no one in particular}

    And lets don't forget the death of prints...no one uses them anymore. People are not going to pay $250 for an 11x14 print of their kids. Just not going to happen, not when they can spend about 1/2 that and print a very respectable 8x10 on their Epson Artisan and frame that. Not when all they *really* want is upload the images to Flickr or Facebook or Shutterfly, or simply email them around to Grandma and Grandpa. Photographers had to learn very quickly that if they don't let their digital negatives go in the form of DVDs or downloadable .jpgs, they'll die a slow death. Everything about that industry changed when the Digital Rebel was first sold on 9/18/2003. (Not that I'm a photographer, on the side, and have that date written in stone in my mind or anything.)

    Oh sure, there are some high-end photographers and then some local folks who will always make a living the old fashioned way, by doing their stock shots for clients on a commission basis...they can charge more than microstock. And you'll have your high-end portrait "artists" who can still sell prints. But the vast swath in the middle has had to adjust their business model.

    And so it goes with the publishing world. The Kindle/Nook/iPad changed *everything*. You can lament it, you can despair about the bygone era of actual hardbound books and the smell of fresh-cut paper, or you can be poor. The choice is yours as an author, just as it was so with the photographers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    The problem is that Swift is afraid of competition. His writing is worthless and he can't compete with other writers who can write better books for cheaper prices. So he's argument is that he might stop being a writer, and the world might lose his writings. My response? Good riddance!!! In return, we gain many higher quality writings at cheaper prices.

    So what if this drives some aristocratic writers, who think that their writing is somehow better than everyone else's, out of business and so they feel they deserve to earn more through reduced competition. I don't care for them and I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.

     

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    Glaurung-quena, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:38am

    The devil is in the details

    "Hardcover royalties are typically between 10% and 15%, with some variance in the contract based on the number of units sold. Paperback royalties are typically between 6% and 9%, usually also with breaking points based on sales. Meanwhile, the standard eBook royalty rates tend to be much higher, anywhere between 25% and 50%."

    The raw percentage doesn't tell the whole story. Hard copy books pay the author a percentage of the *cover price*. It doesn't matter if the book is sold by Amazon for 40% off or by the corner bookshop at full price, the author still gets the same royalty. Ebooks pay the author a percentage of the "net price," aka, the wholesale price, which is obviously significantly lower (and also subject to being redefined by the publisher's accounting department at whim).

    The Author's Guild did the math earlier this year and came to the conclusion that the ebook rates being offered by most big publishers nowadays are a big loss for authors compared to the traditional hard copy rates. CF http://www.authorsguild.org/advocacy/articles/e-book-royalty-math-the-big.html

     

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    Loki, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: math

    It could see that kind of bump though. I pretty much stopped buying books about five years ago because between the internet and other priorities, I didn't have as much time to read as I once did.

    However, an equally large reason is that I move a lot (11 times in the past 7 years alone) and lugging around several dozen boxes of books (not to mention all the time packing and unpacking) got to be extremely tiresome. There are still some authors I want the physical book from, but just as it is easier to carry around 8,000 songs on an MP3 player than carry around 800 CDs, it would be easier to carry around a device with several hundred ebooks than crates of paperbacks.

    As they continue to make devices than make reading all that much easier, then it becomes more convenient to invest in ebooks.

     

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    cjstg (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: math

    the advance is still money in the author's pocket. you cannot take that out of the equation as an expense just because it came up front. a self-published author doesn't get an advance so gets all of the money on the back end.

     

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    Jay (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re:

    Personal question, DH.

    How has your experience as an author been? Trying to go into the field myself, I tend to have a fear of the unknown and thought it might be better to get advice from someone that's done part of it.

    Do you feel that Amazon or iBooks might be better for a new author? Or is it just better to go through my own website and planning?

     

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    J.A. Konrath, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:54am

    There is nothing, nada, that says that once e-books become common that there will be a paying market for them.

    Let's tweak that for another media.

    There is nothing, nada, that says that once mp3s become common that there will be a paying market for them.

    Oops. Doesn't work. iTunes sells more music than Wal-Mart.

    Let's try again.

    There is nothing, nada, that says that once streaming video becomes common that there will be a paying market for them.

    Oops. That doesn't work either. Netflix? Hula? Amazon?

    Ebooks ARE common. They outsell print. And even though I'm widely pirated, I'm still making a crapload of money.

    So there is plenty of evidence, both historical and personal, to justify a paying market for ebooks.

