Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Revenue Breakdown

We had quite the lively discussion in the comments section on Friday, and one of the results is that I slightly changed my submission guidelines. Steve Fuller pointed out that it is incredibly frustrating for authors to live and die by the query without even being able to include a single page from their manuscript. I'm definitely sympathetic to this, and I'm now asking that queriers paste five pages into the body of the e-mail after their query (but still, no attachments).

After a weekend of queries (100+, which I'm still working through), I'm here to tell you: soooo much better for me as well. Thanks very much to Steve for the suggestion. I had been worried about people sending too many attachments if I asked for sample pages, but so far so good.


There were also some questions about how much an author receives from a book sale, so I thought I'd provide a handy dandy breakdown. This varies greatly depending on what discounts the publisher is extending to booksellers/distributors/wholesalers etc. and what royalty the author is receiving from the publisher. I'm not going to get into what is a "typical" royalty, and please don't consider the below as such, because I can't discuss proprietary info. But here's a basic (and rough) rule of thumb to help with your calculations:

Start with a $24.95 hardcover.

Discounts to booksellers vary, but for a rough estimate figure that the publisher receives around 50%.

Let's say the author has a 10% retail royalty, and the author has an agent who receives 15% of the author's share. This works out to (again, roughly):

$12.48 to the bookseller (50%)
$9.98 to the publisher (50% minus author/agent share)
$2.12 to the author (10% of retail minus 15%)
$0.38 to the agent (15% of 10%)

For another example, let's take a $14.95 trade paperback where the author receives 7.5% retail. That translates to:

$7.48 to the bookseller
$5.83 to the publisher
$0.95 to the author
$0.17 to the agent

So there you have it. Note that the author (and agent) do not actually receive the above money until the advance has "earned out," meaning until all those little $0.95s per book have exceeded the amount the publisher paid as an advance. Subrights revenue, i.e. first serial (excerpts in periodicals), permissions, electronic, etc. also go towards paying down that advance.

Also note that this (thankfully) doesn't include rights the agent/author might have reserved, such as audio rights, foreign, and dramatic rights, which can be very important in helping authors earn enough for a new couch to sit on as they frantically write their next book in the hopes of landing the money for a new coffee table.


tencentnotes said...

WOW thanks for that breakdown - it's incredible how little authors/agents actually MAKE from the sale of books.

lotusgirl said...

I'm excited about the new prospect of being able to send you the first 5 pages in a query submission. I think this will relieve a lot of stress for writers. At least we know that it's a fair assessment of our writing in the book.

That breakdown is very interesting. The author/agent percentage is so small. Whoa! I'm assuming this is for those that don't have a big name. I would think big name authors could negotiate a bigger percentage. Is that the case?

Angela K. Nickerson said...

Oh, and you haven't even addressed returns (a word that strikes fear into my heart). I just want to curl up and hide away when I think of copies of my beloved book headed to the shredder... Sigh.

T. Anne said...

Thanks for the breakdown Nathan. Also, I appreciate the fact you now allow the first few pages along with the query. It's always better to be rated on the merit of your work rather than just a kernel of the idea.

Scott said...

Hey...I think I swallowed an old skool pill. Disregard the email, Nathan. ;)

Anyway, good post, and yep...starting a new screenplay.

Hey, with the odds of hitting about the same, I might as well mix a few in with my other writings. In the event something does sell, maybe I can support myself well enough to indulge my passion for giving away books.

But who writes for the money? Oh right...celebrities. Maybe I should pull some kind of media stunt and then document my experiences.

Hmm...I know! I'll drive up to Alaska and be the Dian Fossey of Polar bears. But, like, a male Dian Fossey.


John Darrin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Darrin said...

Remind me again why I'm doing this. For $2 per book? If all my family and friends buy a copy, I'll have enough for dinner and a movie.

jo said...

Wow. That seems like an awfully small amount going to the author and agent. It kind of makes me feel crazy for wanting to do this with my life. But, oh well. Where would the world be if it wasn't filled with crazy people?

