What Are Authors Worth?

authors customers readers book publishersIf many authors today are better at figuring out exactly what their publishers are worth to them than the other way around, it’s largely out of necessity.

One reason few publishers can assign a dollar value their authors, according to marketing expert Murray Izenwasser, is because they tend not to factor authors into the rigorous accounting they apply to the rest of their customer base: readers, libraries and institutions, distributors and retailers.

But the “truth is that authors are one of publishers’ most important customers,” Izenwasser says, even though many publishers have been slow to treat them that way.

Here’s how to do the math and why it matters.

Related: Simon & Schuster Moves to Offer Authors More

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Amazon Publishers First Kindle Scout Titles (DBW)
After launching its “reader-powered” publishing venture late last year, Amazon has identified 21 crowdsourced titles to publish, with the first ten slated to come out next week.

Agenting Alive and Well (The Shatzkin Files)
More authors are finding success circumventing literary agents in securing contracts with publishers. Assessing some of the latest developments, Digital Book World Conference Chair Mike Shatzkin sees “the realities of book publishing” remain unchanged. “The big money almost always goes to the agented author whose work is sold to a big house. The rest of it is, from an overall industry perspective, still a sideshow.”
Related: Authors Taking the Long View in a Tight Book Market

The ISBN Debate Continues (Good E Reader)
If, as this post argues, indie authors really are to blame for the lack of meaningful ebook data, they’re surely not the only culprits. The considerable number of self-published authors who choose not to purchase ISBNs doesn’t make data gathering any easier, but neither do the major retailers that refuse to share it in the first place.

Ellora’s Cave Founder Finds Fault with Amazon (Vulture)
Over the course of recounting the publisher’s travails, Ellora’s Cave founder Tina Engler claims Amazon may have held down certain titles’ discoverability, in her view setting in motion the controversy that ensued last year over alleged delays in payments to authors. Today, Engler echoes Macmillan CEO John Sargent’s call for publishers to find alternative distribution channels beyond Amazon.

Amazon Publishing Heads to France and Spain (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Amazon’s publishing division appears to be recruiting for editorial positions in France and Spain as it steadily expands its European presence.

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The service, called Amazon Prime Now, is now available in Manhattan, with two-hour delivery windows in parts of Brooklyn, leading some to wonder whether that means the final curtain for some of the city’s remaining bookstores.

Wundr Launches Ebook Publishing Software (Good E Reader)
Another self-publishing platform hits the market, this one called Playwrite, by the software developer Wundr, which touts its user-friendly interface for Mac users.

Nielsen to Survey Indian Book Market (Scroll)
India boasts one of fastest growing book markets, but it remains difficult to size up. Nielsen, which already offers Bookscan in India, will conduct a more intensive, six-month study this year on book sales, buyer behavior and other factors to help publishers better understand the market.


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