And why traditional publishers love hardcovers, at – gulp – $27.99? The royalty schedule really hasn’t changed much over the years for print books. But e-books, despite the big lawsuit about price-fixing, is a brave new world where publishers give authors half, or less than half, of the 70% profit they are making. Profit without any production costs incurred apparently.
Some say (over at Porter Anderson’s post at Writer Unboxed) that few writers “earn out” so it’s academic. Earning out means making enough royalties to go over your advance on royalties you got at publication. But if you got a higher, more equitable royalty from e-book sales you would earn out faster, of course. And advances being so low for so many traditionally published authors, many will earn out especially given the long life of the e-book. It will never go out of print like the hardcover and even the paperback.
Interesting glimpse into a publisher’s accounting sheet.
So when was the last time you bought a hardcover for $27.99? I just bought Karen Joy Fowler’s “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.” I met up with her again at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and wanted a signed copy. On the other hand I spent $14.99 on Kate Atkinson’s latest, “Life After Life,” as a Kindle book. Switch-hitter, that’s me.