That is a very good idea about the five pages. How much more does that add to your daily reading though?

Kiersten said...

I'm hoping to someday buy a couch with my writing.

Or just a loveseat. I'm not greedy.

Janet said...

Sooooo glad I didn't query you last week then. :o)

Watch out, Nathan. I've been threatening for months, but now the real thing is coming.

It will be so nice to receive a truly prompt rejection. ;o)

Tim Edwards said...

Hi Nathan,

Thanks for the info! It seems pretty similar to what we were discussing in Friday's comments, percentage wise. And as we were saying then, you have to take into account the fact that the publisher has outlayed a fair amount of money to get your book out and onto the shelves, so they have to take that money back before they take a share of the profits as well.

I guess only those who work in the publishing industry would know exactly how much everyone is getting in relation to everyone else.

It is my experience, thought, that ecomoics is rarely just black and white.


kat harris said...

Finally, good news for a change!

Thanks Nathan.

MzMannerz said...

Great information, Nathan, thanks.

Now to just write a book that gets picked up and sold! Should you tire of reading queries and just want to wing it, I will happily bury you in paper. :)

Ink said...

Thanks for the breakdown, Nathan. And did we switch back to the old format because of technical problems? I only ask because for the last few days I've had trouble making it through the word verification. It kept getting stuck on Loading... and no word verification meant no post. Very sad. And very troubling for my graphomania. I started looking around for pens and napkins...

My best, as always,
Bryan Russell

MzMannerz said...

Oh wait - I have a question, and I didn't see it in the FAQ section.

If you query an agent and the agent passes, and you have a new project ready and want to query again (having waited at least six months, natch): should you mention that you've queried before?

It seems akin to saying, "You didn't want to buy me dinner on Saturday, but how 'bout today? I have on a different dress." But I thought I'd ask nonetheless.

Anna said...

are those five pages single spaced or double?

just curious...

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I needed that.

And for what it's worth: I have made it a habit of pasting five pages at the end of my queries as long as the agency doesn't specifically stipulate no samples 'pasted' into a query. Most agencies stipulate they will not look at 'attached' samples. I get that.

I've noticed that by pasting, I am getting requests from agents who ask for queries only. I figure there is no harm in pasting a sample at the end of my query. If the agent chooses to read it that may be the extra bit that tips an agent sitting on the fence after reading the query to request a partial. It's just another arrow in the quiver to woo that agent.

Dara said...

Thanks for the breakdown! I never really knew how much actually went to the author and agent, but I did know it wasn't much.

It definitely makes it clear for me that as an aspiring author, I need to gain an audience and really work on networking and marketing. The more sales, the better paycheck for the author and agent :)

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Numbers, numbers, numbers...

On a different note -

I just happened to be over at the Dystel & Goderich blog...apparently The New Yorker has interviewed Ian McEwan. Posted by agent Jessica Papin, who observes: "McEwan is an astute, observant, idea-driven writer, but he is also a shameless supporter of un-boring, dramatic plotlines."

PS - are we back to the old format for the blog? Or am I just imagining it - it is before noon, after all.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Query + 5 pages...I think my first 5 pages benefit from having a query precede them. I mean, if there's no cover art to give those first 5 pages context...I don't know how other people feel about it...but maybe if you (attempt to) write "literary fiction" (ahem), a little contextualizing doesn't hurt...I mean, there is no section in the bookstore called "literary fiction with global warming as subtext." Etc.

Mira said...

Nathan, you're my hero.

Thanks for changing your query requirment. Hopefully that will not only make it nicer for the author, but easier for you in the long run to see who might really interest you.

And thanks for posting the breakdown. That was really helpful information.

Mira said...

Now that my thank you's are said, I can move on to declaring this system of reimbursement a complete and utter travesty.