     

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    J.A. Konrath, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    The reason that writers will get less is only because there is more competition, IOW, because there are more people writing more books.

    Writers won't get less.

    In eight years of selling print books, I made about $300,000.

    Self-pubbing ebooks, I made that much in the last few months.

    Ebooks aren't zero sum. I price mine at $2.99 or less. The is no competition.

    Kindle and Nook owners don't think, "I'll buy Konrath or someone else." When prices are this low, they buy both. It's been shown, time and again, ereader owners buy more than they did in print.

    There may be a glutted marketplace in the future, making new authors hard to find among the millions of books. But anyone with a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and half a brain should be able to find a niche audience. And a niche audience on a world-wide scale will easily sustain a writer.

    I'm currently having my ebooks translated into German. More languages will come, and I'll continue to make 70% royalties.

    Never before have artists had the opportunity to make so much money, without having to kowtow to or split profits with gatekeepers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Let's take a more Macro look at putting out books

    Authors have had an interesting ride so far. They sign away about 75% to 90% of the price of a book and they are afraid to change to get (another) deal. Often, they don't take the time to think about what they away, just what they think they are getting (an advance and a cut of the sales once the advance is covered). Often though the other side of the contract is ignored. Did they sign away their copyright on the book (and maybe all future copyrights on future books)? Did they give up their free time by agreeing to go on signing tours on the publishers schedule? Did they give up the right to make any future decisions about stage or screen productions of the story? Do they have any control over any of the publishing process including things like the cover art, type size, whether or not "too much" is squeezed onto a page, and so on.
    I could write a book, self-publish on my web site and get 100% of the sales price (if anyone ever finds out about it and actually buys it). When I sell a million at $1.00 each, I'd have a million dollars, right? Well that assumes that a million people would ever find it and buy it, and that it doesn't cost me anything to have it on a website. Even if I could put it up on the mini-site provided by my ISP, my account with the ISP is not free. Somehow, I would need to do some promotion (time spent that is not "free") and probably additional cost.
    While I agree that all other things being equal, an eBook should not cost as much as paper books because all of the costs associated with making and distributing a physical product are gone. What this thread seems to be missing so far is what are the "other" costs (besides what the author wants to get paid) and what is the right price for a book now.
    It would be interesting if someone who has access to the right data could do an accurate comparison of the costs of a physical book versus an eBook. A good comparison would include things like bandwidth vs. shipping, hosting vs. printing, and so on. Costs such as advertising, signings (you can't do a book signing so what do you do, sign a postcard?), bus stop signs, and other types of promotion. How would the cost of an agent be handled (do they become a pay for service type provider now that there is no publisher to give them a cut of the sales)? Is an agent still needed? There are a lot more issues to be ironed out over and above the authors cut.
    This issue cries out for an analysis of the economic inter-dependencies of all of the various "moving pieces" of getting a story from the authors mind to the reader. Once this analysis is in place, a part of that would be a stab at what is the percentage the author "should" get.

     

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    The Buzz Saw (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:22am

    Re: SImilar issue happened years ago with stock photography

    I no longer hire photographers who retain the copyright on the pictures shot at my wedding/party/whatever. I find photographers who accept fair wages for their TIME and TALENT (and arguably a rental of their awesome equipment). What on earth am I paying them for if I have to purchase the pictures at the end of the session? Call it work for hire. Call it what you will. All I know is that legacy photographers NEED to go away. Charging for the time to shoot a bunch of pictures AND trying to sell those pictures to me afterward is a bloody scam.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: I think it's obvious

    If you can't make it in the free market as a writer/artist/musician/etc..., then find another job. The argument that the world is a poorer place because you can't make more money is meaningless.

    FTFY

     

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    Atkray (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    Re:

    Yeah because no one can sell songs for a dollar either.

    effen freetards and pirates.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Ugh, sorry community...

    Because that's a waste of atoms.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    My experience has been a true duality. I've had spikes of sales and barren valleys (though nothing like Konrath's success, which is doubly irritating because he grew up about a mile from where I live ;)). Truthfully, it probably depends on three components and how good you are at each:

    1. The actual writing (storytelling)
    2. Your ability to edit or have others edit for you
    3. Your ability to promote yourself or have others promote you

    The first step is probably the hardest, but the people I've spoken with that are good at the first often struggle with the second two. I believe that's where I'm at. I believe in my writing, my ability to tell a story that is interesting. Self editing is crazy difficult to do well, but paying someone else to do it can be costly. Promotion is what I SUCK at. I'm actually glad Konrath has his blog around, because it appears to be a wealth of information (his profile name links to it, I believe).

