E-Book Royalty Battle

Have you seen this article yet?  If you're an author (or someone who loves e-books) you really should.  The gist:  Publishers and authors are arguing over what a fair price paid (royalty-wise) for e-books is.

Publishers argue that the money gained sustains them to take more risks on new writers, not just pay employees and whatnot.  But what if the writer you're badgering to accept the deal is fairly new?  What if he/she is struggling?  He/She works a full-time "normal" job and then goes home and writes.  Is it fair to diminish that?  Is it fair to keep one writer in the red so you may add another?

Writers say e-books are cheaper than physical books for publishers to produce so they can give more royalties.  I can't fault the logic too much on that as there is truth in it.  But, by the same token, a beginning author doesn't know how much was invested in them at the start.  Perhaps it was more than thought.  Or maybe the economy was hard on sales.  Then again, should an author shoulder blame for things outside his/her control?

Honestly, I think e-books should have higher royalties and (if the author can prove significant strides in the way of, say, self-promotion) there should be room to renegotiate if things go well enough.  Or we could split the difference and begin at 37.5% since one group says 50% while the other 25%.

One last note:  There should never be language in a contract granting rights to a publisher in regards to formats, distribution, or media that hasn't been invented.  No one knows what a good agreement will even look like 25 years from now.  At the time of the technology's appearance an author can decide to draw up a contract with the place that holds the other rights... or not.  Period!

What do you guys think of all of this?  What is fair?


  1. I haven't really thought much about this. Truth is, I haven't been much of a fan of eBooks. I do so love the real thing! However, I'm starting to like them more. They are finding their place in my life. :)

    1. I'm thinking about getting an e-reader, I haven't yet.
      I can't bring myself to read on a computer through an application.