Download or Physical Book? Which is Better for the Author?

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Several readers have asked us this considerate question: Does the author of a Lost Art Press book make more money when someone buys a physical book or a downloaded book?

The answer is: With Lost Art Press books, the author makes the same amount.

Outside of our little publishing terrarium, many electronic books are just about the same price as the physical book. This usually translates into more money for the publisher because of the lower cost of creating and delivering an electronic book. It’s a complicated equation, but that is the greatly simplified version.

We use a different formula to determine the cost of an electronic book. We remove the cost of pre-press, printing, transporting and storing the physical book. So the cost of our electronic books is the intellectual cost of the book (writing, editing, designing and eating), plus storing it and transmitting it to customers.

And that is why our electronic books cost less than the physical book. We think it’s the fair way to go for readers and authors. Others disagree. We give not a crap.

Here are links to the books we offer electronically:

Campaign Furniture
Doormaking and Window-Making
The Art of Joinery
By Hand & Eye
The Anarchist’s Tool Chest
To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry
Mouldings in Practice
The Essential Woodworker
The Joiner & Cabinet Maker

One last thing: All of our electronic books are free of Digital Rights Management (DRM). That means the files have no passwords and can be transported easily from device to device.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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14 Responses to Download or Physical Book? Which is Better for the Author?

  1. Scott Hall says:

    Nice post Chris. I like your honesty and fairness exhibited to both yourself and your customers. My dilemma is that although I like the portability and searchability of the ebook format I pine for the feel of a book in my hands.

  2. fitz says:

    And drinking. Don’t forget the cost of drinking.

  3. Where is the cost of rehab (after publication) factored in?

  4. tsstahl says:

    I like the DRM free format.

    I like the very reasonable price break on buying the dead tree and circulated electron combo.

    Consequently, I feel good about the forty bucks I dropped the other day. High praise from a tightwad like me.

  5. bgilstrap says:

    “And that is why our electronic books cost less than the physical book. We think it’s the fair way to go for readers and authors. Others disagree. We give not a crap.”

    Indeed. A fair price for a fair result.

    As my best mate (now back) in Australia has said for over 30 years: “Good on ya.”

    Not just good practice, but good business. It may take a while to be clear, but it will.

    Brian

  6. I officially love that Lost Art Press (and woodworking imprints in general) have embraced DRM-free formats for books and articles. Makes it trivially easy to keep a synced and fully searchable library available on my main computer and iPad.

  7. seawolfe2013 says:

    I like reading on the iPad, but sometimes it just does not measure up. It’s sort of like seeing a picture of a Lie Neilson plane vs holding one in your hand. Just not the same. Lost Art Press books beg to be held. I ordered both the digital and the REAL book.

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