I HAVE been pondering the real agenda behind the big publishers’ constant whingeing about eBooks eroding the literary standard.
The Big Publishers – there is only a half-dozen throughout the world – go by other names such as legacy publishers or heritage publishers which makes you think they belong in a museum.
I’ve decided the BPs have a short-term objective of retaining reader loyalty to their brands as the literary world goes digital.
The BPs are making a killing from the very eBooks they are raising hysteria over. They receive more than 52% of eBook cover price and their authors receive less than 18%.
(Speaking to one author, I found there is confusion out there because some writers think their cut is 25% of eBook cover price. It is actually 25% of the 70% publishers receive from eBook retailers such as Google and Amazon.)
If the BPs can convince readers to pay $15 to $25 for an eBook to reward literary talent (which receives less than $3-5 of the purchase price) the money will keep rolling in during the short term before Amazon develops a winning strategy to drive down prices.
I believe the median-term strategy is for the BPs to retain their best-selling A-List writers.
The A-listers could be getting the full 70% royalty from Amazon.
Sure they would have to pay for their own editing, layout, cover design and promotions. But 52% of a best-seller can buy top quality in those services.
The authors would then broker a print-only deal with a mid-range publishers to ensure book-shop distribution..
All of this is a bad scenario for the BPs.
Rumours abound the BPs are cutting loose or are about to cut loose their mid-list authors.
No doubt they will tell their A-listers it will allow the publishers to devote more resources to them.
But what if they A-listers bail anyway? Where are the mid-listers to take their place?
Such interesting times ahead while the humble self-publishers go about their toil.