Funny short piece in New York mag, via Galleycat.
Money quote —
“Many books are unprofitable,â€ 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 countryâ€™s biggest trade publisher releases 67 new books, but itâ€™s the the 33,000-book backlist (Ian McEwanâ€™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.