Here's my plan.

a. I will write a great, best-selling book. (Note to self: put writing a great, best-selling book on my to-do list.)

b. I will offer my agent 2 points for each point he can get me above 10%. So, if he can get me 15% of the 'take,' he'll make 25% of our cut.

c. Once I'm a best selling author, forget the whole thing. I'll ask my agents to accept bids from publishing houses on my books.

Until that happnes, though, I do wish that current best-selling authors who stand up for changes in the system more.

Anonymous said...

thankyou for this -- now I can explain to friends and family why I am NOT giving up the day job even WHEN I get an agent!!!

sorry -- have to go anonymous as have forgotten google password!!

Bryan said...

Great to see your new submission guidelines. Does this mean I can resubmit to you now?

Dick Margulis said...

Before you authors get all up in arms about how greedy publishers are, let's look at Nathan's "about 50%" that publishers get.

It's actually far less.

The store gets 40% to start (more on this later). The wholesaler and distributor take 25%. Now the publisher is looking at 35%. PPB (paper, printing, and binding) is usually budgeted at 12.5%, but that only applies to print runs over 5,000, which is larger than most most books achieve, especially on a first printing. So PPB is actually higher, perhaps 20%. Still, let's pretend it's 12.5%. So now we're down to 22.5% for the publisher.

Out of that, the publisher paid the one-time costs for editing, design, composition, proofreading, cover design, and cover art. If you amortize that over the first 5,000 copies (a level your book may never reach), that's another 10–15%. So now the publisher has between 7.5% and 12.5% to work with.

Remember the 40% the bookstore gets? In truth, that only puts your book on a shelf, spine out, for 90 days. Want it face out? Want it on an endcap display? Want it on a table at the front of the store? Pay up. Oh, and contribute toward co-op advertising for the book. And pay for the point-of-sale merchandising (posters, dumps, etc.). And, oh, by the way, after 90 days, any unsold books are going to be returned. To the publisher, not to the author.

Take your advance and run. Don't carp at the publisher.

Mira said...

Dick Margulis,

Hmmm. You wouldn't happen to work in publishing would you?

If it helps, I'm personally just as miffed at the bookstores making such a huge percentage of the profit, as the publishers for making such a huge percentage of the profit.

Yes I understand that bookstores and publishers have overhead. Poor things.

So does the author and the agent.

Oh wait. And the author actually wrote the book.

Publishers and bookstores are interchangable. The author is not. The author creates an orginial product that only that author can produce. The author is the most important person in the equation. They, and their representative, should be compensated accordingly.

Nathan Bransford said...


Don't worry, no one is in the process is making enough money off of all of this.

And this is the high-profit model. Try and do the numbers for a $9.99 e-book.

Mira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mira said...

Let me re-phrase that.

Okay, I'll chill alittle.

I forget, we're all friends here.

Melanie Avila said...

That's great news that you've altered your submission guidelines. My query will be coming in the next month or so, and I'm glad I'll have an extra chance to impress you. :)

Dick Margulis said...


No, I don't work in publishing. That doesn't mean I have to choose to be ignorant about publishing, though. I hang out on publishing lists because I edit for both authors and publishers (and self-publishing authors).

I don't disagree that the author is the most narcissistic--oops!--important person in the creation of most kinds of books. But once you set out to sell a product (and a book, in the end, is a product as much as it's a work of art--otherwise, why bother to publish it commercially?), you have to at least pretend that you're part of a product marketing team. And it therefore behooves you to understand how the numbers work.

You can use pretend numbers or real numbers. I prefer to use real ones. If you can cut a sweeter deal using pretend numbers, go for it.

Crimogenic said...

The five pages thing is awesome! I think at less that way, you have a sample of the work in hand from the start.

Diana said...

If the $24.95 book ends up on the $9.95 clearance table at B&N, do all of those percentages get applied to the sale amount, or does the discount come entirely out of the bookseller's portion?

Nathan Bransford said...


Short answer: it depends, but the splits don't apply to remainder sales. Everyone receives a smaller share.

