B P International

White Paper: Royalty Earning from the Sales of Reference Books

Sales of Books depends on many parameters, like Genre of Book, Author’s writing quality, the Brand value of Author, Marketing and Branding by the Publisher, Printing quality, Geographical location, etc. These are some of the known parameters. Apart from these, there are some unknown parameters. The commercial success of a book is a very complex permutation-combination of the above-mentioned parameters. All publishers and authors want to publish another “A Brief History of Time” or “Harry Potter”. But unfortunately, no author or publisher knows the right formula for the same.

There are many genres of books. But here, we shall discuss the Textbook and Reference Book (used for research) only. We hereby politely want to inform that there is a big difference in the Sales of Text Book and Reference Book.

Information regarding Royalty from Textbook Sales

1. Textbooks are written as per the syllabus of University or College or School or any particular examination. Textbooks are printed in thousands of copies, and also the cost of textbooks is low due to mass production. Normally the price of Textbooks varies between 5-25 dollars. But the price of Textbooks may differ also.
2. But not all types of Textbooks are sold in huge numbers. Some Text Books are popular and are sold in huge numbers. For such Popular text Books, authors earn a significant amount of royalty.
3. But some Textbooks are not popular, and unsold copies are dumped. Even for textbooks on the same syllabus, written by different authors, there can be huge differences in sales. For such Textbooks, publishers face economic loss and earning of authors is also meagre or zero.
4. For information, if a minimum of 500 copies of Books are sold, then only the Production cost of the Offset Print Production run is recovered. After the sale of 500 copies of a book, the publisher starts to earn a profit, and the authors begin to earn significant royalty.

Information regarding Royalty from Reference Book (used for research) Sales

1. Reference Books are not written as per any specific university syllabus. Reference books are normally thematic. Reference books are normally used for research. An author can write a whole reference book. But most of the time, a reference book is an edited volume, where the book is edited by one or more editors and different chapters are written by different authors. Normally reference books consist of 10-20 chapters. But the number of chapters can vary.
2. Reference Books are normally produced in low numbers. Normally they are produced in a batch of 5 to 50 copies only. Therefore, the cost of an individual Reference book is always on the higher side. Normally the cost of reference books is in the range of 30-100 dollars. But it may differ also.
3. Sale of reference books are extremely low in comparison to the sale of textbooks. Normally university libraries or sometimes PhD students purchase reference books. Therefore yearly sales of Reference books normally ranges between zero to 50 copies (approx.). Due to low demand, sometimes Reference books are also produced by following the ‘print-on-demand’ process. Therefore, the yearly royalty amount for reference books can be zero to a few hundred dollars only.
4. Example Royalty calculation:
For example, let us assume that the price of a (200-250 pages) reference book is 50 USD. Then printing, hard-board binding, laminated cover-page production, etc. take approximately 20-25 dollars. Packaging and international postage take about 10-15 dollars (depending on geographic location). Overhead cost (Labour+Electric+Marketing+Office, etc.) will be 4-5 dollars. Payment Gateway (like PayPal)+Money conversion charge: 2-3 USD
So the Total cost: 36-48 USD. So the final profit: 2-14 USD. So, we can take the average profit as 8 dollars for a 50 dollar book.
Now, if 80% Royalty is given to the author, then the sole author of a complete book will earn 6.4 USD per book.
Now, if 80% Royalty is given to the authors, then the author(s) of each chapter of an edited book will earn 0.64 USD per book sale (Considering ten chapters in the edited reference book).

Conclusion: Therefore, If authors want to earn money, they may plan to publish popular Textbooks, as the royalty income of Reference books is meagre.

Procedure Followed for Maintenance of Books Sale record.

1. Once any Book Hard Copy and or Digital copy is sold, then our Book Sales report is updated.
2. The update of the Book sales report is done monthly once by our accounting team.
3. Author can Check the online Sales report of his/her book by using the login and password supplied by the IT and accounting team.

(Editorial Team constantly promote the book in different media channels to attract potential viewers and customers. But as a publisher, we cannot force anybody to purchase any book.)

 (Disclaimer: This white paper is published for general awareness. Actual figures may differ depending on geographical condition, price inflation, technological development, etc)

Last update: 20-02-2022