    The bottom line is that iBooks and Amazon make making your work available incredibly easy. The hard part is getting your name out there and getting people to want what you've got.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    We need to add a thanks button.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just to chime in and agree with you here.

    The other day I was looking for a particular book in paperback on Amazon. Not a new book, been out for about 10 years. Noticed the e-version was priced higher than the mass market version!

    I have yet to buy any kind of e-reader because the pricing of the content is just, to my mind, completely out of whack.

    And paperbacks never run out of battery.

     

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  39.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: math

    I've just gotten back into reading more myself, now that I've cut the cable cord, and I can offer some validation to that thought.

    I've purchased about 12 new books in the past 2 months, and unfortunately about half of them didn't offer an eBook option. I like having the physical copies to an extent, but I would much rather have them all in a digital format, all one one device, so I could have them all at my disposal when I wanted them. Ebooks aren't in ideal shape at this point either, since I'm not about to spend $150 on a device just to read books (still haven't spent $150 on BOOKS themselves yet...) and the apps for my phone are, well, on my tiny little phone (though I do use that).

    Audio books are the golden goose if you ask me. It's like reading a book without having to read it, can download instantly like an ebook, and can fit on a device (for which the phone is much better suited).

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: math

    Why not just read on a notebook computer (assuming you have one)? I assume at least a portion of your reading is done at home, hence the cable-cutting reference.

    When I published on both Lulu and KDP, I believe they offered a PDF format, which I would think would play just fine w/any standard notebook...

     

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  41.  
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    Kai, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    >And mark my words, the MOMENT that someone actually comes up with a literary version of iTunes (the current crop from Amazon's KDP, iBooks, etc., just doesn't do it for me), self publishing is going to skyrocket....

    Don't forget the www.smashwords.com. It's my favorite place for independent authors (or published authors who want to bypass the publisher). I guess it's the book equivalent of eMusic.

     

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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Clay Tablets

    The publishers are currently lobbying Congress to make a law that says it's illegal to expose your clay tablet to any fire or extended periods in the sun. All kilns and even household ovens are obviously just theft devices that serve no other purpose other than to allow "claytards" to steal content that was never intended to be permanent. Commercial ovens need to be addressed separately since they could potentially be used to defeat the DRM in mass quantities and this simply is not to be tolerated.

    One industry insider says: "We put content on soft clay so we could capitalize on repeat sales. Moisture and low impact collisions (usually from being dropped) ensure the secondary and tertiary sales. These claytards are just trying to prevent us from making an honest living and really this just hurts the authors the most since that's where our major concerns really are to be found."

    /s

     

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    agent for change, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re: math

    actually for me its between 800 and 8000 CDs, since most CD's only have 1 track worth owning

     

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    traci, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    I love the little math equations, but they have it kind of wrong...it's only 70% royalties for books over $2.99.

    So...my books sell for $5.35...that means $3.70 royalties instead of $.40 royalties.

    As a midlister in ebook terms, on the shelf my books would have had a one month life span and sold maybe 1000 copies before it went out of print...I would have made, what, $400?

    I'm no John Locke million dollar seller, but I have sold over 8000 copies of my two novels which ain't too bad. ; ) (full disclosure, my book debuted at 99 cents) And I've done a fer sight better than $400.

    I don't know. I don't think I would have ever gotten a contract for what I write. But now I've got fans and a regular royalty check.

    What I mean to say is, I don't think that ebooks will be the end of great new fiction getting out to the reader. : )

    Traci

     

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    Stephen, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Re: Let's take a more Macro look at putting out books

    As an editor at a major publishing house, let me do so:

    1. Unit cost. A print book and an ebook go through the same production process to start: copyediting, page design, jacket design (which includes licensing any cover images), page proofs, blues, indexing. I don't include editing because that's a different line on the p&l, as is marketing. The formats diverge when the pages are released to the printer as PDFs. Mercifully, all this is done digitally now.

    The print book is printed, bound, shipped to one of our warehouses and from there shipped out to the chains' warehouses, distributors and individual stores. Comp copies to reviewers and to, say, the editor's friends also go out now, but again these are charged to publicity, although the additional copies do bring the print unit cost down. I'm not sure what line the authors' copies go on.

