Publishers Earn More than Authors on E-Book Sales

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Authors are earning less on e-books than on physical ones, and the villain isn’t necessarily Amazon. According to the Author’s Guild, a professional organization for writers, publishers are now taking closer to 75% of an e-book’s profit, up from only 50% of traditionally published books. While Amazon’s downward pricing pressure has squeezed profit from everyone else, the publisher-favorable contracts originated when e-books represented a very minor portion of book sales.


Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →