Bucking decades of convention, Amazon began offering its authors monthly royalty payments as opposed to twice annually as has been the tradition in the publishing industry.
Now, a small Seattle publisher, Booktrope, is following Amazon’s lead. Will other publishers do the same?
Seattle Publisher Booktrope to Fast-Track Royalty Payments to Authors
In a move previously only offered by Amazon Publishing, Booktrope announced today that beginning in July they will pay all team members, including authors, their royalties on a monthly basis. The norm for decades in publishing has been bi-annual payments, with some smaller or university press operations paying only annually. The shift to paying more often stems from the change in book returns to publishers like Booktrope. While bookstores have the right to process returns for many months following purchase, and do so, consumers themselves take such action far more infrequently. As a result, the change to the more consumer direct model afforded by sites such as Amazon, iTunes and BarnesandNoble.com allows Booktrope more flexibility on how they in turn distribute the profits. Their new payment schedule will begin distributing monthly payments starting in July of this year, with a 60 day delay built in (in order to match the payment schedule of the primary vendors).
When asked why they would make such a change at this point in time, Ken Shear, Booktrope CEO, responds, “A basic goal of Booktrope is to provide a better compensation model for authors and other creative team members. Part of that has been transparency, including allowing people to see what their revenues look like on an ongoing basis. It seemed the natural and logical next step to pay them more frequently and with less delay as well. Booktrope uses sales and distribution channels that pay on a shorter cycle than traditional book distributors, so why not share this benefit with our authors and creative community? It’s just the fair way to treat everyone.”
Some might say that this just further illustrates how completely Booktrope has embraced the changes in the publishing and digital book world. Booktrope routinely uses techniques like free book giveaways and blog tours to help spread the word about their titles, rather than some of the more traditional methods of advertising, book signings and book-critic reviews. They currently have more than 130 titles published, and more than 200 people working under their model. To date, they have delivered more than a million copies of their books to consumers. They like to use the term “delivered”, in order to consciously embrace those that read for free as well as those who paid for their copy. The Booktrope website shows a real time counter of this number. All of which points to the fact that the consumers, as well as authors and other book professionals, agree with the Booktrope model.
Booktrope author Tess Thompson (whose debut novel, RIVERSONG, published with Booktrope, has sold more than 90 thousand copies) expresses it best, “I’m a single mother trying to support my daughters. That Booktrope figured out how to pay me once a month makes other publishing options pale in comparison.”
Booktrope was founded in 2011 in Seattle, WA. Booktrope has pioneered a new type of book development process called team publishing which leverages their proprietary technology platform Teamtrope. Booktrope is committed to the creation of quality books via a low-overhead collaborative approach.