Fair trade ebooks: how authors could double their royalties without costing their publishers a cent


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/16/launching-with-walkaway-apr-25.html


I’m a traditionally-published author of middle grade children’s books. I’m decidedly what would be called “mid-list.” I’d love to use this platform. Please keep us posted on how to apply/register/participate. Even if just people on my distribution lists got my books there, it would help me make a living at this.


My first thought was that this could be a contractual problem for some authors, and I see that in fact the site doesn’t sell all of these titles directly–there are links to Amazon! Linking to Amazon doesn’t really solve the problem of selling through Amazon.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to read a trade book contract (10 years or so), but it used to be common to have what were basically non-compete agreements that made it hard for the author to act as retailer. Possibly this has changed, and possibly publishers are willing to make other arrangements to stick it to Amazon. Of course, for small presses and self-published authors, as well as authors with out-of-print backlist, this could be a good deal.


So you’re just cutting out the middle man, and passing the savings on to the cu… on to yourself?


Are people familiar with Bandcamp? It’s a minimal middleman between music artists and consumers. It gives consumers better prices, artists bigger cuts, and the option to pay more for the product than cover price. Maybe that is another model to consider.


I love this, I don’t mind paying for a good book but not if most of the money doesn’t go to the author. I would also love it if authors had ‘Donate’ buttons on their websites so those of us who have found the EPUB copy and loaded it onto their non-kindle ereader can support their favorite authors directly. If file sharing of movies and music has taught us anything it’s that people who share the most spend the most on the things they have enjoyed.


This is a great idea. Also, I haven’t visited Boingboing in awhile, but it’s nice to see that Cory/Xeni/Mark/and the gang are still kicking ass after all this time. Remember the DRM/Sony wars of 2005? Good times. You rock!


Why not? He’s up front about it and at least Cory (probably) pays his taxes. Amazon titles are so cheap because they mostly don’t. If the cost is still cheap/similar, I know who I’d rather buy off.


I was riffing on the old advertising slogan, “we cut out the middle man to pass the savings on to you.” Ebook prices are outrageous no matter who profits, but the authors should certainly get a larger slice of them than the publisher or the retailer.


I’m guessing your web site isn’t http://shutupandtakemymoney.com/. It’s full of crap, and Google warns “This site may be hacked.”


Sweet. I’m for this if it means i can find books by some big name authors outside of the amazon garden, or somewhere that’ll just give me a drm-free copy so i can do what i damn well like with it. The major stores don’t allow this so you got to go hunting around for what you want on feedbooks, robot trading company, chizinepub etc. I’m just wondering what happens if an author insists on drm added to their books, does the platform allow for that?


I mostly agree, but I do think editors and others in the production process really do earn their share, and should be compensated. But, I have never browsed Amazon looking for good books. I hear about it some other way and type its title into Amazon. And I don’t need amazon’s logistics of warehouses and delivery for ebooks either. I lose nothing by buying direct from the author. I like this idea.


I think this is a bit of an economic shift from stick to carrot. The old way of I want something so must pay, to I loved something so would like to support. Authors would have their teams set up the same way, wanting to pay their teams for the good work as they know that editors and publishers do play a large role in making a great story great.


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