Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WATERSPELL Paperbacks on Sale Everywhere!

The online bookstores have caught on: WATERSPELL Books 1 and 2 (paperbacks) are now available through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

Barnes & Noble:


The covers have not yet shown up at Amazon, and the Book Descriptions are missing at Barnes & Noble—leaving me to wonder why the booksellers don’t just import the complete bibliographic info from either Bowker—Books in Print or from the Lightning Source catalogs (the daily catalogs LSI provides to its U.S. and international distribution partners). But it’s a start—10 days after the official publication date, the WATERSPELL paperbacks are for sale pretty much everywhere.


It’s easy to see why readers prefer e-books to either paperbacks or hardcovers. The WATERSPELL paperbacks sell for (Book 1) $17 and (Book 2) $18, for a total outlay of $35 for the set.

Compare that to a typical e-book price of $3, $5, or $9 for thick fantasy novels like mine. Any rational person will prefer the e-books.

I chose to release WATERSPELL in both formats, however, because I wanted hard copies to take to events, to send to reviewers, and to satisfy all the folks who continue to tell me they want “real” books, not e-books. I’m confident they’ll come around to e-books eventually. With the paperbacks, I’m just humoring them until they figure out that e-books are a much better deal.


Here’s why the WATERSPELL paperbacks cost so much—

Cost of printing = $5.89 (384 pages x .013 print cost per page + .90 unit cost per book)
Wholesale price = $8.47 (the price the retailers pay for each book—a 50% discount off the list price)

Cost of printing = $6.67 (444 pages x .013 print cost per page + .90 unit cost per book)
Wholesale price = $8.98 (the price the retailers pay per book—a 50% discount off list)

The list price is twice the wholesale price—that's standard. It means the retail outlets—Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.—are making a profit of $17.45 on each two-book set.

The publisher, however, makes only $4.89 on each two-book set. Add up the wholesale price (8.47 + 8.98 = 17.45) and then subtract the cost of printing (5.89 + 6.67 = 12.56) and that leaves a profit to the publisher of $4.89. That’s less than a third as much as the retailers make.

To show these numbers another way:

A reader buys both books and pays full list price of $34.90
The bookseller receives half that total, for a profit of $17.45
The printer gets most of what’s left: printing cost of $12.56
The publisher and author share the rest of the money: $4.89

From this, it’s apparent that paperbacks and hardcovers are expensive because everyone in the production and sales chain makes a tidy profit. The reader pays dearly, yet the publisher/author gets little of the money: In this example, the publisher/author gets only 14% of what the reader pays. Assuming a 10% royalty to the author—$3.49—the poor publisher makes only $1.40.

Which is why e-books are destined to take over the industry. Why pay for ink on paper when the same book can be published electronically for a fraction of the cost?


Some of you are following my “adventures with Accurance,” the company I hired to help me produce my books. I have detailed Task 1: The Covers Are Finished and Task 2: The Text Formatting Is Finished.

My next posting about Accurance will be Task 3: Print Setup and Distribution. Obviously the “print setup” has been accomplished. The paperbacks are now available.

But I’m still trying to figure out what Accurance means by “distribution.” When I get my questions answered, I’ll blog about that part of the process.

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