Sunday, March 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Heaping Buckets of Cash

So, the first American hardcover printing of book seven of the Harry Potter series is going to be 12,000,000 copies with a cover price of 34.99. At a very conservative estimate of 15 percent royalty rate for the hardcover, that's 70,000,000.00 for the first printing. That's a single hardcover printing in one country. That doesn't include paperback, further printings or any of the other countries. Wow! Just, wow! This business is a very strange lottery.


Kelly Swails said...

Jesus. I can't even fathom that. I suspect most other writers can't, either. Can you imagine the amount of pressure she's under? She must be made of steel. Or has a good pharmacist.

Would she get the 15%-of-$34.99 royalty if the book is sold at, say, a 40% discount? Lots of the major booksellers do that with the big releases. With my Barnes and Noble card I'll probably play only $17.00 for mine. How does that work?

tate said...

The way I understand it is that the bookstores are the ones that give the discount, so discounted books don't affect royality rates.

I'm often wrong, however.

Erik Buchanan said...

Wow. That is staggering.

It's funny, I can't even imagine that many sales. Of course, I'm not writing for the youth market and haven't built up a following over 10 years. Still. Wow.

And speaking of sales, I got listed on (Small Magics is the title) over the past week. That is so cool!

It's funny, it was all so unreal until I saw that. Now I'm in a mad scrable with my illustrator for cover art and I'm going through proofs at high speed because it has to be on the shelf June 15.

(And yes, this comment is advertising as much as anything else, but it is really exciting!!).

Kelly McCullough said...

The royalty may be adjusted for discounts, depending on how her contract is structured, the exact amount of the discount, and who's eating the costs. Given her stature and the sheer power she has to get people into bookstores I'm guessing she gets something very much like 15% of cover price even if the store is selling at 40% off. That's in part because she probably gets more than 15% which is aproximately industry standard for hardcovers after the 1st 5,000 or so copies. It's much more complex than that with escalator clauses and formulas for how discounts are distributed, but that's a reasonably educated guess.

Erik, Congratulations! I know exactly what you mean about seeing it for sale making it real. I'll check it out.