Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fair Trade books?

I've mentioned previously about the incredibly low royalties authors are getting these days from traditional publishers.

You pay $20 in a bookstore for a book, only to discover, later on, perhaps from reading this blog, that the author got maybe 80c royalty for it.

No wonder so many authors are ditching their publishers and going "Indie".

Image © Fair Trade Foundation
I'm calling it 'Fair Trade Books' because more of the money is going to the creator instead of the middle-men (publishers, distributors, bookstores etc). Just like the bananas, tea and coffee - when you buy it, you know more of the money is going back to the source - the people who made it - rather than the traders in between.

But I've also been keeping track of royalties from electronic sales for indies, and it's not pretty.

My favourite place to sell at the moment is Apple's iBookstore. They pay the author (or the publisher, if it's going via a publisher first) a royalty of 70% based on the sale price. Whatever the price. 70% no matter how much you charge for it.

Wherever you are in the world.

For example. I'm selling my earlier two Ondine titles for $2.99 in the USA iBookstore. I'm getting 70%, which is $2.10 in royalties, per sale. Which is WONDERFUL!

And I thank every single reader from the bottom of my heart for supporting the Ondine books.

However, Amazon does not have a flat royalty rate, and it's seriously confusing and frustrating.

To get a 70% return from Amazon, the books must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99.
Below that, they give you a 35% royalty. And above that they give a 35% royalty. They are trying to squeeze publishers and authors into a narrow price range. I get why they're doing it, but it's arbitrary and unfair.

In the UK, Amazon gives authors 70% royalty rate on all e-book sales where the cover price is between £1.49 and £7.81.

Because another thing - that 70% royalty is only for sales in the UK, USA, and a few European countries.
Everywhere else in the world is 35% royalty, no matter what the price is.
Australia is one of these 'elsewhere' countries and I can't help feeling, as an Australian author, that I'm getting ripped off.

For a start, the first two titles are sold via my publisher, for $5.54.
The publisher (Egmont) will only get $1.93. This is the 'net' price I talked about in the earlier post.
So the author (me) will receive $0.19

When I'm selling books 3 and 4 of Ondine around the world, I'll be setting the price at $3.99.
Sales from Amazon USA will give me $2.79 in royalties.
But Australian Amazon sales will only mean $1.35 in royalties.

Same price for the reader, same download.

I have no idea who pockets the rest. Amazon, maybe?

Amazon is so big I can't afford not to sell on their site. But I will be doing my best to redirect readers to the iBookstore instead.

It doesn't cost the reader anything more to buy 'Fair Trade', but it will mean a LOT to the author to make sure they get the most out of their royalties.

2 comments:

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