Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Supporting Catholic/Homeschooling Authors

This was posted at Annunciations in the combox:

For folks who write books: is it better financially to buy these books directly from the author (who has some trouble in packaging and mailing, etc) or from

It's an interesting question. In case anyone else was wondering the answer to this question, here it is:

It’s definitely better for the author if you buy directly from him or her. Authors typically get a 10% royalty on net sales.

Publishers wholesale books to bookstores and 40% to 60% off.

Let’s say a book retails for $10. You purchase it from They likely got a 60% discount. So the author gets 10% of $4. A whopping 40 cents royalty!

If you buy the book from your local family-owned Catholic bookstore, they likely got a 40% discount. So, the author gets a 60 cent royalty. Not a lot, but you are also helping support the Catholic bookstore owners.

If you buy the book directly from the publisher there is no discount. So, the author gets the royalty on the full price — $1 per book.

Now, if the author stockpiles books and sells them herself (as I do) she gets them probably for 40% or %50 wholesale — depending on how many she purchases. So, if you buy the book directly from the author he or she will make at least $4.

Catholic authors don’t make a lot of money. It’s a niche market and sales numbers are not exactly in the stratosphere. If you're writing for the Catholic homeschooling market, that's a niche within a niche.

Most of us write as an apostolate. But, it helps a lot to actually get a paycheck to pay for all the time taken away from our families and the expenses involved in writing a book.

So, that’s the long answer to your question. Yes, it is way better to financially to order directly from the author.

More importantly, it encourages them to continue writing and producing good books.


Nancy C. Brown said...

Thanks, Maureen, for spelling it out.

I think one must include shipping, however. has some free shipping and I don't know how they can afford to do that. I usually undercharge for shipping, which eats into my profit. But I hate to charge too much, or people will just go to amazon or another discounted retailer.

There are many factors to consider. Another one is autographing. The only way to get an autographed copy is directly from the author. This is a nice bonus.

And, lastly, authors have this sort of strange disconnection from their readers when others sell their books. When you buy from the author, there is a direct connection, which I think helps the author feel that real people are out there reading what they worked so hard to write.

Sweetness and Light said...

Thank you Maureen, this is right my alley right now :) Many blessings to you!