Economics of an Anthology Pt.2

Anthology EconomicsIn Part 1 of this series of article about the Economics of creating an Anthology, we determined (hypothetical and loosely) that the labor involved will cost about $2,000 (minimum) to produce an anthology of about 17 stories, with 4,000 to 9,000 words each. What about the other hard costs & revenue is involved?

Hard Costs & Revenue involved in an Anthology

Action Details Cost
ISBN numbers Need at least 2-4. One for each format: print, e-pub, .mobi, etc. Priced in bulk. $5.75 – $33 each. 11.50
Author payments 17 x $25 (1 time typical token payments for anthologies) 425.00
Purchasing a Physical Proof Production, shipping & handling 13.00
Set-Up Fees Some distributors charge project fees and revision fees 74.00
Online retailers commission  about 75%-ish. Assuming a $9.99 book (competitive) Per book: 7.43
GROSS PROFIT FOR PUBLISHER:  Per print book sold: 2.69

Publishers Weekly1 estimates that the average book sells about 300 copies in the first year. (For those of you NOT math majors, that means that half sell less and half sell more than 300 copies. In reality, most sell next to none and a very, very few sell a LOT.) The average digital only author-published book sells 250 copies in its lifetime.

So that means the average book makes the publisher, in our hypothetical above, about $ 807 in the first year. Their outlay of cash to do that was $ 2,523. A loss of about $ 1,716.

Publisher Weekly also estimates that the average book will sell about 3,000 copies in it’s lifetime. That could be 10-20 years. That’s approximately $ 8,070 that the publisher will make from that book over a possible 20 year lifespan. If you just take the average of $403/yr. ($8,030 / 20), it will 6.26 years for the publisher just to break even.

Next: The Economic of an Anthology, Token Payments vs. Per Word Payments…

  1. Publishers Weekly via Kameron Hurley – []