My point about the economics of self-publishing, made for me

This is a story in The Wall Street Journal about how traditional publishers are looking at the kind of sales self-publishers are having by selling low-priced books, and deciding to do that themselves.

How nice for them. But how does it affect the writer? George Pelecanos spills the beans (thank you, George):


"It's a gamble, but I want to be read," said Mr. Pelecanos, who stands to earn all of 17 cents on each 99-cent sale. By comparison, the digital edition of Mr. Pelecanos's most recent novel, "The Cut," a new series featuring a former Iraq war veteran turned investigator, retailed for $12.99. Mr. Pelecanos's cut was $2.27 on each sale.


OK, so on a 99-cent book, he's making 17 cents--which is half of what he'd make putting that sucker onto Amazon himself at that price, but that's not the scary bit.

The scary bit is that he gets $2.27 on a $13 e-book! !! !!!! !!!!! He could get that kind of money for a book he self-published on Amazon and priced at...wait for it...$3.25.

That's almost a TEN DOLLAR DIFFERENCE to the buyer! And a ZERO DOLLAR DIFFERENCE in profits to the author!

See, this gamble Pelecanos is making is unnecessary. He wants people to discover him, to realize that they are his fans--and obviously the much-vaunted marketing and distribution to bookstores provided by his publishers haven't really helped with that. So he's cutting prices and taking a hit. But by self-publishing he could drastically slash his prices and find new readers and all that good stuff without losing a dime.