Author & Publisher Strategies Book and Reading News

Random House UK caught in e-royalties stupidity

The Bookseller reports that literary agents in Britain are steering clients away new deals with Random House UK over different royalty schemes offered to authors based on their sales potential. Lower-selling authors are being offered between 17.5 percent and 20 percent royalties on e-books compared the emerging standard royalty of 25 percent for electronic editions.

A publisher wishing to build a stable of successful authors should not begin the relationship by offering them less than a “proven” author for electronic rights, because the inventory risks are lower with e-books and, more importantly, the authors’ online efforts on behalf of new books can produce far greater results than traditional marketing. If publishers are concerned about sinking costs into the paper publication of new books, they should start the titles out on an e-book and on-demand release and make decisions about paper editions based on the success of these less costly editions.

By “stupidity” in the headline, I mean a lack of judgment.