Mira said...


Your comment to me struck me as rather insulting.

That means I would like to agree to disagree. I am also ending our conversation. Once someone moves into the realm of insults, I'm no longer interested in conducting an exchange of ideas with them.

clindsay said...

I think the biggest misunderstanding that folks may have is that they believe the $9.98 a publisher makes on the book is pure profit. It's not. Out of that $9.98 comes the actual paper and printing cost (called the PPB on the P&L), which for a hardcover runs anywhere from $1.75 to $2.25 per copy. This does not include the overhead: rent/mortgage on building, salary of employees working on the book, etc. Additionally, there will be costs not allocated in a fixed overhead cost, such as the cost of freelance copyeditors, typesetters, proofreaders, publicists, etc. Lastly, the combined gross cost of the free & review copies (which can be in the hundreds of copies) comes out of the publisher's share, not the authors.

Dick Margulis said...


Have it your way. Your principal error though is confusing price with profit. In truth, the author's advance, while it doesn't represent a profit in terms of the time invested, is nonetheless more dollars than anyone else in the business makes on a book. The profits publishers and booksellers make on a small percentage of blockbusters subsidize the losses on the rest of their lists.

And if calling your self-centered remarks narcissistic is an insult, hey, sometimes the truth can set you free.


Like Nathan said, it depends. A true remainder, though, is usually overstock remaining after most copies of the book that were ever distributed have been returned to the publisher for pulping and the publisher has declared that edition out of print. In a last, desperate attempt to recoup PPB costs, the publisher sells any undamaged copies in the warehouse to a remainder company at something approaching ten cents on the dollar. How that dime gets divvied up depends on the terms of the author's contract, but anything above that is between the bookstore and the remainder company. The publisher doesn't see that money.

Mira said...

Dick -

After thinking about this, I think I need to cop to starting the insulting tone. I started it, and then got huffy when you got insulting back.


Maybe we can get off on a different foot in the future.

I do want to address one thing you said. I think you may have misunderstood my intent.

It's my perception - correct or not - that the writer is greatly undervalued in the publishing community. The writer is often treated as easily replaced and interchangable. I've seen entire websites devoted to scolding the author, and explaining to them how grateful they should be to get published.

Many of my comments on this blog speak to this. So, saying that the writer is the most essential ingredient in the mix is not meant to devalue the importance of a good publisher and/or seller, but to empower the writer.

I think writers need to recognize that they are not only a valuable commodity, but an original one as well. No one else can write your books.

Valuing yourself and your contribution is not narcissistic.

It's healthy.

Okay, so that's my two cents.

Dawn said...

Thank you for that explanation. It helps make things much clearer for me.

Dick Margulis said...


Thank you. That's a much clearer statement of your meaning, and now I understand it in a different light.

I agree with you that creative writers are undervalued and are treated as a fungible commodity for the most part. This is a consequence of the MBA-ization of American business culture. When publishers were gentlemen (mostly) of inherited wealth who published literature from a sense of noblesse oblige, maybe things were different (and maybe not too different, what with all the starving artists in garrets). But modern publishing companies—the large ones—are run by people beholden only to the stockholders. The only books they're interested in are the ones their accountants keep. To them, writers really are a fungible commodity. All they want to do is throw a pot of books against the wall and see if any stick.

The answer, perhaps, is to seek publication with a small press. Typically, they don't pay advances, but they do put a lot of individual attention and effort into helping an author (as long as the author is willing and able to put effort into helping market the book). This is certainly a more empowering and fulfilling experience, and on average it may pay better, than unsuccessfully banging your head against the wall with the majors year after year. It also has the advantage that if you do well, you may graduate to a major house after all is said and done.

Another possibility is self-publishing (not vanity publishing), which seems to be a successful strategy in a couple of specific genres (SFF and crime, I believe) but is otherwise not a good bet for fiction. It's a process really more geared to nonfiction.

jimnduncan said...

