And finally, according to the New Republic, publishers only make a 41% profit on a hardback book. On an ebook, their profit soars to 75%. And the lower prices of ebooks (lower than hardback) do not result in a hardship for publishers. A $27.99 hardback book produces $5.67 in profit. The same book offered in digital format sells for $14.99 and yields a profit of $7.87.
I have problems with this. Not least is the fact that $14.99 is an outrageous price to pay for a license to read a book. But also, why is the publisher making a 75% profit instead of the writer?
Last week, I posted some of the results of Hugh Howey's report on Author Earnings. My focus was on Amazon's dominance of the ebook market, especially in the indie or self published genre fiction. This week I would like to look at how the big five publishers are cutting themselves the largest slices of every pie.
Howey's first report focused on a single day of 7,000 genre (mystery/science fiction/romance) fiction ebook sales at Amazon. A follow-up report included information on 54,000 bestselling ebooks at Amazon, of all types. Of the 54,000, 11,000 were genre (all fiction genre) fiction titles.
His third report, which was released yesterday covers some 5,000 genre fiction ebooks sold at Barnes & Noble. The results in one area seem remarkably consistent across all three reports: the author makes more money via indie or self publishing.
Most of the critiques of Howey's report dealt with how he was either ignoring print books (well, duh, he was talking about ebooks) and/or how he was using a snapshot of one day to extrapolate future earnings that the data didn't support. The fact that he ignored print books didn't bother me, nor was I particularly concerned with his extrapolations. He wouldn't have to make so many guesses, made on so little information, if the publishers and sellers like Amazon weren't so tight fisted when it comes to actual dollar figures.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo make it even harder to get a clear picture of author earning by forbidding its authors to even discuss how many books they sell or how much they make.
It’s a little known fact that the terms of service for both Amazon and Barnes and Noble prohibit openly discussing exact sales figures, even for self-published authors; Kobo’s terms of service cannot be discussed as they pertain to this article because the Writing Life terms of service forbid even disclosing what’s contained in the terms of service. This disclosure for all companies apparently even extends to so much as a lowly blog or Facebook post, preventing a self-published author from even sharing with his own followers that he’s celebrating the sale of his 100th copy of his book, for example.From the picture that we are getting through a glass darkly however, it seems that digital books are a bonanza for the big five publishers. They charge us readers more money per book, pay the authors royalties similar to print, and pocket the difference, all the while claiming that the publishing industry is in dire financial straits. And that piracy is a real threat to their existence so they need DRM to further restrict how we are able to read the books we purchase licenses for.
Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule:
|DAY||TIME (EST/EDT)||Series Name||Editor(s)|
|SUN||6:00 PM||Young Reader's Pavilion||The Book Bear|
|2:00 PM||What's on Your E-Reader?||Caedy|
|2:00 PM||Bibliophile's Wish List||Caedy|
|Sun||9:30 PM||SciFi/Fantasy Book Club||quarkstomper|
|Bi-Monthly Sun||Midnight||Reading Ramblings||don mikulecky|
|MON||8:00 PM||Monday Murder Mystery||michelewln, Susan from 29|
|Mon||11:00 PM||My Favorite Books/Authors||edrie, MichiganChet|
|TUES||5:00 PM||Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left||bigjacbigjacbigjac|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||LGBT Literature||Texdude50, Dave in Northridge|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||All Things Bookstore||Dave in Northridge|
|Tue||8:00 PM||Contemporary Fiction Views||bookgirl|
|Wed||2:00 PM||e-books||Susan from 29|
|Wed||8:00 PM||Bookflurries Bookchat||cfk|
|THU||8:00 PM||Write On!||SensibleShoes|
|Thu (first each month)||11:00 AM||Monthly Bookpost||AdmiralNaismith|
|alternate Thursdays (on hiatus)||11:00 PM||Audiobooks Club||SoCaliana|
|FRI||8:00 AM||Books That Changed My Life||Diana in NoVa|
|alternate Fridays||8:00 PM||Books Go Boom!||Brecht|
|Fri||10:00 PM||Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable||shortfinals|
|SAT (fourth each month)||11:00 AM||Windy City Bookworm||Chitown Kev|
|Sat||12:00 PM||You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews||pwoodford|
|Sat||9:00 PM||Books So Bad They're Good||Ellid|