Originally Posted by Stephanie Dray
I'm conflicted about this as an author because my agent tells me that electronic sales are cannibalizing my print sales, but I'm not sure I would mind if it weren't for the lower royalty rate.
Hi Stephanie - Can you elaborate on that? Just curious. Thanks!
I'm certainly no expert in the matter, but as I understand the argument, it goes this way. Let's pretend that I earn 12% royalties on the sale of each print book of my novel. And let's pretend that I earn 6% royalties on the sale of each electronic version. Even assuming that both books were priced the same (and they aren't), you can see that I will make more money on the dead-tree edition.
This gets more complicated by the fact that stores like Amazon sell my books at a deep discount whereas B&N sells them pretty much at list price.
However, this argument of cannibalization only holds true if we assume that the availability of my novel in electronic form has persuaded someone to buy it for their device who may have otherwise bought it in print if the electronic version wasn't available. There is some merit to this idea. Certainly, in addition to research books (which I always want in print) there are other books that I might have bought in print if I couldn't get them any other way. By the same token, I'm quite sure that there are some electronic books that I've purchased that I would never have bought in print because I wouldn't want to clutter up my bookshelves. (I think it's a given that there are many more books that you'll want to read than you'll ever have room for in your house.)
Consequently, I suspect it probably evens out. But I have no cold hard data to back this up.