Nathan, I'm curious. You obviously do not have the time to read the five pages off of every query. So, how does one decide, given your already insanely limited time, on which queries to check out pages?

Aaron Stephens said...

Thank you, Mr. Bransford for allowing those querying you to also include the first 5 pages. This is good news to start out the week.

I also appreciate the breakdown you have given.

Mira said...

Dick -

It feels very nice to talk with you in this vein. :-)

I also think we agree about many things here. Publishing is a business, and the ability of a book to make money is primary. The author is not really acknowledged as a true contributor.

It's a wierd industry culture. What bothers me the most is that so many authors tend to buy into it, and see themselves as lucky to be given the smallest crumb.

At the risk of causing us to disagree again, that's why I've been ranting the last few days about the money breakdown.

I really could be wrong, but I honestly percieve that a system where the writer makes 10%, shared with their agent, while the publisher makes 40% and the bookstore makes 50% is inherently devaluing the author.

This is regardless of overhead costs.

Amazon is currently offering the writer 30% in their kindle self-publishing program. That's partly because their overhead is so low, but it may also be because they are looking toward the future of publishing - e-books.

I see e-books changing the whole face of publishing. And I'm hoping, in that process, authors will stand up and demand alittle more respect.

Janet said...

Mira, it is, more than anything else, a question of supply and demand. The supply of would-be writers overwhelms the demand for new books. While it is true that nobody else could write your book, it is also true that there is always somebody else who can write one just as good.

And there is absolutely no way around that. I think this is one of those times where the serenity prayer is very appropriate. Writers will not be a cherished commodity until they are a rare commodity. And they aren't. And they won't be anytime soon.

I'm just aiming to be good enough that at least a few readers will cherish my particular work, so that publishers will keep buying my books. So I'll do my best. And if I don't get taken on, I don't. Them's the breaks. But I'd probably write another book and try again.

Mira said...

Hi Janet,

Yes, this point has come up in these discussions before.

I could be very wrong about this, but I believe the market for books is much greater than people think.

Publishers don't consumer test, and they only provide minimal marketing. It's bizarre. I can't think of any other business that is run that way.

I also think that Rowling and Meyers proved that there is a tremendous audience for books.

I believe that a great deal of the market is untapped.

Besides. Even if someone wrote a book as good, it's still not YOUR book.

I love fantasy. I love Tolkien. I also love Pratchett. I assure you, I have never sat around thinking, "oh it doesn't matter if Prachett didn't exist because Tolkein is just as good." I'd miss Prachett. I want Prachett. And Tolkein.

And Rowling, for that matter. And.......well, I have a long, long list. :-)

Mira said...

Oh, I should add that I don't think it's as easy to write a good book as some people may think. If you can write a truly good book, I wouldn't undervalue your skill.

Kim hanks said...

Hi Nathan,

this is a great post,
i wish all agents do it your way and thanks for the revenue breakdown.

The aspiring "stephen king"

Dick Margulis said...


You said:

"I really could be wrong, but I honestly percieve that a system where the writer makes 10%, shared with their agent, while the publisher makes 40% and the bookstore makes 50% is inherently devaluing the author."

But this is based on a false premise. The publisher doesn't "make" 40% and the bookstore doesn't "make" 50%. In both cases, whatever the actual percentage of the retail price goes through their hands, they primarily distribute that money to employees, landlords, suppliers, etc. They make much LESS than the author--less than the agent, even--on virtually all books. If they turn even a small profit on enough books, they look good at the end of the year, but that's just because of the number of sausage links they squeeze out in the course of a year.

I'm just trying to get you to look at the math more realistically, not saying authors don't deserve to be paid better. But paid better by whom? Should consumers pay more for books, so that everyone involved can make a decent living? You betcha they should. But should doesn't mean will. Consumers want something for nothing, basically. They want to save money on books so they can spend it on something else—and I don't see an easy way to shame them into paying higher prices for books just because you and I need to make a living.

Mira said...