    Meanwhile the ebook goes through additional production steps: translation into ePub, Mobi and PDF (we may just remove our watermark), quality control (to make sure the ebook looks as good as the print book), then it goes to whatever service handles our ebook fulfillment, billing, etc. The ebook is then released the same day as the print book.

    My point is, most of the component costs of a book's unit cost are shared by the print and electronic version. The extra production costs for an ebook are cheaper, yes, than the materials and shipping used for print books. I wish I could tell you how much. But the unit cost for an ebook is not $0.00.

    Let me add that ebooks are non-returnable, while print books are very much so. 40% of what we ship out, gets shipped back, and we pay shipping both ways. More costs against the book, but these aren't part of the unit cost.

    2. Marketing. On this line of the p&l goes catalogs (print and digital), signs at events, travel and related expenses, etc. The author isn't charged, although authors are called on to do far more marketing now (if not all, in many cases) than before.

    3. Agents. If the author is agented, we send the author's checks, if any, along with a royalty statement, which they always get, to the agent, who then disperses the money to the author after taking his/her cut. Does every author need an agent? No. But an agent serves several valuable purposes: she understands book contracts and negotiate better than boilerplate terms, such as which rights the author should keep, in particular dramatic rights (many agents, in fact, have their own boilerplates with publishers, which they then tailor to an individual project); she can act as the author's advocate so that an editor's relationship with an author isn't tainted by filthy lucre; she can explore other opportunities for an author (if we don't have, say, world rights, we're not going to sell translation rights for you); she can be a sounding board and therapist. Agents help editors too. When an author's being an A-hole, we can tell them to kick their client in line without having to go to the a-hole himself. A very passive-aggressive business, is publishing.

    4. Self-Publishing. I think lots of books can be easily self-published, but that supposedly extra money is counterbalanced by the author having to do all the work after he puts his pen down. In this way, self-publishing is less like authorship and more like a small business, in which there's one product and the author's also supplier and distributor. That doesn't often get talked about. An author has to make a choice, then: does she want to write, or does she want to sell and look for time to write? For authors whose book is an extension of their existing business, they might as well self-publish. For authors who want to create, it might not be the best trade-off. After all, John Mayer, king of rock star tweeters, gave it all up when he realized maintaining his social media profile was sucking up all his time and desire to write songs.

    4. Advances. Here's another thing self-publishing advocates don't talk about. One person in this discussion mentions it in passing, for instance. The fact is, half of all advances are not earned back. Which means an author was overpaid, but gets to keep the money. In defense of publishing, it might be better for an author to roll the dice and take the bigger check now rather than hope he can make it up himself in the long run.

    5. Sales. People like to throw around big numbers, such as million copies. Do you know how many books sell a million copies a year in any format? Maybe 50 out of the, what, 250,000 published every year. If that's your model for a self-publishing business, you might as well add a line for lottery scratch-offs to your p&l. The fact is, most books don't sell more than a couple thousand. For example, for twenty years I've published trade science books: narratives, surveys, etc. The average net sales hasn't changed a single bit in two decades, somewhere between 3000 and 8000. I just checked the Bookscan nonfiction bestseller list for this week, which covers hardcover and paperback. Only 48 books on the list have netted more than 70,000 copies (which equates to roughly 100,000 print copies actually sold) and only 19 were published this year. That's not a large "epic win" ratio.

    Bottom line: There are benefits to self-publishing, but whether an author takes this route or that of a traditional publisher, he shouldn't expect to be able to quit his day job.

     

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    Akiva, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: math

    Since buying a Kindle, my rate of book purchasing has gone up significantly. Why? Well, a book selling at $2.99, $1.99 or $0.99 is a trivial purchase. I'm not going to worry about if I might end up with a book that's not so good or trying an author I've never tried.

    And if I'm reading a series, even if a particular book isn't so good, I'll get the next one in the series to see how it continues. Why not, it's only $2.99.

    So for those authors and publishers that are selling their books for $4.99 or less, it's an easy purchase decision for me. Those who take their $21.99 hardcover book and try to sell it as an e-book for $15.99, they're not going to get my business.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re:

    they do sell songs for a dollar. they just dont sell $15 albums to let you get them. you need 15 times as many downloaders as album buyer to make the same money.

    hint: it doesn't happen.

    15% of book sales in a large market beats the living crap out of 70% of a super small market.

    Moreover, the 70% is then shaved down by promotional activites, management, and other costs - you know, the stuff the book company use to do for their part of the pie.

