Macmillan Lowers E-book Payments to Authors

More fuel for the fire. Macmillan is cutting royalties for authors on e-books to 20%, when the industry standard is more like 25%. John Sargent, CEO at Macmillan, sent out a letter to agents on Monday advising them of the change. Somehow the NYT got a copy of the new contract.

Says Richard Curtis, a literary agent who posted the letter on his blog,

“The point is whether we should be playing on such a low ballfield at all,” Mr. Curtis said, “and whether the industry should not really be thinking about a 50 percent royalty of net receipts.” He argued that because the cost to publishers of producing e-books was so low, authors should get a higher proportion of sale proceeds.

Indeed, Laurence J. Kirshbaum, a literary agent and former publishing executive, said: “I don’t really understand the logic since e-books really do not require any additional work on the part of the publisher.”

Please read the one comment at the bottom from Andrew Kennedy, as well. Go get ’em, tiger!


3 thoughts on “Macmillan Lowers E-book Payments to Authors

  1. Digital Dame says:

    It just frosts my ass. Here’s a publishing exec and an agent admitting there’s no justification for it. I don’t expect to get rich either, and I don’t begrudge anyone making a living in the publishing business, but why should agents be able to afford a house in the Hamptons while the writers are struggling to pay bills? Why are the writers always the last ones considered in this equation? I’ll have to see if Harlan Ellison has weighed in on this, I can only IMAGINE what he’ll have to say 😉


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