The Atlantic Gives the Real Skinny on Publishing Costs

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The publishing world is atweet about yesterday‘s New York Times story about the comparative costs of publishing a hardcover book vs. an eBook, as though the truth is out at last. But, what about those two-martini lunches? In a blog post responding to the Times story, The Atlantic shares the real breakdown of the cost of publishing a book.

Out of the $26 publishers charge for a hardcover, it’s important not to forget, according to The Atlantic, about the $2.00 that pays for business lunches, the “$2.00 to cover wild overpayments to 15-minute celebrities or Washington bigshots for books that will never earn back their huge advances but the cost has to be amortized somehow,” and the $.05 for the author’s book party. Now how is an eBook going to cover all of that?

This is an important question, and one publishers haven’t even begun to deal with. The publishing biz is, as The Atlantic points out, “one of the most custom-laden and set in its ways.” And do people every really change? They should be charging $50 for eBooks–then maybe we can throw dinner in too.