    15% of big is usually way bigger than what is left of 70% of small or nothing.

     

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    Serena Jones, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    SelfPublishing Rocks

    I'm sick and tired of hearing how self publishing is going to be the death knell of authors. It's taken this long for the big 7 publishers to see the light about ebooks. Authors now have to write the book, market the book, have a platform and practically make the doughnuts to hand out at the few readings the may get. If you're going to work like a dog, make sure you 're reaping the profits. Get your work out there, get reviews and get paid!

     

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    Serena Jones, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    SelfPublishing Rocks

    I'm sick and tired of hearing how self publishing is going to be the death knell of authors. It's taken this long for the big 7 publishers to see the light about ebooks. Authors now have to write the book, market the book, have a platform and practically make the doughnuts to hand out at the few readings the may get. If you're going to work like a dog, make sure you 're reaping the profits. Get your work out there, get reviews and get paid!

     

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    gorehound (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    Never buying an EBOOK KRAP

    Sorry but I will never purchase a useless EBOOK.Why would I say that with technology the way it is and progresses ? Well here are my reasons and they are probably not yours.

    1.I own a serious book collection that is conservatively valued at $16,500 and if every title and magazine,etc I woned was on EBOOK it would be worth ..................NOTHING NO RESALE OR VALUE
    2.Nothing beats opening a rare book or a Pulp Magazine from the 1930's and feeling/smelling the paer.
    3.Rare books look great in your home displayed.You can show people books worth 100's of dollars by old and famous authors.Talk about their work and look at the illustrations inside.What do you guys do huddle around your little Ipoops.
    4.Nothing beats finding that rare book that takes work to track down.sometimes it takes years to find that last issue of Astounding Stories or Weird Tales or an old Arkham House or Fantasy Press hardcover.It takes an effort to find the good stuff not a mouse click and a download into your thing.

    Last if interested there is a gallery of some of my rarities here:::
    http://www.bigmeathammer.com/gallery.htm
    lots of really cool old pulps and paperbacks to see of my collection

     

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    iptrolltracker, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: SImilar issue happened years ago with stock photography

    Exactly. The good ones now price under this model...it makes no sense to do anything else. :)

     

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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: math

    It would, it does, that is a great suggestion and there is a book or two that I have read that way. There isn't a Kindle App for Linux though, which is what I run at home...

    And, for the sake of full disclosure, when using my notebook it's easy for me to get distracted by the lure of the internet. Yes, that's a personal problem, but may be valuable for someone to consider... I can listen to an audiobook while surfing the web, washing dishes, or even vacuuming and dusting...

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

    "...the single most difficult aspect of getting his or her work to the reader: the physical production of the printed book."

    Also, shelf space issues go away.

    "So, perhaps Swift knows something I don't, but everything I read seems to indicate that eBooks are going to result in options for higher royalties, not lower. So I have to wonder where this fear comes from?"

    Maybe he assumes, as many seem to, that once one electronic copy has been distributed, no more sales will happen. There will be one sale and then everybody will just copy it.

    Of course, if you can ignore one bit of reality, you can ignore all of them.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Never buying an EBOOK KRAP

    Bully for you, but not everybody is a speculator. Some of us are interested in reading the content, not just in the resale value. Or in showing off.

    Your view appears to be somewhat egocentric -- e-books may be useless to you, but that doesn't mean they're useless to everybody.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Let's take a more Macro look at putting out books

    Just you wait. Mike is going to come along and school you on marginal costs. You know, the cost to print a book is X, the cost to duplicate a digital file is zero.

    It's just too bad that he has never figured out that marginal costs are often not the big end of things, at least until you start turning out really big numbers.

    Waiting for Mike to come to school... in 3...2...1...

     

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    Charlie Self, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:24pm

    Re: The devil is in the details

    So don't deal with the big publishers. Amazon's Kindle offers 70% royalties on books sold for %.99 to $9.99. Over that, and it goes to 35%.

    I'm about ready to post my first Kindle book, with two more nearing completion. One will sell for $9.99, one for $7.99 and the other for $3.49.

    My 70% on 1000 copies would take me about 4500 copies, or more, to match with a trade publisher (not all writers get the 15% of retail contracts, by the way. In fact, those writers are in the minority and usually have a track record, or a damned good agent). Some years ago, one of my books sold 59,000 copies in a royalty period (six months). IIRC, I got something under $10,000 for that period. Amazon pays every two months.

