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?
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:
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.