Publishers 'will' raise royalty rates, says Scardino

Publishers 'will' raise royalty rates, says Scardino

<p>Publishers will be obliged to raise digital royalty rates for authors, the chief executive of Pearson has said. </p><p>Speaking at a press conference covering Pearson&#39;s interim results, Marjorie Scardino said the industry was still in &quot;the foothills&quot; of the transition to digital books, but added &quot;we will see a rise in royalty rates&quot;. </p><p>She said: &quot;Publishing digitally is cheaper - but paper, printing, that is only 25% of the price [of a book], so even if we could do away with that totally, it&#39;s not going to make a huge difference. But it will make some difference, and then we&#39;ll have to make sure we do right by the author.&quot;</p><p>Digital royalty rates have been widely discussed, with agents and <a href="../news/123048-e-royalties-not-remotely-fair-claims-soa.html" target="_blank">authors demanding higher rates</a>, arguing that publishers are solely reaping the benefits of reduced costs, while publishers have countered that <a href="../news/124037-schnittman-defends-e-book-royalties-and-rebuts-soa-attack.html.rss" target="_blank">costs are much the same, and that e-books tend to eat into the sales of the physical product. </a></p><p>Scardino was responding to questions about the move by Andrew Wylie to launch a digital-only publishing house, selling e-books exclusively through Amazon. <a href="../news/121832-wylie-agency-on-hold-with-e-book-negotiations.html" target="_blank">Wylie had previously complained that publishers were not offering acceptable royalties for e-books. </a></p><p>The Pearson chief executive, who was recently named 25th most important person in the media by MediaGuardian, echoed what Penguin chief executive John Makinson had said regarding the move by &quot;I think it&#39;s slightly being taken out of proportion,&quot; she said, describing as &quot;tiny&quot; the number of backlist books for which Penguin had not obtained digital rights. </p><p>Makinson had earlier stressed that only one of the titles - Saul Bellow&#39;s novel <em>The Adventures of Augie March</em> - affected Penguin in the UK. The remaining Penguin titles, such as Vladimir Nabokov&#39;s <em>Lolita</em> and Will S Burroughs&#39; Junky, will not be sold by Odyssey in the UK. </p>