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(Also another test of dreamwidth crossposting feature)

From a comment posted in James Nicoll's LJ here.

What I want to know is whether authors are getting more royalties due to there being no way to pass DRM'd e-books on to additional readers the way you can pass on a paper book.

I have my doubts, but if it turned out to be true I would consider getting one of the e-book readers.

(I'm buying as few books as possible because I have absolutely no space left in my house for books. The ones that don't come off my to-read shelf, I get from the library.)

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
tedesson
Apr. 21st, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
As with all publishing contracts, it depends on the terms the author negotiated.

I'd like if more books were available as DRM free pdfs, so I could read them where ever I want.
firecat
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
So far I've mostly been holding out for an e-reader that does a good job with PDFs, and that isn't tied to a particular book distributor.
epi_lj
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
What's the value of "good" here? For some values of "good", that's been met for some time, but for some other values of "good", I expect it's an impossible goal until they become significantly larger.
firecat
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I need the PDF to be very resizeable so I can look at pdf knitting charts on it.
epi_lj
Apr. 21st, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Hm. I'd have to see how the Cybook handles that, but I have a friend who has one who I could ask if you like. The Sony resizes PDFs nicely, but only text -- if you choose a zoom level other than the original, all the graphics disappear. (This is a reasonable sacrifice for the type of use they envision, but obviously doesn't help you for your application.)
firecat
Apr. 21st, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have my eye on the Cybook but I don't know how it handles PDFs, and it would be nice to know!
epi_lj
Apr. 21st, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Okay, I prodded him to ask if he'd mind answering some questions. If he's okay with it, I'll put you two in touch -- probably on FB, if that's okay.
firecat
Apr. 21st, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, thanks!
wild_irises
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
I'm trying to imagine a publishing contract that didn't have a per-copy e-book royalty, and as a publishing contracts manager (currently almost two days behind on LJ), I can't figure out how to structure one.
epi_lj
Apr. 21st, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
I don't know the answer, but I'm wondering about the doubts. Is having a contract for a book that doesn't reimburse you per unit sold common in publishing?
firecat
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
For subsidiary rights often you don't get reimbursed per unit sold; the rights are sold for a lump sum and you get a percentage.

For hardcovers you usually get more than for softcovers; and you get a bit less for the first N copies than for the subsequent N copies.

On our book, we got the same rate for e-books as for trade paperback, but they aren't counted together; the first N copies of each are at the lower rate.

I don't know how the contract for our book compares to typical contracts for other kinds of books, or contracts negotiated through different agents, or without the help of one's publishing professional friends. (You know who you are.)
epi_lj
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
That's pretty interesting. I always assumed that authors got x per unit sold (and had kind of supposed that there might be, like there is in music, a value y up to which you were indebted in some way such that you only started getting x per unit sold when the accumulated balance exceeded y, but I didn't know if that was true or not).
firecat
Apr. 21st, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, I left out the part about the advance on royalties.
wild_irises
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Not exactly correct. Subrights are generally sold on a royalty basis, but if there's any advance at all, the advance looks like a lump sum and if it doesn't earn out, that's all you see.

E-books aren't generally subrights, though, they're generally produced by the publisher.
firecat
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
Thanks for the correction!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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