Agents and Authors Battle about eBook Royalties

Are eBooks good for authors? According to a panel at BEA today, both publishers and agents concurred that yes, they are. However how eBook royalties should be paid out to authors is not agreed upon.

Brian Defiore of Defiore & Co, literary agency gave a long monologue about how eBooks are good to help authors connect to readers in new ways. However, he stressed the importance of rethinking the royalty model as eBooks cut the production, shipping and returns costs for publishers. “We need to change the agency model. Contracts negotiated under a different business model have the potential to hurt authors,” he pleaded.

Dominique Raccah, of Sourcebooks, agreed that the new technology was a great way to connect authors with readers. However, she refuted Defiore’s argument that eBooks made life easier for publishers. Through a series of slides, Raccah stressed that making digital books is complicated for publishers because formatting them is so complicated. “We have thirty new steps to format the book to be an eBook and that is before production and meta-data,” she said.

Still as more technology comes to the scene to help address formatting issues, things might get easier for publishers. But then again, technology providers have to get paid too. What do you think?