What Should an E-book Cost?

October 2009
by Curt Matthews

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What Should an E-book Cost?

by Curt Matthews

What the general public thinks it knows about the economics of book publishing is almost always wrong. Bestseller rejected by 15 major publishers before one small house takes a chance on a genius and sells 100,000 copies. It has happened, but most manuscripts make the rounds without attracting any offers because they are hopeless. A vanishingly small proportion of titles sell anything like 100,000 copies, even those published by major houses. And almost no good author goes unpublished.

The publishing news that makes the papers is all of the man-bites-dog variety. This is because the real news is, well, a little dull. Advances for all but a handful of authors (the tiny band of bestseller writers and a few famous or notorious politicians) run in the very low five figures, except when they run in the high four figures. Since an advance is an advance against royalties, the author does not get another nickel until the sales of the book have earned back the advance. Most don’t.

The royalty rate is usually 10 percent of the cover price for a hardbound book, 7.5 percent for a paperback, increasing by a few percentage points if certain levels of sales are achieved. So an author makes $1.12 a copy on a $14.95 paperback. A 10,000-copy sale of that paperba…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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