With the recent completion of Digital Bookworld, the “royalty on ebook” debate is gaining steam. Sessions at the conference regularly broached the topic. The general consensus has been that there is no consensus. The content creator side of the business (e.g. The Author’s Guild) is pushing for a 50% royalty. The loudest publishers have put their stake in the ground at 25%. As devout readers of royalty contracts (a perk of being a royalty software provider), we have seen both numbers used in practice.
Now Macmillan comes along and says no, even 25% is too high. They recently announced that they would be paying 20% royalties.
This is interesting. Very interesting. If a precedent will be set, these are the actions that will be creating it.
They announced many other changes to their “standard” contract as well. All changes which I believe provide clues to their vision of the future.
For a great summary of these changes and their implications, read this entry on Richard Curtis’ blog.