In a most interesting post, writer Maya Reynolds discusses Evan Schnittman’s position on royalties. Schnittman’s comments are important because he was the vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press, which he just left to become managing director of group sales and marketing for print and digital at Bloomsbury.
You should read her whole post, but here is a snippet:
Schnittman goes on to say:
Is there a new willingness to explore new models and new ways of doing business? A new scheme that replaces high advances with high royalties? The answer is, of course, NO WAY! The advances on new books are as immutable as ever and one would be laughed out of contention for any book where such a trade-off is proposed.
This is where I really have a problem with Schnittman’s post. He says that authors (or their representatives) are taking a “win at all cost negotiation” stance.
That’s a lot of baloney. It completely ignores the reality of recent history. Writers have been asking about higher e-book royalties for several years. I know I questioned my agent about it in 2006 when I signed my first contract with a Big Six publisher.
The Big Six flatly refused to consider a higher e-book royalty. I actually believe they did everything they could to slow down the growth of the e-book market even while they built their digital warehouses. Remember that Big Six publisher who priced the e-book HIGHER than the price of the trade paper version? Remember the argument that they hardly saved any money at all when releasing e-books despite lack of printing, shipping and warehousing costs?
e-Book royalties climbed to the present 25% standard when publishers realized they had no choice, not because they were being reasonable and striving for a win-win with authors.