The Kindle bestseller list on Amazon, as of a few mins ago:
1, 2 & 4- Stieg Larsson – £2.68
3 – Dan Brown – £2.79
5 – David Nichols – £2.70
6. Carole Smailes – £0.36
7. William Shakespere – £0.75
8 – P G Woodhouse – £0.75
9 – Kathryn Stockett – £2.76
10 – Stephen King – £2.70
For all those who continue to get their journalist friends to write articles where they can whine about E-book royalties being far too low and they should be 75% or something like that, look at the prices above. This is how people like Amazon think they should sell e-books.
Now I don’t have exact figures on material costs, but if memory serves a decent enough sized printrun for a paperback will mean the manufacture costs are less than a pound per book. If you remove one pound from the price of a book, the price isn’t as low as £2.70, and that’s not even taking into account the VAT that is due on e-books but not physical ones. My point is, if all books are sold at this price, a typical discount of 62% using the Stieg Larsson prices, the publisher makes bugger-all money.
That money is spent on several things, the most important of which is advances where I’m concerned, because I like to eat and not live in poverty for the time it takes to write and publish a book, and secondly editing (which has two distinct functions at present, one to make my books better and the second to act as a quality filter, so Waterstones etc know which books were read by at least half-a-dozen folk who know what they’re talking about, and which ones someone paid to publish because they believe in their own genius). There’s also the marketing and publicity teams (because word-of-mouth success is much harder than people realise and doesn’t produce results for many folk) plus sales to ensure shops have books to sell, and accounts to run everything in a way that means you get sent cheques. These things don’t happen by magic, they get paid for and a company needs to make more than negligible money to do so.
So please, for a while stop whining that these books don’t cost anything and the author should earn three quarters of the income. The second book doesn’t cost anything really, the first one costs a whole damn lot and publishing isn’t a charity – what it is is an industry where anyone coming in to look at the books tends to ask why the hell people bother with companies that earn so little. If you want to complain about something, do so about the supermarkets and online retailers who think books should be half the price, the majority of the population who don’t read because it requires concentration, and the part of the human brain that mostly only cares about getting a big discount. I have my complaints about publishing of course, but trying to grab headlines isn’t going to help those, and talking crap even less so.