MaxBarry.com
results may vary

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Tue 01
Dec
2015

Royalties on Paper and eBooks

Writing

Hey Max, I see that there’s digital and physical versions of your books and I was wondering, which sell more copies, and which makes the more money for you?

Matt

If you’re asking because you want me to have more money, then I applaud that sentiment, but you should buy whichever you prefer. You having a better reading experience is worth more to me than the extra 75 cents.

Paper books sell more, for me at least. It’s around 2:1 on Lexicon. But with each book, the electronic share gets bigger. Syrup (1999) is 6:1.

Royalties vary, but ebooks usually sit somewhere between hardcover and paperback. From the average Lexicon sale to date, I have seen:

Hardcover: $2.65

Ebook: $1.70

Paperback: $0.95

It’s less outside the US & Canada. And this only applies once the book has earned out its advance, which is the payment authors get up-front. For example, Penguin thought Syrup was going to sell its socks off and paid me a big advance, and then it didn’t, so I’ve never seen any royalties. But each sale is still good because it washes away a little more of my shame.

My ex-agent Todd once told me that publishers usually break-even on a book before the advance earns out. I hope this is true.

If you self-publish and charge more than a few bucks, you get a much higher return on your books. But you also have to persuade people to buy them, which is hard. Publishers are pretty good at that.

Comments

This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Machine Man subscriber M.I.Minter (#347)

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Quote: "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Posted: 1142 days ago

What about audio books, and will you ever perform one? can you start with good night moon?

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 1135 days ago

Audio is a thing. It's not a big thing.

Let me see. US$1.15 per copy. So similar to paperback.

I will happily read audio books written by other people. Let's have our people connect.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Built on Blosxom