Jamie Raab Interview Sparks eBook Royalty Debate

By Maryann Yin Comment

GalleyCat contributor Jeff Rivera interviewed Grand Central publisher Jamie Raab for mediabistro.com’s So What Do You Do? feature today.

In the interview, Raab (pictured, via) defended her imprint’s standard practice of giving authors a 25% royalty rate for eBooks: “We have an infrastructure to support.” She outlined the values of what traditional publishers have to offer whether they are new in their writing career or established New York Times bestselling authors.

When asked on whether or not she fears big-name writers will take a less traditional publishing route, she replied: “I think about that a lot because I know it’s on authors’ minds. And I think it’s incumbent on every publisher to do a better job than they’ve ever done before — more creative on marketing and eBooks, working in partnership more closely with their authors, keeping them in the loop, publishing more strategically.”

What do you think? Should eBook royalties be higher?

Several members of the industry have given their reactions to Raab’s interview including Smashwords founder Mark Coker, literary agent Peter Riva, Drama High author L. Divine and author Seth Godin.

Seth Godin: “eBook royalties should be significantly higher and the reason is simple: there’s no marginal cost of paper, shipping, returns, etc., to be paid for. If publishers started paying cash money to get better eBook distribution and sales, that’s a very different story. But right now, the gross margin is much much higher than it is on a print book.”

Mark Coker: “I’m impressed by Jamie Raab’s spirit and passion. She typifies the publisher of the future who will survive and thrive because she and her team are doing for authors what many authors cannot do for themselves…[However,] until publishers learn how to clearly communicate this in a way that authors understand, believe and agree with, some authors will continue to feel shorted.”

Peter Riva: “Remember I favor authors, but unless the company is strong, there will be no traditional publishing all too soon.”

L. Divine: “That [interview] was just what I needed to validate my own announcement this morning…I’ve worked with editors who don’t edit, and most of the marketing comes from my own footwork. So, I am going to jump on this eBandwagon with my series and see where it takes me.”