Harlequin is changing its ebook royalty rates for authors. The news came late Friday so the analysis of how this impacts authors in practical terms has yet to be done.
According to Milan, Harlequin was offering 8 percent of the digital cover price of her books.
Under these new terms, authors will receive 25 percent of NET receipts for each ebook sold. Here's the letter Harlequin sent to its single title authors:
The landscape of digital publishing continues to evolve at a fast pace and Harlequin is at the forefront of this evolution. In 2007 Harlequin was the first publisher to simultaneously publish print and digital editions of our entire frontlist. Since then we have also digitized and brought to market our backlist and now have a current catalogue of over 11,000 ebooks! Harlequin invests heavily in digital marketing efforts to promote our authors and their books, with activities ranging from newsletter programs, advertising, search engine marketing, social media properties, website development and distribution through leading ebook retailers.
Harlequin has been closely monitoring developments in digital publishing, including author compensation. As you know, until now Harlequin’s position has been that digital royalty rates as a percentage of cover price is a more transparent way to pay authors than as a percentage of net receipts: authors know exactly how many copies they sold at what price and their compensation is not affected by unspecified costs. Over the past several months we have worked to ensure a smooth transition from the current percentage of cover price calculation to a net receipts calculation while maintaining the same transparency. As such, Harlequin will be amending digital royalty rates.
Effective January 1, 2012, single title authors who are actively writing for Harlequin will receive a digital royalty rate of 25% of net digital receipts for each digital unit sold in the English language, United States and Canada, frontlist and single title backlist.
Given that these are more favorable terms than those in your existing contract(s), this notification will be considered the amendment to those contract(s). If you wish to maintain the existing terms of the contract(s), please let us know by Friday, July 15th 2011.