Funny short piece in New York mag, via Galleycat.

Money quote —

“Many books are unprofitable,” says CEO Peter Olson. Fifteen to twenty best sellers at a time and a huge volume of steadily selling older titles support Random House, a unit of German media giant Bertelsmann. Every week, the country’s biggest trade publisher releases 67 new books, but it’s the the 33,000-book backlist (Ian McEwan’s Atonement, for example) that supplies 80 percent of its profit.

Below that there’s some funny math —

Most authors do not see a 15% list royalty on paperback sales, that figure is decidedly fishy.


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