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E-books make more $$$ for publishers, LESS for authors


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#1 Midnight Whimsy

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 10:17 AM

http://aardvarknow.us/2013/06/04/e-books-and-profitability-what-weve-always-said-and-publishers-have-always-denied/
 

Take a look at the numbers straight from HarperCollins:

 

$27.99 hardcover generates $5.67 profit to publisher and $4.20 royalty to author
$14.99 agency priced e-book generates $7.87 profit to publisher and $2.62 royalty to author.


Note how for e-books, profit increases for the publisher but decreases for the author. If one party is making more profit, shouldn't the other party also make more profit? That's money straight out of the author's hand going into the publisher's. 

 

I don't think I really need to comment further. The numbers say everything.

 
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#2 Darke

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 12:41 PM

You know, with statistic like this, it really makes you wonder what they're thinking. Seriously.


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#3 Kalinda Knight

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 03:34 PM

I am so very thankful there are alternatives out there now. There is more than one game in town. It's a great time to be a writer!

Thanks for posting those stats, WM. 



#4 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 02:33 PM

Really makes one think about going the self-publishing route.


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#5 Alys Cohen

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:11 AM

This is part of why I am having a harder time with traditional publishing.  Most of the work is done by the authors.  Without the authors, they've got nothing.  Yet the authors make the smallest cut, and the less there is invested by the publishers, the less the author makes.  The first number makes sense.  The publisher is laying out a lot of money to print books with no guarantee of return.  But with e-books, the outlay is an editor and someone to do a cover and someone for formatting, expenses that could be pretty low if they have a salaried staff already retained.  Especially for newer authors, most of the advertising is by the authors.  I just don't see how publishers can claim to have earned the higher share of the e-books.



#6 Midnight Whimsy

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 11:04 AM

Especially considering that, in most cases, the publisher is doing print and e-book... meaning the cover and editing have already been done for the print copy.

 

M.W



#7 RC Lewis

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:25 PM

My theory has always been that since the profit margin on print copies is tiny (and often shrinking), publishers use eBooks to pick up some of the slack. If I were self-publishing, I'd be doing essentially the same thing, pricing the POD copy as low as I possibly could (garnering pennies for myself, if anything), then pricing the eBook somewhere in the $3-5 range, which might earn me $2-3.50 per copy sold. Should I price my POD and eBook so I make the same profit on each, letting them each shoulder an equal share of my editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing costs?

 

Just a thought.


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#8 sharpegirl

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:30 PM

This is part of why I am having a harder time with traditional publishing.  Most of the work is done by the authors.  Without the authors, they've got nothing.  Yet the authors make the smallest cut, and the less there is invested by the publishers, the less the author makes.  The first number makes sense.  The publisher is laying out a lot of money to print books with no guarantee of return.  But with e-books, the outlay is an editor and someone to do a cover and someone for formatting, expenses that could be pretty low if they have a salaried staff already retained.  Especially for newer authors, most of the advertising is by the authors.  I just don't see how publishers can claim to have earned the higher share of the e-books.

 

Er, as someone who is traditionally published, I disagree with this huge generalization. While sure, I've put a lot of work into my book, so has my editors, my copy-editors, my cover designers, my publicists and my marketing teams. Traditional publishing is a very collaborative process and those people earn their salaries. They work their butts of for you, for your book, and for the publishing company. No money in the world can equal the things that I've learned about the craft of writing in the past year from my agent and my editors. They made me a better writer. And that would not have happened if I'd self-published because the editing process would not be as extensive or intensive.

 

Should ebook royalties be higher? Sure, I'm sure all writers want higher royalties on all things and as we see ebooks take more of the market over, I'm sure it'll go up. But personally, I'll choose a decent advance, guidance by industry professionals, my books on shelves, my writing improving and lower royalties vs. having to go it on my own, constantly selling myself, putting out my own money to create a quality product for higher royalties when there's no guarantee all the stuff I worked so hard on will sell.

 

There isn't a right or a wrong way to do this. It depends on where your talents and vision lie. My head would explode if I had to do what more talented self-published authors do so successfully. I'm someone who likes people smarter than me lighting my way. Just like I'm sure some things I'm asked to do in trade publishing would make some self-published authors go "No way!" because successful self-publishers tend to like to run the show (and do it wonderfully!)






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