The Amazon.com price for my debut novel, The Rescuer’s Path (pub. Jan. 1, 2012, Plain View Press), list price $15,95, is now between $8 and $9. This means no net profit or royalties for either myself or the publisher.
This means neither authors or publishers can earn back any financial investment in a book’s production and publicity. But books, which generally are produced print on demand through Ligthtning Source, at this point one of two only major sources of short-run print jobs, are mostly distributed through Ingram, the main distribution channel of (physical, hardcopy, real) books in this country (and in others, I suppose). Ingram automatically markets those books through online “stores” including, when it chooses (always), Amazon.
So, basically, anyone not using a “major” publisher—i.e., one of the 5 or 6 owned by one of the international megaconglomerates that control the U.S. “majors” along with more profitable, and thus more favored, industries, and that run these “publishing” companies, necessarily, based on profit-making blockbusters—must be wealthy enough to either write for a hobby only (or to lose money) or else publish only in ebook form. And guess who owns and controls the major ebook readers? One is Barnesannoble with its Nook readers—and its price reductions for print books that often or usually lowball even Amazon’s; the other, of course, with its Kindle, is, once more, Amazon.
In high school many years ago, we learned of “vertical” corporation control of industries; this was supposedly stopped by the reforms of—oh my—the very early 20th century.
Unless one belongs to the 1 percent who can afford to spend years writing books for a hobby. And buying publicity for $million$.