We may need to agree to disagree again.

But, just for fun, let's do one more round. :-)

I'm not sure why I need to worry about what the bookstore and publisher do with the money. If they want to use it to pay employees, pay their rent, or embezzle the books so they can go sking in the Alps - good for them.

I don't see them worrying about what the author is doing with the money.

They don't ask the author questions like: "Is this enough to cover your rent? Do you have enough here to eat out once a week? Can you afford a couch?"

I'm looking at straight percentage breakdown. 10%, 40%, 50%. That does not sound fair to me.

Whether the publisher actually makes a profit off of their 40% is really not my concern. If they're not, maybe they need to look at their business practices.

Also, publishers hopefully have more than one book. So, the profits spread out over all of their merchandise.

The author, on the other hand, only has this one book to try and make their rent.

And it's their book!

J. M. Strother said...

Nice to see you are flexible, Nathan. The first five pages is a very welcome change. Of course, since you are already swamped, it may present some problems for you.

The breakdown on the money was also welcome. Not really surprising, but good to know. Thanks.

Lots of good discussion generated by this post, too.

Mira said...

Oh, I had another thought.

If publishers are having trouble making a profit, maybe they should think about moving out of Manhattan.

I'm heard rents are a bit high there.

Dick Margulis said...


Publishers and bookstores can continue to exist only if they make money. Otherwise they go out of business, leaving writers to publish and sell their own books. If that's the model you prefer, self-publishing is the way to go. Otherwise, you have to deal with the reality that the 50% you want (to pick a number) doesn't leave enough to cover the cost of publishing the book. You may not care where the publisher gets the money to survive, just as the publisher doesn't care if you make a living. But you haven't solved the problem of paying for publication.

Would you like to see publishing subsidized by nonprofit foundations? By the government? By higher book prices that consumers have shown time and time again they're unwilling to pay?

In other words, where is the money supposed to come from? You have to offer something other than the fictitious assertion that publisher and booksellers--both of whom end up with LESS money than the author--should somehow survive at a perpetual loss. Haven't we seen enough bookstores and publishers disappear already?

Mira said...

Well, in terms of who will subsidize the (evidentally) failing publishing business - I don't think it should be the author.

There is a demand for books.

Someone will step in to meet that demand.

And if a publisher's business is at such jeopardy that paying the author 15% rather than 10% will cause them to go bankrupt, maybe they should sell their business to someone who can turn a profit.

Someone who would consumer test and market, for example.

I believe that New York publishing is complacent and quite happy with their power base.

I can't wait for 3-books to shake them up a bit.

Mira said...

Lol. Not 3-books. E-books.

Dick Margulis said...


I have now started and aborted three responses to your last comment. I cannot find a way to respond politely beyond suggesting that you continue this conversation with a trusted financial advisor who can explain the math to you better than I've been able to.

Perhaps we'll engage on some other topic at some point, one that doesn't involve numbers, and be able to make more progress.

Mira said...

Dick -

okay. I'll look forward to those future discussions. This one has been stimulating - even if we couldn't quite find a meeting of minds.

And good luck with your writing!

Allison Brennan said...


Most hardcover books have a scaled royalty system, so the author makes 10% on the first 5,000 sold; 12.5% up to 10,000 sold, and 15% on 15,000 sold and up. In mass market, it's common to have 8% on the first 150,000 units sold and 10% on all titles over that. (my hardcover numbers may be off because I'm not pubbed in h/c) Trade the split is 7.5% and 10% (generally.)

Meaning, there is an economies of scale that come into play. You make more money per book when you sell more books.

I have to sell five mass market books for every one hardcover that my friend sells to earn the same amount of money. But, in general, PBOs have higher print runs and you make it up in the volume.

I agree with Dick--you can't look at the percentages as "the author is getting screwed." Publishers want to keep their author's happy if the author is making money for the publisher--because they don't want the author moving to another house. Publishing is a low margin business. We can argue as to whether the industry needs fixing, but publishing is not getting rich at the expense of authors.

