Sunday, December 13, 2009
Traditional publishers cling to old business models when offering established authors e-book deals
Traditional, old-economy book publishers are trying to defend old business models as they deal with the e-book market, and established authors (and their estates) find that the publishers seem to be low-balling them on royalties for e-book reprints, according to a story by Motoko Rich in the Dec. 13 New York Times, “Plot twist for familiar works: who owns the e-book rights?”, link here.
Yet in some cases the book publishers, like Random House, claim the exclusive right to continue to represent certain authors or their estates.
In the long run, this could make bankable new authors less willing to deal with traditional publishers, some agents warn, even though agenting and book publishing has become a very numbers-driven business that tends to weed out midlist authors.
I’m reminded of a 2001 book by Donald Maass, “Writing the Breakout Novel: Inside Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level” (Writer’s Digest, 0-89879-995-3). The most important think for a novelist’s career was to stay on that top tier.