Argh, Pirate, Argh!

Just to give you some context into a flawed industry.

On average, a traditionally published author makes around 12% of the sale price of a book. Oh you might think, that’s not so bad. But wait… there’s more to it.

If a book, say for example, The President’s Keepers by Jacques Pauw, retails for R287, the author only makes somewhere in the region of 12% of the WHOLESALE price, NOT the retail price.

And the wholesale price is usually between 40 to 55% less than the retail price. (The bookshops and distributers and warehouses and publishers need their slice of the pie too.)

Which means, at the end of the day, the poor author, after researching, writing, selling, editing, crafting and launching a book, then spending 6 months publicising the hell out of it (for free), only makes around 12% of the wholesale price of each book sold. Somewhere in the region of R8 – R12 per book.

That’s it, that’s all… That’s what authors use to pay the rent, buy groceries and shoes and help support themselves while they get started working on the next book. And remember, most books take anything from 6 months to ten years to write, sell, craft and publish. So amortize +-R10 per copy over that time, and see what monthly salary you get. (The average fiction title only sells about 600 copies. Obvs non-fic like this, much more.)

Like I said, a flawed industry.

So if you are sharing that pdf, the only person you’re really hurting is the author. [Edit: as many of my colleagues have pointed out, successful books pay for exciting new debut authors to be published down the line.] SO you punish the authors, when in fact, they’re the people you should be thanking/buying a beer.

Don’t do it please, it’s so not lekker and it’s so not sticking it to the man.

And if you do share it, whatever you do, save yourself, don’t share it with me!

For more on this, including what it costs to publish a book, and estimates from publishing industry insiders on how many sales of The President’s Keepers have been lost due to piracy, click here. 

3 responses to “Argh, Pirate, Argh!”

  1. Agreed. Yet I’ve never understood the tiny commission even for electronic books where face it, the distribution is by algorithm with few people and no paper, warehousing, transport, shelf space or unsold stock to take care of. How do “they” explain that, Paige?

  2. And of course, in this case, the publisher and author are going to be forking out an unusually-high amount to defend this book in court. The challenges are already starting.

    On the bright side, the Kindle version went to #9 on the global bestseller list on Kindle, and royalties on that are a lot higher, so hopefully it’s all going to turn out well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *