Best selling author turns down $500,000 contract for ebooks

A best-selling author has turned down a $500,000 contract because he thinks he can make more money flogging the book online himself.

In a blogpost here, thriller writer Barry Eisler, who has been a NY Times Best Selling author, said the decision came down to money.

The system at the moment is like going to an insurance company and taking out a bet where the loser will always be you.

He said that many didn’t realise that in paper publishing, with rare exceptions, there’s a big upfront sales push, followed by either total evaporation or by years of low backlist sales.

However with digital sales, the thing can sell forever and the percentage is much higher.

Eisler said that publishers were aware that they were fast being made redundant but they do not know any way out of it.

They recognise they’re becoming non-essential, and are trying to keep themselves essential but are going about it in the wrong way, he said.

Publishers are trying all they can to slow the transition from paper to digital. However they should be using the advantages of e-publishing to make their business stronger.

If Eisler is right, then the book publishing industry might be making the same mistake that the recording industry made over MP3s – and the reason ebooks are so expensive is simply because the publishing industry does not want them to work.