Addendum: Author Economics of the Odyssey-Amazon Agreement

July 26, 2010. We don’t know the details of the Odyssey-Amazon agreement, but we can make some informed guesses. The agreement is most likely under the agency model, with Amazon paying Odyssey 70% of the retail price of the books. Wylie and Odyssey are together taking a typical agent’s commission as compensation: 10 or 15% of the 70% received from Amazon. In round figures, this means that the author receives 60 to 63% of the retail price of the book.

For comparison, a typical contract with a traditional publisher pays e-book royalties of 25% of net proceeds. If the e-book is sold under the agency model, the author’s share is 25% of 70%, or 17.5% of the retail price of the book. After the agent’s commission, the author receives roughly 15 to 16% of the retail price of the book.

For a $9.99 book under the Odyssey-Amazon agreement, the author would receive royalties of $5.94 to $6.29 per book, net of all commissions. For a $9.99 e-book under a typical contract with a traditional publisher sold under the agency model, the author would receive royalties of $1.49 to $1.57, net of all commissions. The difference is about $4.50 per unit, a 300% increase in author income.

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