If a book costs $10, how much of that does the author actually get?

Hello everyone!

Im just wondering how much percent of the money does an author get?

I used $10 as an example because its the easy to work with.


6 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It could be almost anything depending on the method of publishing and whether they signed with a publishing house.

    Hardcover books automatically cost about $10 to print, which is why they're more expensive. Paperbacks cost about half that. Ebooks on Kindle cost nothing to reproduce, but if you do charge money then they take a commission.

    It also matters where the book was sold at. Did someone find it sitting on a shelf at Barnes and Noble? Did they order it from an online retailer like Amazon? Did they order/download directly from the publisher's homepage? The more middlemen involved, the more people to take their cut.

    Finally, the author's agreement with the publisher can vary. If they went with a large publishing company, they will sell more copies because the book gets promoted a lot, but the trade-off is, that company takes most of the money. They'll give you an advance of a few thousand, but then they have to get paid back all of their investment before they give you any more. Writers who go with a large publisher can get stuck earning as little as 50 cents per copy. Sometimes it can be as high as a dollar or two, but no more than that until you become Stephen King. So unless your book sells more than 10,000 copies, you will never see a penny after that initial advance. The average fiction novel from a first time author sells between 7,000 - 10,000.

    Smaller publishers don't get the book "out there" as much, but they are more generous with sharing the profit. If the author chooses to publish themselves, they get all the profit, but that's still after the retailer takes a cut.

    So if you're talking about $10 for an ebook from a self-published author, they'll get around $6 of profit. If you're talking about $10 for something at the bookstore put out by Random House, the author is crossing their fingers in the hope they'll get another royalty check one day.

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  • 8 years ago

    While it depends on the specifics of the contract between the author and publisher, in general it's something like this:

    Hardcover royalties of 10% on the first 5000 units sold; 12 ½% on the next 5000 units and 15% thereafter. Trade paperback royalties are 7 ½% and mass market royalties are for 8% for the first 150,000 units sold and 10% thereafter.

    So depending on how many copies have sold and on the form of the physical book, the author gets anywhere from $1.50 to half that.

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  • Sofia
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    That is totally individual. It depends on the contract between the publisher and the author and ranges from 0,01% to 50% (or more). Usually, when an agent gets you the contract, the publishers don't give you percentage, but simply buy the rights from you, paying a certain amount of money (depends on your fame, your writing skills, how good the book is etc).

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    It depends on the contract.

    Sofia's confused about agent-set up contracts. They often lead to an advance (a set lump sum) but you don't not get royalties. It's just that your royalties are offset against the advance, so you only start getting more money for them once they go over that amount.

    Many books never earn out their advances, but that's not the same as a contract not giving you royalties.

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  • 8 years ago

    Depends What the Contract is...

    Sooo.... Variable...

    All The Best...!!

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  • 8 years ago

    10.8 billion

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