re: Apple Should Settle E-Book Antitrust Case, Expert Says
Knowing from experience, the author / publisher makes more money on a 9.99 ebook deal than on any printed copy deal. I published books and found the service to have Amazon do the fulfillment and take a cut on the price that I set to be an OK deal. There are others who offer a similar service, but they don't do that globally and they do that at a much higher price point. By going with Amazon I was able to sell titles at a lower price while maintaining a decent royalty. Sure, Amazon makes more money than I do on each sale, but all I had to do is slap my ebook on their digital front steps and be done with it.
The difference comes into play when a publishing company is the middle man between author and distributor. When it comes to ebooks publishers are adding almost no value. It is the same in the music business. Digital production is cheap and easy and more and more content creators go straight to distributors or sell directly to customers. The times where you could not publish without a publishing company are over. Even for printed books you can hire services like CreateSpace.
I know about the contracts that authors have with publishers and they are not even half as sweet as going with a provider like Amazon or B&N.
In order to earn a living you need to sell a lot of copies and I mean a lot. I get about 7$ per sale in the sweetest constellation. Do the math and you know how many copies I'd have to sell to make a decent living. If I'd had a contract with a publishing company I'd get 1$ or maybe 2$ if I am lucky. On a 9.99 ebook sale with no publishing company in the middle the author makes around 3$. Yes, still not a lot, but a heckuva lot better than the traditional contracts. Those contracts are only reasonable when looking at the higher end hardcover book market. That is the only area where publishing service companies (not the same as publishers) currently have little or no offerings. My guess is that this will come at some point.
As far as the used book market goes, that is the same as with any used product. The original manufacturer gets nothing from the resale. If you sell your hours the original builder does not get a penny from that. Same applies to cars, computers, or junk sold at a tag sale. The only industry where this is becoming more and more common is with TV series. Actors now get a cut from reruns and other licensing.