The ugly if not predatory mechanics and economics of the just-renamed Harlequin Horizons imprint bring to mind a question I’ve had about the book business for some time….
Over the past few months I’ve read post after post from apparently knowledgeable sources such as agents, editors and publishers — people who’ve been in the publishing business for years — speaking to the issue of publishing costs. Here’s a recent example:
Packaging (cover design & production): $5,000
Typeset & Interior layouts: $3,000
Printing & binding: $18,000
Author royalty (a typical advance is calculated in this model): $25,000
Leaving out the royalty issue, all these numbers seem to jibe (loosely) with other numbers I’ve seen — as if this is pretty much the going rate. What I’ve yet to see, however, is how much profit there is built into these rates. What does it really cost the publishing industry to provide these services? [ Read more ]