HarperCollins Offers Authors Extra 10% Royalty For Using New Ecommerce Platform

Posted on October 6, 2014

HarperCollins Publishers is reaching out to authors with the launch of a new ecommerce program. Authors who sell books using the new platform will earn an additional 10% net royalty above what is in their HarperCollins contracts.

Authors who either send readers to the HarperCollins online store or who put a Buy button on their site (which uses the HarperCollins platform) will earn the additional 10% royalty on print, ebook, and physical audio products that are sold through the platform. It's like an affiliate program for authors.

So how does this work? There are three ways an existing HarperCollins author can participate. The author can add the HarperCollins Buy button on his website. If the reader buys the book through that buy button, the sale will be tracked and the additional 10% royalty will be added to the author's revenue.

The second way to participate is to use HarperCollins' shopping cart on the author website. The third way to participate is to link to the buy button from social media such as Twitter, Facebook or blogs. So why is HarperCollins launching an affiliate program for its own authors? We'll give you one guess. Yes, that's right. It's all about Amazon.com and the fact that Hachette authors are having shipping delays. Clearly HarperCollins is concerned that is going to happen to its authors in the future. Or, perhaps it just wants to irritate Jeff Bezos. No doubt the company execs have also been reading the tea leaves about how unhappy authors are with ebook royalties in general.

Brian Murray, President and CEO of HarperCollins indirectly mentioned the Amazon-Hachette war and the delayed shipping issues. He said, "While our first priority is to sell books through as many different retail channels as possible, we are pleased to provide this platform for our authors who want to sell directly. Our authors can also be certain that their books will always be available to consumers through HarperCollins, even if they are difficult to find or experiencing shipping delays elsewhere." Bazinga!

The program will be available in the U.S. first, then will roll out to other divisions over the next few months. The extra royalties will appear on the author's royalty statement and will be paid as part of the normal royalty payments. Obviously this will benefit major authors the most, as they can drive major traffic from their website or Twitter account. But smaller authors who develop a good Twitter following could also benefit.

Many authors already include buy buttons to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and/or their favorite independent bookseller. This will just be an extra buy button that can generate a bit of extra cash. Of course, some authors just want to write books. They don't want to hawk them constantly, urging readers to buy. But that is the reality of being an author today. Social media is crucial for attracting and retaining readers and this is just a new part of that.