davefreer (davefreer) wrote,

e-books and royalties.

It appears the tree of greed and short-sighted insanity is well watered right around the world. Here we have car prices going UP - an average of 11.3 % I believe as sales fall throught the floor. Or as for e-books (http://www.ereads.com/2008/10/random-house-changes-e-book-royalty.html). Sigh. Firstly as demand is increasing, it means you can bring your prices down, secondly, as some of the major expenses - namely, printing, paper, warehousing, physical distribution and RETURNS - are not a factor. Costs actually compare VERY favorably to the costs for other media, and therefore the rates of payment to authors and costs to public could both be very much improved. Fortunately Baen so far anyway have no part in this, and I hope they keep it that way. They pay a better % too.

The shortsighted result of this is very obvious -- already established well-known authors are thinking... well, they could really do this without the publisher. Instead of accepting 12.5% and falling... they could have 50% and pay some editor to work for hire and pay a cover artist (and get to CHOOSE their cover art), and get off-site storage for next to nothing, and probably come out with say 45% of the take. The next move I predict from publishers is going to some form of 'only we have the rights to sell your e-books in perpetuity', especially aimed at smaller authors and newbies who are in a poor position to resist. I hope we get some form of authors' collectives next to cut retail and advertising costs.

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