(Mis)Adventures in Publishing

Confessions and Random Observations

11 notes

Why Every Time an Idiot Complains How “E-Books Don’t Cost Anything for Publishers to Make,” Said Idiot Needs to Be Educated

Pissy “publishing blogger” (who like most bloggers in this arena has never actually worked in a publishing house): You guys rip people off by charging them so much for e-books. Books cost money to make but e-books cost nothing. You’re greedy bastards.

My response: Your assumptions about costs are erroneous on two fronts:

a. Books actually don’t cost too much money to make. This is the modern age, not the 1800s, and technology has come a long way. Preparing, marketing, and distributing the book (and paying the author royalties) account for the bulk of any publisher’s costs. Printing is actually a ¬†relatively small part of the overall expenses. Print costs (for most two-color titles) are at most 10% of the cost of the book, often less than that.

b. It’s a myth that making an ebook is significantly cheaper than a print book. Many people make the mistake of thinking that generating an ebook is as simple as plugging in files into a magic e-converter and getting an electronic version at the other end, but in fact there are various factors. Formatting, layout, and design — even the trim size — of the book while in the production process must be managed in a way to ensure it’ll translate well to various e-book standards. This means everything from page layout to the design of graphics and charts in scale, to even the placement of the individual words have to be in formats and styles that allow for electronic conversions without messing up¬†(anyone who has tried to read E. E. Cummings’ poetry on a Kindle knows this).

So, as you can see, we’re not really greedy bastards, but you’re certainly an ignorant one.*

*Okay, I didn’t add this sentence to my email, but I was certainly tempted to.

Filed under books publishing e-books

  1. writing-tips-blog reblogged this from editorialhell
  2. readershipco reblogged this from bookworksbks
  3. bookworksbks reblogged this from editorialhell and added:
    Things to remember!
  4. brooklyntree reblogged this from editorialhell and added:
    Don’t even get me started on dealing with eBook conversions. Or how many eISBNs I have to request to get your damn book...
  5. editorialhell posted this