November 11, 2008

A writer’s view on ePublishing

Original Post from March 3rd 2008.

In this article in the Guardian (UK Newspaper) an author (Kate Pullinger) comments on how writers need to wake up to the changes in publishing in an electronic world.

She points out that publishers are offering authors/writers the same royalty structures they offer for printed versions, despite the (perceived) vast cost savings in electronic editions.

"Why should we [writers] sign contracts giving us a paltry 15% royalty in an industry where actual costs are being massively reduced overnight?" she asks!

No mention is made of the lower retail price and lower-price expectiatons of buyers of eBook editions.

It opens a couple of interesting discussion topics:

1) Does the value of what you write depend on the medium (and it's costs) that the reader uses to consume it?

2) Should the cost savings be passed along to the reader as lower retail costs for electronic editions, should they translate into increased margins for the publisher, should they translate into increased royalties for the writer or all three? If all three, how should they be spread between the reader, the publisher and the consumer (and the companies in the middle making electronic publishing possible) and the device provider who enables the electronic consumption and wants a slice of the content pie too?

The comments are almost as interesting as the main article, partly because of the additional space dedicated to them in contrast to the short original article. Many of them seem to be from small publishers, and (unusually) from the author of the article also replies (which I note helps to keep the discussion polite and on track in contrast to most imbecilic blog-post comment trains!).

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