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stitchingirl
04-08-2010, 09:49 PM
I don't know what the proper thread this question belongs to, so I'm asking here.

I just received "Changes" by Jim Butcher today. It's hardback. And this is what inspired this question.

How do authors get paid when it comes to hardback or paperback books? Or doesn't it make a difference? Do they have a say if it goes to hardback or paperback? Or is that up to the publishing house?

Chris P
04-08-2010, 09:53 PM
I don't know what the proper thread this question belongs to, so I'm asking here.

I just received "Changes" by Jim Butcher today. It's hardback. And this is what inspired this question.

How do authors get paid when it comes to hardback or paperback books? Or doesn't it make a difference? Do they have a say if it goes to hardback or paperback? Or is that up to the publishing house?

The royalties are based on a % of the sale price.

I don't have direct experience, but I think the publisher determines the hardback/paperback status. It's all marketing. The book comes out at $30 in hardback to snag the customers who will pay that price for that author or that book. Once those sales have subsided, the paperback comes out at $17 or $19 to get the readers who have by now heard of the book but don't want to pay the $30, or those who haven't heard of the book and are willing to take a chance at the paperback price.

eqb
04-08-2010, 11:12 PM
How do authors get paid when it comes to hardback or paperback books? Or doesn't it make a difference? Do they have a say if it goes to hardback or paperback? Or is that up to the publishing house?

Authors get paid in royalties, which is usually a percentage of the cover price**. An author gets a higher royalty rate for hardcovers. Next comes trade paperbacks. Mass market paperbacks generally pay the lowest rate.

(But keep in mind that the mmp edition usually sells a lot more copies than hardcover.)

It's the publsher who decides which format(s) to use, and it's spelled out in the contract. Often, if your publisher chooses to sell a hardcover version, they'll make the MMP version available later.

(**Some publishers base the royalty on the net price.)

shaldna
04-09-2010, 11:59 AM
The publisher decides what format, bear in mind that some publishers do not handle hardbacks at all. It's not uncommon for an author to have a book published in hardback with one publisher and in paperback with another.

stitchingirl
04-09-2010, 06:16 PM
I've always wondered about the difference between hardback and paperback meant for the authors.

Now I know..thanks.

Maryn
04-09-2010, 06:52 PM
Paraphrasing what I've heard here from people who know:

Although every writer can negotiate with a publisher, typical royalties for an unknown author might be:

Hardcover royalties of 10% on the first 5000 units sold; 12 ˝% on the next 5000 units and 15% thereafter. (Hardcover figures are rarely different, even for authors who sell well.) Trade paperback royalties are 7 ˝%. Mass market royalties are for 8% for the first 150,000 units sold and 10% thereafter.

First printings for the unknown author lucky enough to get hardbound are typically 5,000 units. Say it sells for $25 (because we sure like our round numbers) and it sells through--all 5,000 copies sell.

$25 x 10% = $2.50 per book in royalties
$2.50 x 5,000 = $12,500--not much considering that it probably took a year to research and write the book, and quite possibly longer. A full time minimum-wage job would earn the author more money.

More often, the unknown author gets trade paperback, the big ones. They’re usually about $15.00

$15 x 7 ˝% = $1.12 per book in royalties--not even half what the hardbound earns.
$1.12 x 5,000 = $5,600, not a wage you could live on.

Or maybe the unknown author goes straight to mass market paperback. They’re often about $8.00. Royalties on 5000 copies comes to $3,200.

Of course, if you happen to write the huge novel of the moment, maybe you sell a half million copies.

Of maybe you only sell 2500.

Maryn, who's sold, ah, zero

Jamesaritchie
04-10-2010, 04:27 AM
One big difference is library sales, and the money there can be substantial.

stitchingirl
04-14-2010, 07:36 PM
Thanks, Maryn.

Your reply's very helpful.

What about those printed in different languages? Like the "Harry Potter" series? Are those with the same publishing house or different ones in each country?

ImogenAnn
04-19-2010, 12:25 PM
My agent negociated a deal with my UK publisher that gave them global rights. That doesn't mean they will publish the book in other countries, but rather they will sell the right to publish on my behalf and keep a percentage as outlined in my contract. The rest goes into my royalties pot. For example, when they have a deal I get an email like this:

...negotiated an advance of xxx euros with xxx publisher payable on signature of the agreement and set against a royalty of 8% of wholesale price for the hardback and paperback editions. No subrights have been granted and the accounting period is once a year in December. Publication within 18 months and the contract is to last for 5 years from the date of the agreement.

The numbers vary according to the territory, print-run etc. This one was for Poland. The sums involved aren't big, but they add up.

eqb
04-19-2010, 03:39 PM
What about those printed in different languages? Like the "Harry Potter" series? Are those with the same publishing house or different ones in each country?

Different ones in each country for the most part. But there's more....

Exactly how that's handled depends on the contract. If you retain foreign rights/translation rights, then you (or your agent) can sell those rights to publishers in other countries. If you sell translation rights, then your original publisher has the sole right to make those deals, and they keep a percentage of the profits.

shaldna
04-19-2010, 03:46 PM
Thanks, Maryn.

Your reply's very helpful.

What about those printed in different languages? Like the "Harry Potter" series? Are those with the same publishing house or different ones in each country?


this depends on the publisher.

for example, in the uk hp is published by bloomsbury, and in the states by scholastic. I assume that there are complicated deals worked out