Monday, July 7, 2008
Today I thought I'd address ebooks. I'm not talking about ebook publishers, like the small press that published my suspense novel, DESERT GUARDIAN. I'm talking about ebook technology.
Ebook reading devices are becoming more popular despite their inflated price tag. Now that Kindle is on the scene, ebooks have become the talk of pub town. Paper will never go away, but ebooks are here to stay. I don't have an ereader like a Kindle or Soni, and I'm embarrassed to say I've never read an ebook for that very reason. But with the promise of ebook readers becoming an affordable gizmo for the book-reading technorati, it's obvious all published books will soon be available both digitally and on paper. It's inevitable publishing evolution.
This is an exciting time for publishing. Fewer books will be printed on paper, which is better for the environment and for a publisher's bank account. The big New York publishers may finally become profitable again, which is good news for authors. Or is it? Some authors are afraid this will mean lower advances against royalties. This logic doesn't make sense to me because publishers buy content, and the content for paper books and ebooks are the same. So why would advance amounts change?
I think I know why authors fear advances will go away. Small ebook publishers, like my own publisher The Wild Rose Press, don't give advances. Instead they offer higher royalty percentages (on the net price of the book, but that bitter pill is best left for another blog day) that are paid after sales and on a quarterly basis. So there's no risk. Many authors think that if publishers change to the ebook model, advances will go the way of the dinosaur. But I seriously doubt it.
I believe that the cutback on printing costs will allow higher advances for authors. Small presses don't have the capital, but the big publishers do. Small presses don't have the sales, but the big publishers do. The quality of product offered by both will stay the same. Nothing much changes but the channels of distribution for NY publishers and the decreased manufacturing costs for their products. Expenses go down, profits go up. It's a win-win for everyone.
Now about those high-priced ebook readers…