Random House and Wylie Negotiate New Royalty Rate on Digital Books

In What's the Buzz by Hannah Johnson

By Hannah Johnson

There is a new royalty rate in town. Random House and The Wylie Agency have resolved their conflict over e-book rights, and out of this resolution has come a new royalty rate — but it isn’t just a rate, it’s a rate scale. Publishers Weekly uncovered a source at Random House who revealed that RH will implement this new royalty rate scale on digital editions of backlist titles, which goes up to 40 percent. PW reports: “The source explained that the royalty is based on a certain number of books selling over a specified period of time and, depending on what’s negotiated, the rate will rise per the rate of sale.”

As Chad Post wrote when the conflict broke out, it seems likely that Wylie launched Odyssey Editions in order to force publishers to give higher royalty rates to authors.

So will more publishers adopt this new royalty rate scale? Will this motivate authors to more actively promote their backlist titles, and publishers to begin offering more e-book versions of their backlist titles?

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.