Tuesday, 2 November 2010

E-books price fixing accusation

It seems that the publishing industry has learned nothing from the woes of the music industry with regard to downloads. The Bookseller reports of customer anger at the high prices some publishers are charging for e-books, with the pubishers concerned being accused of 'greediness'.

We all know publishing is a business - that's a given. Also, publishers have to not only cover costs, but make a profit. To me, however, this charging practice looks likely to backfire badly. At one end of the spectrum, readers appear to be being charged an unrerasonable amount for a download, and at the other, debate rages about an author's royalty on an electronic product. The Society of Authors recommends that a writer's share should be in the region of 45 per cent, rather than the standard book royalty of 10 per cent, due to the huge reduction in direct costs. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that this is far from the case, with writers having to battle for every extra percentage point.

With pressure from both ends, as it were, something has surely got to give. With customers able to choose to purchase only those 'fairly' priced books (or download books for free - even some of my titles are available as illegal downloads, never mind those of best-selling fiction authors) and writers able to choose to e-publish privately, mainstream publishers following this or a similar policy may find themselves out in the cold!

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