Battle of the books:

Jackie French writes: L M McIntire (yesterday, comments) — and the productivity commission — simply don’t understand how the royalty system works. A book is published by one company; it is then sublicensed to another company, or many companies, overseas. For this system to work the original publishing company must keep a stake in the royalties; authors will get about 65% of 10% royalties. If the book is translated, the translator gets half the royalties, so the author gets 50% of 65% of 10%.

Complicated? Perhaps that is why so many can’t get their heads around it.

Authors get from .05-15% of the price of a book, usually depending on the number sold. A successful author will have a ‘rising royalty’ rate, so that after say 50,000 copies they get more than 10%. But on discounted books authors will only get 10% of NET royalties, which may be 3 cents for a book sold at $45. Most large sales to chain stores and book clubs are discounted sales.

This is the important bit: book retailers get 40% at least of the price of a book, often much more. When Dymocks buy my remaindered books for 10 cents they sell them to the public for $25. I receive no income at all from these sales.

A discounted edition of my work in the USA may earn me .03 of a cent per copy — or so little it doesn’t meet the minimum payment that is worth sending out.

If you want cheaper books, limit the mark up that book retailers put on the books. In other words, reduce the profit from those who profit most, not the income of those who get the least.

Every person who is reading Crikey today has paid for the right to read these words. Do you really feel comfortable buying a book from Dymocks where you know that the author may have received nothing for their work?

Perry Gretton writes: Still no-one has explained why it’s perfectly okay for the large US and UK book publishing markets to remain protected, but not Australia’s, which is so much smaller.


Megan Stoyles writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (yesterday, item 6). I am glad that First Dog on the Moon has noticed and commented on Thérèse Rein’s Forgettery, revealed in Annabel Crabb’s interesting article in Fairfax papers on Saturday. I too made comment on it in the Letters section of the Age yesterday. I commend the Forgettery concept to all Crikey readers — it is a place where you consign — and forget — those things you can’t change, and do you no good remembering, and get on with life.

Its beauty is that it is self-cleansing and I am sure leaves no carbon footprint. What was left out of my letter, and what I commend First Dog for acknowledging, is that the article also said that Thérèse’s name came complete with those tricky French acute and grave accents. I commented that it was a pity that having mentioned this spelling, the article did not use them.

Is it because it’s too hard to insert and replace when typing her name, or just that Fairfax doesn’t believe it’s necessary to correctly spell a person’s name, especially when she’s a successful woman and wife of the PM?

All a Twitter:

Joe Grgas writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). Crikey published:

Kevin Rudd seems to be using Twitter as a means of connecting with “da youf”. But with Twitter, you can see where the tweets are sent from. When Kevin Rudd tweeted that he was off buying a cake for Swanny — it was interesting to see that the message wasn’t sent from a mobile phone, but a computer.

So I had a look at all his other tweets — and guess what — they’re all sent from a computer. Which seems to suggest that Kevin hasn’t a clue about Twitter, and that his tweets are sculpted by his office to make him look hip…

In comparison, Malcolm Turnbull’s tweets are usually sent from his mobile phone — which seems far more authentic…”

One thing the budding Sherlock Holmes who commented on KRudd’s tweeting habits in your “Tips and rumours” section yesterday failed to mention is that most smart phones these days allow you to use the in-built web browser to send tweets. I use this method myself on my iPhone as I prefer to use a browser in preference to a dedicated Twitter app.

I go to the Twitter site and select “standard” view instead of “mobile” view — this then tags my tweets as being from the “web” as opposed to “mobile”, “tweetdeck” or “twinkle”.

There’s no way a person can tell that I’ve sent a message from my phone even though I definitely have. Maybe this tip was sent by one of Malcolm Turnbull’s people — they’ve shown their proficiency with understanding and interpreting other online communication methods such as email.


Dr David Indermaur, Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia, writes: Re. “Rundle: boomers were more violent than ‘generation brat’” (yesterday, item 12). A colleague of mine noticed an article on Crikey. Just a couple of quick points. The spelling of my name is Indermaur (no big deal — I’m not offended etc).

The debate about whether violence is really increasing or whether we just get to find out about more of it continues.

It’s worth noting the gold standard indicator — the death rate due to violence has not increased — but for probably the most recent publication on this debate in Australia see here.

In terms of prevention, all roads lead in one direction — the availability, use and accessibility of alcohol. There are many other factors to look at including the amount of leisure time, violence on the media etc.

Thanks for the opportunity of contributing.


A Freeview spokesperson writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). Crikey published:

FreeView Australia, the Free To Air TV industry’s promotions group set up to publicise the Free To Air industry’s 10 new digital channels, has gone into its shell, a victim of the budget cutting gripping all sections of the sector. FreeView will not only be “reactive” not proactive.

So if there’s a complaint or media inquiry, that will get answered, but no more actively selling the FreeView message. The on air TV ads on all five networks will continue, but that’s contra.

Foxtel is happy at the news, but its subscriptions are under growing pressure and the 12 month one month free, free installation offer is being pushed even harder at the moment.

It is incorrect to suggest that Freeview is not actively publicising the platform and Australia’s new digital free-to-air channels.

Freeview has a very active and ongoing consumer engagement campaign. It includes on-air promotions and attendance at major grassroots events, for example, prominent on-the-ground presence at the Brisbane Ekka next month. Freeview members are also progressing their own individual activities to promote their respective new channels.

A new Freeview advertising campaign is under development to boost awareness of the ever-expanding channel line-up and forthcoming Freeview electronic program guide. We also have an extensive in-store point-of-sale activity to drive consistency between our ad campaign and Freeview endorsed products for consumers.

Freeview’s concerted, proactive marketing campaign spans the next 12 months and beyond, and we look forward to continuing to communicate the benefits of Australia’s digital free-to-air television platform.

Fake moonwalking:

Brian Reid writes: Re: “The original moonwalk: 40 years on” (Friday, item 5). The proof the Americans did not fake the moon landing: no WMDs were found in Iraq. Had they faked the former they would have faked the latter.

Less is more:

Peter Smith writes: Re. “We have 38% less hospital beds than in 1981: it’s a scandal” (yesterday, item 4). We are grateful for the advice. We must warn our son-in-law not to get sick when he next visits Australia, as, at 2 metres tall, he would be very uncomfortable in a bed 38% smaller than the 1981 standard.

Or perhaps Crikey meant to say that there are 38% fewer beds?

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