Royalties are a fast-moving element of publishing operations, and we can expect more important changes in 2022. At MetaComet we’re keeping a close eye on developments and ensuring that our royalty management solutions respond to them. Here are five of the biggest trends we’re watching at the moment.
Subscriptions are an increasingly significant element of publishers’ revenue. Providing consumers with convenient access to digital content like ebooks and audio, they have been embraced by a range of third-party platforms that aggregate thousands of titles, as well as by publishers offering subscriptions to their own libraries.
The convenience of subscriptions provide became even more apparent during lockdowns, when people could access digital content easily and quickly. Several market reports have noted the proliferation of platforms including ‘all-you-can-read’ ebook programs, ‘all-you-can-listen’ audio subscriptions and schemes that provide users with weekly, monthly or annual credits for purchases. These and other models bring complex new issues for publishers’ royalty calculations, and MetaComet’s accounting software makes it much easier to correctly allocate revenues.
2. Sharing the risk
The ease and speed of distributing content, via ebooks, print-on-demand and other methods, has led to a new hybrid form of publishing, in which publishers and authors share development costs. For publishers this reduces financial risk, while for authors it increases upfront investments but leaves them highly motivated to promote and sell the resulting content. In return for taking on a greater share of costs, authors will secure a higher royalty rate, which in some cases is multiple times the industry standards. This can make hybrid publishing an attractive option for authors, and more growth is likely in 2022.
3. Ebook royalties
The vocal debate between publishers and authors about the right level of ebook royalties goes on. Authors’ arguments that ebooks should command a higher rate than their print equivalents, because of the reduced level of work and investment involved, have been accepted by publishers to some degree, but consensus on precise figures remains some way off.
4. Remote working
The increase in remote working that we have seen since early 2020 has had major implications for all publishing activities, and royalty management is no exception. Collaboration requires secure cloud-based systems and seamless integration with other management software in a business, and MetaComet’s platforms deliver both.
5. Push-button royalties
From a publisher’s perspective, perhaps the most significant development in royalty management is the growing level of automation involved. This has dramatically reduced the manual labor that goes into calculations, and increased the accuracy of statements. MetaComet’s new Royalty Tracker platform features the highest level of automation seen to date, and brings push-button royalties close to reality.