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Digital Publishing Is Real Publishing

twitter birdOver on twitter, thecreativepenn posted It’s not digital publishing. It’s publishing.http://is.gd/4zRMx via @kate_eltham. (Another example of why a bit of time on twitter can make sense.)

The link is to Kate Eltham’s Electric Alphabet (which goes into my RSS reader). There she wrote an article called It’s not digital publishing. It’s publishing.

To which I say a heartfelt Amen!

Trade publishers are finally getting into digital publishing – something they should have done long ago. Oh, some did, but it’s been slower than I think it needed to be.

Trade publishers also want to treat digital presentation of books differently than print version, and pay the authors differently. But the author’s whose work is also sold as digital books should get at least the same royalty, and, I think, probably double or tipple triple that considering the costs involved.

That won’t happen, but as more and more so-called self-publishers become small presses we’ll see some shift in that direction I suspect, particularly if authors insist on it in their contracts.

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/AnneWayman


Image by Jean-Luc David’s photostream

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • You are right, Ann, the old guard publishers were slow on the uptake – and they’re paying the price now as Amazon et al suck the margin out of book sales.

    I read an interesting article a few weeks ago that explained the economics behind the decisions to not immediately issue some new releases in digital format – Sarah Palin’s book was the example. It sounded so short-sighted and really read like an obituary for print publishing.

  • The royalties paid for digital publishing should reflect the fact that an author, without huge expenditures, can market his/her own book quite nicely without a publisher. Traffic is a problem, but I see co-ops springing up all over the web. Digital publishing is still in its early days. It will be interesting to see how it goes from here.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

  • I think royalties should be, and is, tied to the revenue. The author and publisher should split the revenue left after costs are deducted from revenue. Digital publishing probably pays lower royalties because the product sells for a lower price.

    And I suspect that the negativity associated with digital publishing originated when the earliest companies were simply not quality publishers. To this day, some of the biggest names in print-on-demand offer third rate services designed mostly to con wanna-be authors out of money. Not to say there hasn’t been and aren’t still vanity publishers in print, but in the old days, the high cost of a minimum publishing run eliminated 99% of the wanna-bes. Today, it costs nothing to get a Library of Congress number for your self-gratifying manifesto, so you can claim to be “published,” and every wanna-be out there is doing it.

    So no, there is no difference between digital and print publishing, but there are huge differences between a reputable, professional publisher, who has “skin in the game” for every title in their catalog, and a digital publisher with essentially nothing but web marketing skills and whose only investment in the title is a few MBs of storage and the cost of signing a contract.

    One could also claim that “Yugos are cars too,” and equate them with Rolls Royces in their ability to transport a person down a road.

    • Anne

      Ron, good points and there are trade publishers who print on paper who are, well, questionable. Or at least don’t work to publish anything but porn or violence erotica, etc.

      I had a publishing contract with the old Prentice Hall and send them both hard copy and the manuscript on two! 5-1/4 disks… they called and asked what they were supposed to do with them. Traditional publishing has been slow to pick up digital – and as semi-Luddites pretended for a long while that there’s was the superior positron.

      Publishing of any stripe can be grand or godawful and everything in between.

  • jack

    But the author’s whose work is also sold as digital books should get at least the same royalty, and, I think, probably double or tipple that considering the costs involved.

    Hard to get away from the ol’ Freudian Slip….

    • Anne

      lol, tipple! When I read royalty statements I’m tempted… thanks for the heads up Jack.

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