Friday, January 28, 2011

E-Book Royalties

What kind of royalties do you want to see?

Publisher's Weekly had a post yesterday talking about the conference held at Digital Book World about the future of Publishing, especially as regards to E-Books and the way royalties will be handled in the future. They did a poll at the conference, Agents vs. Publishers to see what they thought future royalties should look like. Here's what they had to say:

"Publishing consultant Shatzkin, among the organizers of Digital Book World, offered some interesting reponses from a blind poll of 130 agents on e-book royalities (along with publisher responses to agents), certainly one of the hot button topics in an industry in transition from print to digital. Among the result, Shatzkin noted that ¾ of agents believe an author should have one publisher for both electronic and print; that most agents, unsurprisingly, believe a 50% e-book royalty rate is “fair,” and that most publishers thought that 25% of net ebook receipts, the generally accepted e-book royalty rate today, was fair. Shatzkin pointed out that older houses with big legacy print backlists were much more reluctant to want to go above 25% rate."

I'm not surprized Publishers want to hold on to as much of the money as possible. But what do you think? Are they justified in keeping that much? What with the lack of paper they will have to be using, you'd think they could stand the loss of a little money to go to the money-makers who are the writers themselves. I am happy, at least, that agents seemed to be rallying on the authors' behalf.

A little later in the article it said this:

 "Shatzkin emphasized that he believes the 25% e-book royality rate “will stick for awhile,” at least until print sales fall below 50% of publisher revenue."

Definitely publishers are watching their backs. They won't give up what they want, until what they want doesn't exist.

If you read on in the article it talks about the decrease of book sales, and the increase of ebook sales. Reading between the lines I think we still can have a possitive outlook. This is just my oppinion but what with the accessibility of books in the near future, and even now really, we will more than likely see more people reading. The easier is for someone to get a book, the easier it will be fore teens to want to 'pick up' a book. And the fact that prices of these ebooks are incredibly cheeper than paperbacks/hardcovers doesn't mean that people will buy less. For all those who love to read, or are inclined to read, this means they will now be able to get five books instead of one. Authors will (hopefully) see their books reach many more readers, which in turn will quicken the spreading of the 'word'. Readers will have more options at their fingertips, as well. 

We've seen this over the years. First the computer came, along with the internet. Information was brought to the masses. People, I think, are smarter for it. And people, in fact, spend MORE, not less money because of it. I may have an idealistic view of things, sometimes I am accused of being too possitive, but I sincerely believe (like Y2K) that people are being a little rash in thinking the end of the world is near just because E-Books are becoming 'the thing' and the book royalty world has to be reformatted. 

Not to worry, the publishing world is re-thinking and re-formulating. We are all adjusting. And I think after a few years we will look back on this confusing time and realize we were worried over nothing. 


Shallee said...

Thanks for sharing this information! I think there's a ton of different speculations on the ebook world right now simply because we're in a transition phase. In ten years, things will be more "fixed," and hopefully to the benefit of all! And I think the gloom-and-doomers will be proved wrong. :)

Elana Johnson said...

I think you're right. My book is coming out in print and a Kindle edition. I think authors need to rely on agents--who also make money when the author does--to fight for the money. At the same time, publishers are in the business of making money.

I'm of the belief that any and all sales are good, no matter the format.

A Backwards Story said...

I just found you due to your entry in Lauren Oliver's contest. I *loved* it. It was my favorite entry of all. (Perhaps b/c I'm so into Dystopian literature atm...) I'm going to start following you so I can see if/WHEN you ever have a published novel of your own :)

As for this entry, I think the industry is changing so much right now. No one knows quite what to expect. I think the agents will fight for their authors--and their own percentage. The publishers can't have everything. Of course, without the publishers, there would be no books. We'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out!

Anonymous said...

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Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

A Backwards Story: Thanks! That is sweet of you to say. I had fun doing that. I think the funnest part of writing sometimes is just coming up with ideas, and yeah, it could be a beginning to a book. Great exercise!

Elana: That is very true. And good luck with your Ebook! Let us konw how that turns out!