I wouldn't want to be asked to put in money for cover design, shipping, copyediting, printing, sell-in, advertising, and anything else the publisher does JUST FOR MY BOOK. That's not overhead--overhead is lights and medical benefits for editors and computer equipment. There is far more expenses that the publisher incurs to sell MY BOOK. I think that when all is said and done, except for the bestsellers--and I have no idea what the "break-even" point is on a hardcover or PBO--the publisher is making far less than the author per unit sold.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks for sharing, Allison!

Always good to have a bestselling author weigh in on the breakdown.

Mira said...

Allison, I'm really not accusing publishers of getting rich.

By all accounts, they are barely making it. I really feel for them. I'm thinking of sending them an anonymous donation.

What I'm accusing them of is devaluing authors, and the eensy weensy percentage they pay authors reflects that.

If an author pays their agent 15%, the publisher should at least give the writer 15%.

If publishers want to make more money, I suggest they advertise.

I've never, not once, seen a T.V. commercial for a book.

I've never, not once, heard a radio commercial for a book.

I did see, once, in my entire lifetime, a billboard for a book.

How do you sell a product you don't market?

Regardless, I believe the author deserves more of the percentage. YOU deserve more of the percentage on your books.

It's the principle of the thing.

Mira said...

And with that I'll stop.

People are probably getting tired of seeing my name on here.

I've said my piece, thanks for listening.

halseanderson said...

Thanks for doing this, Nathan.

But you might want a follow-up post that gives the math according to the more common price of books for kids and teens. The novel I have coming out next month retails for $18.00

And then there are the deep discount provisions for the chains...

Also, would you consider explaining the breakdown for picture books when the author does not illustrate?

It's a shame that new writers can't come across these realities more often, so they don't get crushed by disappointment (and debt) when they are finally told the truth!

Thanks again for shining a light on all this!


Belynda said...

Thanks for this breakdown. I'm writing a paper on the shift from print to digital publishing, and needed to find a breakdown per unit on a traditional book as a primer for my audience. You even used the same example price! ($14.95) Thanks!

Cat Torres V said...

Great article, as always! I've cited your article and summarized your figures on my blog (, and of course also linked back to your post.

Just thought you might like to know...

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Carlos L. Rivera Miranda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlos L. Rivera Miranda said...

Maybe you don't answer this — hope you do please — because I know for the comment dates this post is old but I'm kind of confused here. I calculated the exercise as you explained in all the parenthesis and the results aren't the same.

I did the calculations as following:

$24.95 Hardcopy

Gross Profit
Bookseller (50%) -> ($24.95 * 0.50 = $12.475 ~ $12.48)
Publisher (50%) -> ($24.95 * 0.50 = $12.475 ~ $12.48) from this gross profit they pay 10% to the Author -> ($12.48 * .10 = $1.25)
Author pays the Agent 15% from his gross profit ($1.25 * .15 = 0.1875 ~ $0.19)

Net Revenue
Bookseller -> $12.48
Publisher -> $11.23 --> calculated by ($12.48 - $1.25 = $11.23)
Author -> $1.06 --> calculated by ($1.25 - $0.19 = $1.06)
Agent -> $0.19

For this results I used the Significant Figures Rule.
In fact, the sum of the Net Revenue (commerce chain) it suppose to result in the same price you precised ($24.95) in this case the sum is $24.96 — creating money from nothing and I think it should exist a coin of $0.005 for this cases — but in financial procedures the results aren't equivalent because the coin I've proposed doesn't exist so someone wins and someone loses in many different ways talking about numbers and business — the Tie-Breaking Rule tells it —.

On the other hand, for me the retailer should be the bookseller because they provide books for sale to customers. The publisher should be the distributor because they find the retailers and the author have his royalty from the distributor (publisher) but after the agent get his part — like a chain —.

Am I right? If not please explain to understand better.
With all my respect, thank you.

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