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Sony eBook Store Adds Tool For Self-Publishers; Authors Keep At Least 42 Percent Of Revenues

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Sony (NYSE: SNE) has lined up eBook distributors Author Solutions and Smashwords to offer a self-publishing tool for its online store. No specifics on the revenue sharing; Chris Smythe, director of the Sony eBook Store, would only say “It’s a better deal than what some other eBook stores” are offering — a not-so-veiled allusion to Amazon’s reported 70 percent take of author’s revenues for its Kindle store. Smashwords founder and CEO Mark Coker did provide a general guideline of what his company offers its self-publishers: “The author receives 85 percent of the net. Although we’re contractually obligated (with Sony, B&N, etc) not to disclose the exact discounts we’re giving retailers such as Sony, we do tell our authors most retailers are in the 50 percent range which means they can expect to receive 42.5 percent of the list price.”

The embrace of self-publishers comes a few months after document-sharing site Scribd added an e-commerce function to its otherwise free marketplace. Scribd has been talking with Sony about adding its self-published authors to Sony’s store, but so far, they haven’t settled on the terms. It’s not clear whether they will ultimately come to a deal, but Scribd has boasted that it lets its authors keep 80 percent of the revenues from eBook titles it sells. Sony might not want to go that far.