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Survey Shows Drastic 42 Percent Decline in Authors Earnings in Last Decade

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“The Authors Guild’s 2018 Author Income Survey, the largest survey of writing-related earnings by American authors ever conducted finds incomes falling to historic lows to a median of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009.”

 

Read the conclusions drawn from the survey here.

 

There are many additional reason for this decline, not mentioned by the authors guild, because as a bookseller I see the problem from a different angle. During the same period my revenue from the sales of books has declined as well.  This is the reason there are fewer booksellers online, or offline, than there were 10 years ago. The major reason: Amazon.

 

I sell books anyway they can be sold; I sell books directly; send readers to the author's, publisher's, and even other indie booksellers; and I sell books as an affiliate of Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.  The vast majority of readers chose to purchase books from Amazon.

 

Last year Amazon cut affiliate commission in half to 4%.  Effectively cutting my book sales revenue in 1/2 overnight. Amazon also pressures authors, through their KDP Select program to give away free books for a period, to keep ebook prices below $2.99 (99 cents is not uncommon), and to give Amazon the exclusive right to sell their ebook (this would normally be laughable if Amazon were not a monopoly). Authors do this in exchange for some "promotion" and higher "royalties."

 

As a result, I'm increasingly earning 4% on the sale of a 99 cent eBook. My commissions earned from Amazon, on the sale of books, have plummeted. A question for the author: What incentive do I have to sell an ebook that I will generate less than 4 pennies in revenue?   

 

What am I doing about it.  I'm working to bypass Amazon completely and to ultimately drop all of my Amazon affiliate links.

 

I've already turned down listing books of authors who have given Amazon exclusive right to sell.  But I'm also working with some of these authors to sell their book through their own websites. I'm also working on a commission model that allows both the author and any bookseller to make more money on the sale of a book than we would if we went through Amazon.

 

Let's be clear: Amazon has a monopoly on the sale of Black books. When we give a corporation that much power over our culture, we are all impoverished not just economically but spiritually.

 

 

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