Re: e-books pricing

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue Jul 25 2000 - 19:55:41 MDT

Here are two responses to listers' comments that I passed along to Steve,
an e-publisher at Fictionwise. Please note: what follows is not ME writing,
this is A PUBLISHER in the States. Any responses to this should maybe cc.
Steve at

Stephen Pendergrast <>

He writes:

All three formats we sell (Palm Doc, Acrobat, and Rocket) have a search
feature built-in, so there is no need to convert to another format to do a
search for a word or phrase. Authors and their agents get antsy if you let
people manipulate the files, so we don't explicitly allow that.


I am the first to admit that ebook pricing is a complex issue. You are
correct that there are other considerations that reduce production costs.
However, there are also other factors that increase costs. For example,
print books typically pay authors about 7 to 10 percent royalty, while
ebooks typically pay more. At Fictionwise we typically pay 30% royalty to
an author, triple a typical print publication rate. Our advances also
somewhat exceed typical reprint advance rates.

It is necessary to pay authors a higher percentage because many are wary of
publishing in ebook format. In any case, there is some logic that part of
the savings should go to the consumer, and part of the savings should
go to the authors, who, as Damien will no doubt attest, find it hard enough
as it is to make a living from their unique skills.

I will also note that we do not charge anything for "shipping," so that
part of your equation is indeed also passed onto consumers. In the case of
Eidolon magazine being shipped to other countries, this is a significant
cost reduction that is directly passed on, allowing people to sample this
magazine for far less than they could
otherwise obtain it in the USA and other countries far from Australia.

As for advertising costing less, you are incorrect on that point.
Advertising costs just the same for ebooks as it does for any other
venture. In fact, because most ebook ventures are new, they must actually
advertise *more* than established print publications.

So, these things are quite complex, but I stand by my assertion that the
retail price of an ebook should be something like 10% less than an
equivalent soft cover publication for fictional works, with additional
savings going mostly to the author and perhaps a bit for the publisher as


via Damien Broderick

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