    Yes, marketing is something that has to be handled by the writer, but it has pretty much become the case with a lot of trade publishers anyway. Send in a book proposal and you had better send in a comprehensive marketing plan if you expect the proposal to be looked at. So do it yourself for yourself.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Let's take a more Macro look at putting out books

    Wait for dumb troll to bitch in 3.. 2.. ups, you're already done.

     

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    Tim Greaton (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 4:07am

    It's hard to imagine a more ridiculous argument than to say, "Only by sharing the profit can I make a profit," at least in the publishing industry as it currently exists. It is true that those authors at the top of the legacy industry have and continue to make boatloads of money, but for 95% of all authors with traditional publishers, it has been a miserable slog at best. I have friends who struggled for a decade or more in the midlists, giving up real livelihoods, homes, and even families so that they could cling to their dream of growing out of the quagmire of ever-shrinking audiences and zero promotional dollars...alas, only to ultimately find themselves with no contract and no prospects.

    If legacy publishers did, in fact, do substantial promotions as well as guide and grow writers' careers, Mr. Swift's premise of fear might hold more weight. However, the real state of publishing over the last couple of decades (before the ebook revolution) is quite different: an author had to play craps with her time, talent and desired life path, and then in the unlikely case that she landed a contract with the Big Six, she had to either luck into the top 5% of success stories or join the slog of other midlist writers whose prayers rested with an industry that shares only a tiny pittance of profit before ultimately discarding most writers so they can "throw their next author at the wall."

    As an indie author who passed the thousand-sale mark a while back, I can only say I'm excited that my crap game is directly between me and whatever audience I can manage to reach. So far I like my odds and my cut a whole lot better than the four years I spent with two hardworking but ultimately unsuccessful New York agents :-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Let's take a more Macro look at putting out books

    It's just too bad that he has never figured out that marginal costs are often not the big end of things, at least until you start turning out really big numbers.



    OR really small numbers. Every teenager who took dad's lawnmower and started making money cutting grass uses this principal. Since the marginal cost of the next lawn to cut is the cost of the gas, oil and maintenance on the lawnmower, the kid can afford to cut a few neighbors lawns and make some pocket cash. Since the cost of the lawnmower is a sunk cost (fortunately by mom or dad), the kid can come out ahead but cutting a few lawns.
    The concept of marginal cost works across the entire range of economic scales not just "really big numbers". Please go back to school and learn your economics.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It seems that (as usual) the content copying industry has it's collective head up its ass when it comes to pricing. The biggest benefit of eBooks IMO is the ability of an author to route around said content copying industry.

    I have an ebook reader, and I agree. I find it easier to buy the paperback, scan it in using a camera, and convert it into an ebook myself than pay the prices they are charging (not that I have actually done that yet.) Thank you agency pricing...which should be illegal (if a company buys a physical book for $8, and then marks it down %30 to sell it, making up the difference in volume, why shouldn't they be allowed to do the same with ebooks. Why do we continue to allow the publisher to dictate the price for ebooks just because they are different than dead tree versions.)

    Copyright should be treated the same regardless to whether it is physical or electronic, and agency pricing should go away. But then again, unlimited length copyrights and stupid anti-trust attitudes should go away too.

     

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    Doug, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    making a living from e-books

    "eBooks are dangerous to the future of young authors because the royalty rates won't support them making a living."

    That's an odd thing to say. I'm a relatively "young" author and I already make my living with e-books! 70% is a pretty amazing royalty rate if you ask me.
    dojoklo(dot)com/Full_Stop/

     

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    Rob Lister (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    Pirating

    I'm surprised that the loses associated with pirating didn't get more [digital] ink in either the article or the comments. I bought my Nook when I saw others at work lugging theirs around. When I finally bought one, an associate gave me a cd. I asked what it was and he suggested I put it in my computer and have a look for myself. I did. It was roughly 1500 [mostly new] ebooks from about 300 authors. All the current nyt bestsellers were there. Further investigation on google reveals that any book I might want is available from the day it is purchased, for free, at one site or another. So you writers here don't hate me, let me just say that I didn't save the disk or any book on it (though I was very tempted, admittedly);I returned it to the lender with just a thanks.

    So, I see $15, $10, and even $5 ebooks from the majors (publishers and sellers) as being a distant memory pretty soon. $1 will be the new standard, just as it is on iTunes. And you'll be lucky to get that (sadly).

     

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  63.  
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    Carolyn Jewel, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    ebook royalty rates

    Boy, there's a lot poorly understood information here.

