70 percent to the author and 30 percent to the distributor
The Perseus Books Group has created a distribution and marketing service that will allow authors to self-publish their own e-books, the company said on Sunday.
The new service will give authors an alternative to other self-publishing services and a favorable revenue split that is unusual in the industry: 70 percent to the author and 30 percent to the distributor. Traditional publishers normally provide authors a royalty of about 25 percent for e-books.
The service arrives as authors are increasingly looking for ways to circumvent the traditional publishing model, take advantage of the infinite shelf space of the e-book world and release their own work. That’s especially the case for reviving out-of-print books whose rights have reverted back to the author.
Bloomsbury, a publisher based in Britain, said on Wednesday it had created a new publishing arm that would release digital-only titles. Companies like Open Road Integrated Media have successfully published digital editions of backlist books whose rights were not held by a publisher.
The new Perseus unit, called Argo Navis Author Services, will be available only to authors who are represented by an agency that has signed an agreement with Perseus. David Steinberger, the president and chief executive of the Perseus Books Group, said that the company had made an agreement with one major literary agency: Janklow & Nesbit Associates, whose authors include Ann Beattie, Anne Rice and Diane Johnson. Curtis Brown Ltd., which represents Karen Armstrong and Jim Collins, is also close to signing an agreement to make Argo Navis available to their authors. Perseus is in discussions with more than a dozen other agencies.
“Fundamentally, it comes out of a concern that we’ve been hearing from authors and agents that they’re looking for another alternative,” Mr. Steinberger said. “We’ve heard from authors that they may have a book that’s never been published, but it doesn’t fit what their existing publisher is looking for.”
He emphasized that while Argo Navis provided distribution and marketing services, the author remained the publisher. While authors get a much higher share of the revenue under this arrangement, they’ll receive fewer of the services, and financial support, provided by publishers under more conventional contracts.
In an effort to solve the problem of how to help readers discover e-books without print counterparts on tables in bookstores, Argo Navis will provide basic marketing services, like placing product pages on retailer Web sites. It will also make more extensive marketing services available for a fee.
E-books will be distributed to retailers including Amazon, BN.com, Google, Kobo, Sony and Apple.
Jack W. Perry, a publishing consultant, said that the service could appeal to authors who wanted their e-books published with wide distribution.
“A lot of times when people go in and work with e-books, they have to do a lot themselves,” he said. “Perseus is trying to take on a lot of that.”
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