Wednesday, 9 July 2014

1718 - Amazon....

Amazon's customer profiling always makes me laugh when the manage to send me a link to one of my own books...!!!  Please note that this will be for the paperback edition. In fact, it looks like Amazon won't be getting the hardback at all, as I can't find it listed there. The special pre-order discount offer running on the Quilt Museum's website is for the hardback, which is a more limited edition, so if you want a hardback, order now.  There will only be hardbacks available from the first edition, which is coming out simultaneously in hardback as well as paperback, and the hardbacks are usually never reprinted.

I read the following article in the Guardian yesterday - Author's incomes collapse to abject levels

I left a comment -

"I'm a non fiction author. One of the problems with income from royalties is that the retail price of books, and therefore publisher's receipts of which royalties are typically a 10% share, have scarcely risen in twelve years. The cover price of my first book was £17.99 in 2003 and the cover price of my next one, scheduled for August 2014, is £19.99. You hardly need to bother with the maths to see how the cost of living has risen during the last eleven years and the spending power of the £ decreased, making royalties from a sale today worth significantly less than a decade ago. Factor in the bulk discounts available to the big retailers compared with the smaller discounts traditionally available to smaller bookshops (25 - 40% typically, depending on wholesaler) and when the likes of Amazon are dominating online sales, it is easy to see how authors are receiving less and less. In proportion to income, the cost of a full colour hardback book has fallen dramatically in the last thirty years and the public expect books to be cheaper than ever.

"To make £50 - 70k writing commercial fiction at a 10% of publisher's receipts royalty rate, as mentioned by another commentator, your publisher's receipts must be at least half a million a year from your titles, which means the retail value of your books is around a million GBP. If the average price of a paperback novel is £10, that's 100,000 books sold a year, which is very good going for fiction."

The first paragraph also explains why authors make much more if you buy a book from them personally, say at a quilt show - they get the bookseller's discount, which is worth far more per copy than royalties.

The 1718 was written to help raise funds for the Quilters' Guild and the Quilt Museum, so if you buy your copy from the Museum or the Guild, you'll help fund raise even more, because they will get the bookseller's discount as well as the royalties on the book.

My first full-time job was in a bookshop in the 1980s, which is one reason I have a good overview of book pricing from then to now!  I worked in Galloways, Aberystwyth's university bookshop - a big independent bookshop, with three floors of books and stationery and a second hand/antiquarian department next door.  The kind of bookshop that is rarely seen nowadays.  It closed several years ago.


Heather said...

While I understand that large distributors like Amazon receive the most substantial discounts, they also allow books to reach a wider audience. Here in the US I was able to order the hardback version of your book. It was listed on the same page as the paperback edition. I would not have such easy access to the museum, although of course I would prefer to support them. Please therefore bear in mind that your book is more widely available.

Susan Briscoe said...

Hope you enjoy the book when it arrives - my hardback preview copy looks great, with beautifully sharp photos. I appreciate that Amazon does makes books more widely available, but the UK one isn't listing the hardback now - which is strange, because when I looked last week, they had it listed. I'm happy for readers to buy books where they want - I buy books on Amazon too, often out of print ones from Amazon's marketplace - but, from talking to quilters at shows, I get the impression that quite a lot of readers don't know about how the royalty system works. I won't be getting the royalties for this title - they're going to the Guild and museum - but I've met lots of readers who think the author's royalty is based on the price on the back of the book, when that's rarely the case. The subject of authors' incomes has been in the news over here in the last few days, much of what's being reported applying to both non fiction and fiction authors.