    For authors whose eBooks are with the traditional print publishers (any of the big 6) -- I write for two of them by the way -- Swift is right. The eBook royalty rate under the new Agency pricing is not favorable to authors. 25% of net can and does quickly equal a lower royalty rate than for the paper version with a royalty based on cover price. It's a more dramatic reduction if you're publishing in hardback first and somewhat less of a reduction if you're mass market or trade. The big six are paying 20% of the gross to distributors and the expenses that reduce the net only get worse from there.

    If you happen to self-publish, however -- and I have self-pubbed my reverted backlist titles -- I get 70% of the cover price I set. For authors with a fan base, I can assure you THAT royalty rate can provide quite a nice living.

     

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    Tim Greaton (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    Rob, I certainly understand the concern but a friend of mine is a New York Times bestselling author who earned a quarter million dollars in royalties one year. However, that performance was never repeated. Before he lost his last contract a few years ago, he was earning barely 10,000 which amounted to approximately 20 cents per paperback. Even at the 99-cent mark on ebooks, he would earn more than the big six were paying him.

    Just a thought.

     

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    Rob Lister (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    Re: pirating

    Tim, thanks for that and yea, $1 (minus distribution fees) is still better than 20 cents.

    For 'meat' books, what is the believed ratio of bought to read? Do you think ebooks will have as low a ratio for bought to pirated?

     

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    Tim Greaton (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

    Hi, Rob. I honestly have no idea what the pirate rate will be (or is) though I'm sure substantial. Here's the problem, however: the technology is already here to pirate even books that come out in paper form. There are services now that will copy a book by scanner for $1.00, and since you own that book you will then have a legal digital copy. Unfortunately, that copy can then turn into thousands of copies sent all over the world, and so on.

    The problem is that currently the technology doesn't exist to stop it. If it did, the music industry would not be on its knees, and there's a reason that Hollywood has cut back to half the productions and half the pay levels for major talent. It's because people are turning to streaming and they can no longer sell DVD's at a high level (it used to comprise half of a movie's gross income). That means that movie profits, too, are being chewed up by piracy.

    Ultimately, I fear that we have to accept that piracy exists and make as much money as is available in the legal market. And I think the point is that the Big Six can't protect authors from that piracy any more than self-marketing authors can protect themselves.

    Let's face it, one third of the entire retail book business just filed bancruptcy and went bye-bye. Big Six can't replace those stores, and even if they did the readers are going digital.

    So the question remains, where do authors best fit in the new digital economics? It's my opinion that both can exist, and that the one will force the other to find a better business model. The old model of contracting a hundred authors to two or three books and then waiting for the market to weed them out just doesn't work. Maybe this new system, where the authors vet themselves and then get picked up, like Hocking and Locke, is the solution.

    Rest assured, Rob, I understand the concern in all corners of the argument. The problem is that most positions that people are taking do not allow for change as a factor. If change is a tidal wave, then authors are the surfers and the Big Six represents the professional sport sponsors. It seems to me allowing the surfers to surf sponsorless cannot be a bad thing. Those that make it to shore might have a contract waiting, and those that don't can keep paddling as best they can. No harm, no foul.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 26th, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Re:

    " It seems to me allowing the surfers to surf sponsorless cannot be a bad thing."

    I absolutely love that analogy.

    One thing I think folks may be missing in all this is that most of these fears are based on the assumption that the overwhelming majority of people will NOT purchase even with a compelling reason to. I'm sorry, but I believe in the inherent goodness of most people. I believe that if the case is made that the art needs support and is offered at a reasonable price, digitally or otherwise, the fans by and large will make sure that happens.

    We can get bogged down in discussing the technology, or whether or not eBooks are a purely digital good and should be treated as such, but one commodity authors can still monitize is their reputation. An author that treats his/her fans well, and can write of course, is going to be successful, I believe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    O, Oct 7th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re: J.A. Konrath's comment

    Good for you that you're pricing your work like that. I would gladly try new material or buy ebooks of what I have in paper - at that price, but not at higher than paperback prices.

    When (if) publishers realize that, I'll stop using uTorrent.

    ...as if.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Unreal, Jan 31st, 2012 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: math

    Exactly what author do you know (self published or traditional) that sells 200,000 copies?! Stop coming up with these IF'S and deal with REALITY, please.

