Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Books For Just A Penny: The world of the writer, much like the world of the musician, is quite an unfair one. A Royalty is paid on the first sale of the book or record, and from there on, no matter how many times the item is sold and resold, there is never another penny made.
This is particularly poignant for the writer, and after reading an article about her in a magazine, I checked Amazon to find that most of Margaret Dickinson's novels sell in the New & Used section for 1 penny. No, I'd never heard of her either, but she writes historical sagas set in Lincolnshire, and sells quite a few by the look of it.
And it must be wonderful selling in such large amounts at the outset, and presumably, that's all that concerns her. But it must be quite disheartening, if indeed she ever looks at her Amazon listings, to see her work on the Used or 2nd Hand market at such a pityfully low price. But when you sell in hundreds of thousands, if not in millions, I don't suppose it matters. As long as the publsher is happy, what care they about the crumbs around the table after the fact?
The sellers on Amazon, of course, make £2-75 postage plus the penny for the book, minus the packaging and postage. As far as they are concerned, they have made perhaps 50 to 75 pence after these costs have been taken out, moved some stock, and have extra shelf space. There is an absolute feast of books out there, so if their copy is sold then that's all that matters.
Whilst having never sold in voluminous amounts, my cheapest fiction book is on Amazon's New & Used for £1-50; the most expensive, the Motorhead Illustrated Guide, is at around £84-00.
There are also CD's for sale on Amazon for 1 penny, and regardless of pricing, we never make a bean from the resale, but that is the way of the world for the author and musician; like it or lump it. I suppose if we worried about it too much, we would give up our craft and simply go insane.