There are many threads on these forums complaining about the lousy 35 percent royalty Amazon has been paying over the past three years. To me, who has often put up with 6 percent royalties on paperbacks, these complaints seemed a bit overheated.
So I thought you might like to share my most recent experience with e-book publishing:
For six months I've been trying to get a New York publisher to revert the digital rights to a book published in 2007. This week I got my answer. E-book? What a great idea! We'll get right on it. It will be published in August (I could do it in a week) and here's the best part: you'll get a royalty of 25 percent of the net.... Nothing I can do about it, either, since it's in my contract.
Grrr. It has some photos, so allow a nickel or a dime for downloading costs, so figure 68 percent under the new royalty program. 25 percent of 68 percent is 17 percent royalty, calculated every six months, with a lag of two or three months. I can look forward to the first (paper) check next March, covering August-December.
It will of course be a more professional job, the retail price will be double what I would charge, and the book will be available on B&N and the Sony and Apple bookstores. I will report back next spring on how that worked out.
Print publishers are seeing e-books eat into their bottom line, so are seeking to grab as much of the new pie as they can.
I published my first two books with an on-line publisher named Lulu. When I published my first book, I was required to establish the retail print and e-book prices. Since Lulu is a POD, the print prices are much higher than with traditional printers, but Lulu only kept $.99 (20%) for each e-book sold. I naturally sent all fans seeking non-kindle downloads to Lulu.
When I published my second novel, Lulu wanted $2.18 (45%) for each e-book sold. As cub06h said, e-books cost a couple of pennies per book for the download bandwidth. Since Lulu does no promotion of any kind to help an author sell e-books, I felt that a 20% commission with virtually no cost was already fair and adequate.
Bottom line, I declined to have Lulu handle e-book sales on the second book. There are lots of websites willing to handle e-book sales for $1.00 per book. Now that Amazon is offering kindle for PCs, and raising their commission percentage to authors, you need look no further.
If print publishers hope to save their businesses from extinction, they’d better learn that simply grabbing everything they think they can get, will no longer be accepted. Authors have too many alternatives now.
author of the series "A Galaxy Unknown"
and "When the Spirit Moves You"