HarperCollins is ramping up its direct sales efforts by giving its authors the chance to earn a higher royalty rate by selling their titles directly to consumers.
Following the redesign of its website in July, which made it easier for HarperCollins to sell both print and digital editions of its titles directly to consumers, HC is now offering its authors the chance to use this new platform. Authors who opt to sell direct--they can place an HC shopping cart button on their own website--can earn and an additional 10% royalty rate. The higher royalty applies to print, e-book and physical audio products. (As with many Big 5 publishers, HC’s standard e-book royalty rate is 25%.)
HC president Brian Murray said the company is rolling out the e-commerce program to authors to give them another option to reach readers in a fast-changing, and volatile, retail market. He said that while HC’s first choice is for consumers to buy their books from the publisher’s retail partners, HC “can’t stick our head in the sand,” about what is happening on the e-commerce front. Murray said it is fine with him if authors want to link to other sites such as Indie Bound or BN.com, but noted that authors that use the HC shopping cart will get the extra discount and that the program “can scale globally.” Before the end of the year, portions of the e-commerce option will be available in the U.K. and Australia.
Murray observed that HC is able to offer the extra royalty on direct sales since there is no retailer discount or commission. Offering the higher rate “is a good incentive for authors to try the program,” he said. The higher royalty will be paid through HC’s royalty system and will appear on an author’s royalty statement. HC has begun notifying authors about the option, and Murray said any author interested in participating should contact his or her editor. For authors that choose to participate, they can just add a HC buy button to their own site which will take them to www.hc.com to complete the purchase or they can integrate the shopping cart directly into their site.
The new HC site has had “some volume” since its July launch, Murray said, but emphasized that since July the company has been fine-tuning the program as part of its plan to give authors another way to sell their books. The program has been well received by a few authors and agents who have been briefed and Murray said he doesn’t expect push back from retailers. “They know what is going on in the market,” he said.