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Thursday, October 7, 2010


Publishers Lunch features a gossipy and interesting report on the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is bustling and busy, with major deals being struck, helped along by glorious weather.

One comment caught my eye, reminding me of my recent note that kindle sales were catching up with hardback sales, or even overtaking them, even with very recently launched books.  Google's Tom Turvey questioned four publishing executives on the transition to e-reading, and CEO of HarperCollins, Brian Murray agreed that there has been "a sea change in the past few months," where hardcover sales of bestsellers are lagging behind ebook sales.

Questioned on the niggly problem of ebook royalties, he thought that "25 percent is fair and appropriate right now" for the author's cut, and he doesn't "see anything on the horizon that makes me think that's going to change."

The really startling comment came from Bloomsbury executive Evan Schnittman, who added, "the real royalty rates are much higher" once you factor in unearned advances.

E-book royalties don't count against the original advance, even if the ebooks are outselling the print edition?  That's news to me.

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