Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good News for Poisoned Pen Authors/ebook update

Ebook growing pains continue, and from all I can see the major publishers have decided they want to be as greedy as they are known for, wishing to set prices at the highest level they can and claiming they are checking with their authors before they make any decisions regarding Kindle or Ipad or any of the new media delivery systems.  Checking with their authors - The CEO of Random Hs. actually said they had to confer with thier shareholders and their authors-- which authors? Maybe the ones you can count on your hand who are making a huge profit and who can then assume a say-so in such maters?

Believe me, they are not contacting all their authors...certainly not their midlist and bottom list authors. They are jockeying, delaying, looking for the edge and meanwhile hoping Apple and Kindle will accept their terms.  Sadly their terms will in the end mean LESS for book sales and therefore LESS for their authors.

In a stunning wonderful move they call being FAIR to their authors, the classy Poisoned Pen Press has announced that their authors going to Kindle or any electornic format will get a 25% cut of such deals.

Perhaps in another dimension Random House and other publishers as large will follow Poisoned Pen's lead. Belly laugh insert HERE...heheheheheh...not bloody likely.

Most authors whose books have been placed up as ebooks by their publishers are losing money big time, while authors who have their rights back and placing their books up independently and pricing those books at acceptable prices to this market, within this model, are making 30% splits with Apple and 40% with Amazon, and since they are pricing their books lower, more units are being sold.  An eight dollar book sounds cheap but it will sit on the ebook shelf for a year until the price is dropped and suddenly in two days 30 copies are sold, whereas at the 8 buck price it just sat like a stone for a year. Do the math. Lower prices means more sales. 

Wish the oil industry believed that, and OK perhaps this is not true with 3-D movies where prices have tripled all of a sudden, but this is ebooks and Kindle readers and IPad users we are talking about and they have no interest in purchasing ebooks priced at 14 or 15 dollars.

Recently, I was one of many discussing the question of whether or not when talking about ebooks if it is not the SAME product, and in the end the novel and how it is written is the same, yes. But publishing an ebook does not take the gargantuan effort of publishing the paper book. There is no warehousing of ebooks, no stripping of covers, returns, remainders (although a reader can return a book, no mass returns from stores). This last business of returns has been a horrible experience for too many authors over the decades. With Poisoned Pen's move they are saying in essence why not give the author a fair share of profits; why not be magnifcent in a single gesture?  Such thinking is not likely to be followed by the big boys. So once again a good reason to publish with small presses.

I can only hope that other small preesses and medium sized publishers follow Poisoned Pen's example.  Bravor Poisoned Pen.

Finally it is our Whopping Three Year Anniversary doings at ACME AUTHORS... if you have enjoyed our being here, please leave a comment to that effect. We hope to be here for Three More!

Rob Walker
Ongoing contest to name my next novel can be found at Dirty Deeds - Mystery/Suspense Author's Advice -- google it!


EchelonPress said...

I find PP's move interesting and the praise even more so since there are numerous pubs out there, including Echelon, who give the author 50% of what comes in.

There was a time when our authors made 40%, but never less than that on an eBook.

Karen Syed

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats on three years!

And yes, lower priced eBooks sell better.

Tina said...

Congrats to your three years -- over a thousand days and still counting!

I also applaud Poisoned Pen (my publisher) and Echelon (which has always set a high bar in terms of integrity) for their e-book royalties.

I recently read an article (can't remember where -- gotta find it) showing that e-book vs print book is a false choice. When given a third option -- a print and e-book combo -- consumers preferred that option, even if it was the most expensive. Sometimes it's less about pure cost and more about getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak.

Morgan Mandel said...

I predict their generous move will make Poisoned Pen Press the target for more authors to submit. That's a good thing!

Morgan Mandel

Terry Odell said...

Although if you write for a publisher that puts e-books first, you get excellent royalties. Most range in the 30-40% range.

Norma said...

I like the sound of 50% for e-books, but I agree with Terry. My publisher, Wings ePress gives 30%.

Rev. Dr. Anthony Burton said...

Yes, I'm surprised at the over-the-top reaction, too, since my company gives a 40% to 50% royalty on ebooks, and has since it started publishing ebooks.

What's the big deal about 25%?

Tony Burton

Rob said...

The big deal is compared to the major publishers, small press has always been more thoughtful to the author as are you, Tony. Publising with an NYC publisher, I guess the author's take helps pay for overhead, advertising for other authors' books, distribution, etc. Ebook pricing and what authors get percentage wise is all relatively new and so when any publisher announces a larger share of the profits for its entire stable of authors, I find that a cool move. Glad to hear from Karen and you on the fact you have always offered fifty-fifty deals or 40-60 deals.

My own take on it was that this is such a difference to the CEO talk at such places as Random House.

Really appreciate all and everyone's weighing in on this.
Thanks, Rob

kathryn said...

Although if you write for a publisher that puts e-books first, you get excellent royalties. Most range in the 30-40% range.thank you for sharing yoru business ebook