Will Writers Get Screwed Again?

This thought came about as I read Dagstine’s post on the new Kindle DX.  I’ve never been a big fan of e-readers. I never really had a concrete reason why, but each time I hear about them, I get this sense of foreboding. In fact, it wasn’t until he posted that, that the dark cloud made itself known.

It’s about the money. Not the cost of the Kindle DX or the lower end Kindles, though I find them too overpriced to justify a purchase-even if money weren’t an issue-it’s the money a writer gets.  Suppose the average royalty is 10%, an average Hardcover is $25.00, that’s 2.50 per book. The average for an e-book via Kindle is 9.99, that’s .99 cents per sale-a full dollar fifty less.  

That’s a huge difference. In small press terms, a 500 print run would gross you 1250 bucks; an e-book, would gross you 495 bucks.  That’s a 755 dollar difference. Now if the publisher offers both, then more power to the writer. But what if they only start offering e-books?

Suddenly you’re looking at a lot less money. With all the hoopla about e-books, and getting your work out to even more people, no one seems to be thinking about the pay. We can all talk about the art, and everything that goes with being creative, but the bottom line is, we also want readers, and that means being compensated.

Will writers revolt? Will they demand higher royalties? Will they get them, if they do? It’s unchartered waters, and I have the sinking feeling writers are destined to get screwed again. 

This time, if they (we) do, it will be our fault. You can’t see a tornado coming and sit on the porch and expect nothing to happen.