10-second review: E-books cost less and therefore authors are paid less.
Title: “Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books.” JA Trachtenberg. Wall Street Journal (September 29, 2010), Internet.
Quote: “Priced much lower than hardcovers, many e-books generate less income for publishers. And big retailers are buying fewer titles. As a result, the publisher who nurtured generations of America’s top literary-fiction writers are approving fewer book deals and signing fewer new writers. Most of those getting published are receiving smaller advances.”
Statistics: Hardcover price: $28. Publisher gets $14. Author gets $4.20.
E-books: Price $12.99. Publisher gets $9.09. Author gets $2.27.
Quote: “…fewer .literary authors will be able to support themselves as e-books win acceptance, publishers and agents say.”
Quote: “In some cases, independent publishers are picking up the slack by signing promising literary-fictions writers. But they offer, on average, $1,000 to $5,000 for advances, a fraction of the $50,000 to $100,000 that established publishers paid in the past for debut literary fiction.”
Comment: I’ll say this, and then I’ll deny saying it: Maybe fiction is sinking to the level of what it is worth. RayS.