https://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/09/acquisitions-editor.html?showComment=1285603115856#c3339534663794918758 from this thread.
Joe: The math doesn't add up. Long term, ebooks outsell and outprofit print.
Mike: That's an interesting theory. Baen heavily promotes cheap, un-encrypted e-books to a tech-savvy readership. Electronic copies are about 15% of my sales net, and that's with a significantly higher royalty (50% vs 10%). I think your claim only works for books that are not selling well in paper.
Joe: Plus, I wouldn't want to sell to a publisher who either a) keep your erights forever while paying you poorly or b) go bankrupt and force your to hire a lawyer to get your rights back.
If a publisher buys your book today, they MIGHT get it into bookstores that MIGHT still exist 18 months from now.
Mike: My contracts with two major houses call for 6 months. They've managed that for ten books. You're pretty convinced of this pending failure. I've been hearing of it since 1995. It hasn't happened yet.
Joe: If you're getting a big payday with money up front, take it.
If you're getting a modest deal, think hard.
Look, one of my basic tenets is: get your name on as many pieces of paper as you can. The more, the better.
That means getting a lot of books in print, getting reviews, blurbing other books, selling short stories, etc.
It also means virtual paper--websites, blogs, links, ebooks, etc.
Mike: I have a weekly online readership of 300,000 people. I'm pretty sure that's more than most of the commenters on this site, or most other writers, for that matter. I've had stuff farked and gotten half a million hits in 24 hours, several times. This has not led to thousands of additional book sales.
Joe: I think being in print is helpful. I love foreign sales, libraries, used books, and anything that can get my name in front of peoples' eyes.
But the biz is changing so fast, I think it's really risky and short-sighted to sign a book deal with a print publisher.
Mike: I think it's incredibly naive to bet the farm on something that's still in its infancy. Invest in it, sure. Refuse other money? No, thanks.
Joe: I wish I had my print rights back, but I doubt I'll get them anytime soon. In the meantime, I'm losing money.
Mike: This seems to be the political definition where, "not earning" = "losing."
Joe: Leisure and Medallion, switiching to ebooks models and giving up paperbacks, is a portend of things to come for all publishers.
Mike: Or, it could be they lack the infrastructure to move large amounts of paper. But even so, they're still publishing, just in a different format. They also both seem to be heavily invested in horror, which as a genre is tiny and marginal. Which comes back to "lacking infrastructure."
Joe: Would you want to be a Leisure author right now? Of course not. It's a mess.
Mike: This seems to contradict your previous comments. If they're a mess, clearly their model is flawed.
Joe: So why risk that happening with other publishers?
Mike: Any business venture is a risk. You're suggesting turning down money, in the hopes of either getting lucky, or doing scads of work and hoping to get lucky. That's a risk, also.
Joe: When the death spiral begins, it'll happen quickly. One big bankruptcy, and the house of cards will fall.
Mike: Publishing houses have gone out of business before. It's always bad strategy to base your plans on what you HOPE your opponent will do.