Publishers Aren’t Paying Authors Enough: Coker

REPLAY VIDEO
Your next video will start in
Pause

Recommended Videos

  • Info

  • Comments

  • VIDEO TEXT

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- Author Hugh Howey and Smashwords Founder Mark Coker discuss Amazon’s eBook pricing on “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Hachette, we believe 70% of the total revenue should go to hachette." joining us via skype is an e-book distributor serving small presses and literary agents.

And a published author of several books on amazon.

You have been supportive of amazon throughout this dispute.

What do you think of this latest response?

This confirms everything i've suspected just from watching the company over the years and dealing with them as an author and a publisher.

They went to this back in 2010 fighting for reasonable e-book prices and back then the response from publishers was to form a cartel and colluded with their supposed competitors in order to artificially raise prices of e-books to protect the industry or make as much money as they possibly could off of readers.

It has been to the great detriment of the authors at hachette that they are fighting for the use -- the much higher e-book prices.

I'm glad amazon is finally talking.

We are in a weird situation where hachette has not returned your calls for comment -- usually it is the other way around.

Hopefully this will put pressure on hachette to come to the table and negotiate in good faith.

It sounds like they have not been doing that.

Amazon wants 30% and they also want hachette and the authors to split the remaining 70%, which is different than the way it is today.

I believe authors get something that 25% today.

Can you explain how this is different from what amazon is proposing and what authors actually take away when they sell a book today?

I think some of what amazon is proposing here is a disingenuous smokescreen.

If amazon really wanted to offer consumers lower prices, it would be doing other things differently.

Right now amazon, for self published authors, penalizes the other if they wish -- price there but under $2.99. you earned only 30% of list rather than 70% of list.

Amazon makes it difficult for authors to price their books free.

The only way is to enroll in their exclusive select program.

I don't think this is just about lowering prices.

I think this is about amazon gaining control over the price.

And control over the e-book margins.

If you look at what amazon said in their blog post, they are talking about 70% of revenues.

70% of proceeds.

They are not saying 70% of price.

For the publishers want -- what the publishers want is the freedom to set the room prices and earn 30% list and give the retailer 30% on the e-book.

The publisher wants 70% list.

It should be the j publishr's decision what they pay the office.

I agree with critics that the publishers aren't paying authors enough.

25% net works out to 12-17% of the list price.

If you look at what self published authors are earning, they are earning 60-80% of the list price as their e-book royalty.

There is a big gap in what publishers are paying and what self published authors earning.

Now, amazon makes the argument that the price of an e-book at $14.99, if they reduce the price to $9.99, they sell 74% more books and bring in 16% more revenue.

I want to bring in our editor at large, cory johnson, who has been looking at this as well.

Is it a smokescreen?

I think mark is right to point out how cleverly this is written.

The notion -- the publishers to do the exact same kind of math and they have done their own price analysis.

They don't know for sure that every title is going to have the same pricing dynamics.

They offer themselves as an example to make it seem like math set in stone.

The other thing they are doing is at the end of there are no, which i tweeted out, @corytv, they try to create another area of focus on how much the authors are getting paid, arguing that the publishers should split 50-50 with the authors, pointing out, as if it wasn't obvious, that the publishers don't do this right now, i'm getting authors -- and getting authors ticked off at amazon is a problem for amazon and amazon is trying to sway opinion and seem on the side of the authors.

Do you think amazon cares more about amazon or does amazon actually care about you?

I think amazon cares about amazon foremost, the reader secondmost, and the author the reade -- the author right behind the reader.

I've never been treated as well by any publishers as i have been by amazon financially.

It is night and day.

Mark is trying to make a different argument about you but pricing, saying that amazon publishes -- punishes e-book races that are too -- e-book prices that are too low.

It is not that amazon is just for low prices or high prices.

What they have right now is publishers charging too much for e-books in large part because they are protecting relationships with bookstores with their legacy print industry.

I know this for a fact -- i'm working with over 30 publishers around the world and they told me they cannot lower the price of my e-book because it will upset bookstores.

Your expert who thinks that publishers are doing price analysis, that is not how these decisions are being made by publishers.

They are made emotionally, made because of the existing relationships, because they don't want e-books to gain penetration because it take the power away.

I think people who think that publishers are behaving logically here in the best interest of authors or readers haven't studied the history of this publishing cartel that exists in new york right now.

It is not operating in the best interest of its own authors, and i hope amazon wins this fight and we get e-books at a reasonable rate.

A publishing cartel.

We will be watching to see how hachette response to this.

Thank you so much.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

Advertisement

BTV Channel Finder

Channel_finder_loader

ZIP is required for U.S. locations

Bloomberg Television in   change