The Bookseller reports that UK agents are refusing to accept the line from publishers that 25% is a fair rate for e-royalties. They insist that print and e-deals be seperate. Agent Sonia Land got so frustrated that she and her client Catherine Cookson are e-publishing her backlist themselves.
Land has warned book publishers they will lose control over authors’ digital backlists unless they improve their royalty offer.
Land this week announced her decision to publish 100 of Catherine Cookson’s novels as e-books through her company Peach Publishing, bypassing Cookson’s physical publishers Transworld. Other agents warned against the move, one calling it "tantamount to a declaration of war".
In a column in this week’s Bookseller, Land called on publishers to up their rates from 25% to 50% of net proceeds from e-books to secure digital rights.
Land said the publisher forced her hand by not showing an interest in Cookson’s digital rights. She said: "I’ve been thinking about this for a year and a half. They never approached me with a deal, but I think they knew I wanted a better offer."
Speaking about publishers in general, Land said: "The thing that really annoys me is that they won’t even negotiate a decent rate . . . They say ‘25% is perfectly reasonable’. They need to stop pretending it’s so expensive. I’ve just done it. I can do my sums."