General Question

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do authors get more money from ebooks or physical books?

Asked by Aethelflaed (13752points) March 3rd, 2012

Sometimes, I’m not really sure if I should buy the ebook or the paperback. Especially when I’m specifically buying a new copy (as opposed to buying a used, and much cheaper, copy) because I want the author(s) to have money for this work. But I don’t know if they get paid less for one work – maybe if I buy the Kindle version, they get 50% of what I pay, but if it’s the paperback, they only get 30% of what I pay. Maybe it’s actually the exact same amount of money, but a reduced percentage to cover the cost of making a physical book.

Is there some guide out there on this? That, sure, authors are mostly just happy you’re buying their book, but if they could chose for you which version you’d buy based upon how much money they get from each, they’d choose….???

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3 Answers

Moegitto's avatar

From what I learned in college paperback get’s them more money. Ebooks are only selling the usage rights, which cost less. Paperback/Hardback/Physical books pay the author more due to a set percentage they get from each copy sold, this number is always higher than usage rights. Ebooks your mostly paying the provider for allowing you to download from their server.

Jeruba's avatar

Judging from what I’ve heard authors say, it seems to depend on whether the author self-published or the book was released through a traditional commercial publisher. A book that is sold and promoted by a commercial publisher is going to sell more copies, but the author’s percentage is small. The author gets to keep most of the selling price of a self-published ebook but will typically sell far fewer copies.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Jeruba How do I find out the difference? I would assume that if it’s self-published, I won’t even have an option other than ebook, but I really don’t know.

What about smaller publishers? The book inspiring this question is published by a company that “is a nonprofit, collectively run book publisher with more than 250 titles in print.”

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