    And please don't bring John Locke up again. That was THREE YEARS AGO! Hocking was TWO YEARS AGO. Any new examples or are there no more??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    Tim Greaton (profile), Jan 31st, 2012 @ 8:26am

    math

    I'm not sure why John Locke or Amanda Hocking must be considered the only successful examples. Many of the people on this thread make substantial sums as indie authors. I have personally sold over 2,000 e-books since November 15th. If the trend continues, I'll sell a minimum of 12,000 books this year...though I hope that number quadruples or more with the new titles I have coming out. I know several dozen indie authors who have sold a lot more books than I have in the same period of time.

    In short, NO WAY would a legacy publisher be willing to pay me an advance that rivals the income I'm just now starting to see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Bill Peschel, Apr 12th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Follow the money

    Want some more figures? How about TV producer Lee Goldberg, who wrote in Nov. 2011 that he's pulling in $70,000 in sales of his ebooks.

    Not only does this include new books, but his out of print backstock.

    Then there are books which aren't going to set the world on fire, but for which there can be a small market for. I'm fa fan of Dorothy L. Sayers. For years, I've maintained an "Annotating Wimsey" section on my website.

    When I realized that her first two novels were out of copyright, I took advantage of self-publishing to offer "The Complete, Annotated Whose Body?" With no marketing except mentions on my website, in the last eight months I've sold about 50 trade paperbacks and about 650 ebooks. I've made about $1,000. And it's still selling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Cornbread, Earl & Me, Apr 25th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Re: math

    @AL,
    No offense but you are just NOT being realistic with your numbers. Not by a long shot. Exactly how many authors do you know (traditionally published or self-published) that sell 200,000 units/books? Better still, how many authors PERIOD can sell 1 million books/ebooks/whatever???

    Answer: few & far between.
    Very FEW authors in general earn enough to quit their day jobs. The numbers you through out there in support of ebooks are just SILLY! Especially when you mentioned selling at 99 cents. And by the way, selling at 99 cents = .70 for AMAZON, not for the author. The author gets .35 from each 99 cent sale.

    Someone here brought up the old, tired John Locke argument. That's Locke. And that was 3 years ago now. 99.999% of authors cannot achieve that feat. Get it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Outrageous Fortune, Apr 25th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: I think it's obvious

    "Yeah good luck getting customers to think that technology should take a back seat to the writer's/publisher's "right" to make money (and that's the trick, they don't have right to make money "-Danny

    @Danny, Why do YOU think you have the right to make money when YOU work? You don't have the right to make money either. And you don't have some natural right to enjoy entertainment. Want free entertainent? Write your own so called ebooks or buy a pair of dice, get your pals together & shoot craps against the wall. And be entertained for FREE. You do not have some God given right to watch movies, read books, or listen to music. You want it then PAY for it or entertain yourself. Simple as that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    go to the moon!, Apr 25th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: I think it's obvious

    @anonymous coward,
    Why don't YOU find another job-one other than trolling blogs & offering 99 cent (I mean 2 cent) opinions on where you think writers should go.

    And you totally didn't get what Swift said about the world being a poorer place. When the time comes that writing pays nothing, the real talent & risktaking authors will flee, leaving you with the Junior High School kids who'll put their homework or lover letters to Zac Efron up on Amazon for you to read, free of charge. Ha ha ha! That would be too funny!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    Novelnook (profile), Sep 15th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Solved

    Novelnook.com provides 100% FREE self-publishing for eBook authors. We also... and here's the big one... give 100% of the proceeds directly to the author/publisher. There are NO ROYALTY FEES! We encourage you to sell your products on other websites as well (i.e. Amazon, Lulu, etc.) Our service is a complete charity to the authors.

    As you can see, my title is solved... because the solution is here.
    http://www.novelnook.com/flyer.pdf

    Beta testing for our website starts in a few weeks... sign up now to reserve a spot.
    http://www.novelnook.com

    You can check us out on our social networks as well:
    http://facebook.com/novelnook
    http://twitter.com/novelnook

    Thanks for your time folks!

    - Colton Joseph (CEO & Founder)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Colton Joseph, Jan 9th, 2013 @ 6:08am

    100% royalties already here

    This was an interesting read and I completely agree with the author that royalty rates will rise. In fact, I am responsible for creating a website that already offers 100% royalties to the author. The only fee is through Paypal (around 2-4% depending). We simply match readers with authors. Pretty simple idea - I would love some feedback/criticism on our website. Check it out @ http://www.novelnook.com - Thanks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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