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The more you sell, the less you make

Give them credit for gall if nothing else: the Australian division of Penguin is proposing to pay less in author royalties for its most successful titles.

Typically, the standard author’s royalty rate of 10% of list price goes up once a certain number of copies have been sold, usually going as high as 15% or thereabouts. But Penguin Australia has announced that they’d like to reverse that: now, once a title passes a certain sales threshold, the royalty rate will actually drop, to 7% or 8%. In a story on the website for The Australian, literary agent Lyn Tranter calls the move “outrageous” and says it could be a deal-breaker in future contract negotiations. Let’s hope so.

The article also quotes Penguin’s Bob Sessions as saying the move will “draw our contracts more into line with international practice.” Funny, but this is the first In Other Media has heard of this kind of thing.

(Thanks to Bookninja.com for the link.)

Related links:
Click here for the story in The Australian