Also making news today: Hachette changes pricing terms on e-books. As reported in Publishers Marketplace, Hachette goes to “agency lite” which seems to mean that Hachette remains the ‘seller’ of the book, but Amazon is free to discount the books at will, according to the terms of the DoJ settlement. For agents, of course, this again throws out the window our real understanding of how our clients will be compensated for e-book sales. Yes, we know that in virtually all cases they will get 25% of net reciepts, but since we no longer know the price at which the publisher is selling to the retailer (the retailer doesn’t need to list it) or the discount that the publisher is giving to the retailer– a lot of this is happening in the dark. Yes, we will see royalty statements, but god knows they don’t always give us the insight we would like.
The goal seems to be to ask as many questions as possible and try to get the publishers to tell us exactly how our clients work is being sold so that we can look out for the clients best interests as we are charged to do. Of course, we never had real influence over selling terms to retailers, but at least royalties based on list price gave us a firm grasp on what to expect and what was happening. Now, all bets are off.