February 23 – March 2, 2006 Edition

Penguin Australia

Cuts Author Royalties

In Line With UK and US

AUSTRALIA/2/17/06—The Australian division of Penguin Group (Australia), owned by Pearson Plc., has announced it will cutback royalty rates paid to authors who reprint their paperback books from an average of ten percent to six or eight percent. Australian publishers have traditionally paid higher royalty rates than in other countries.

The new rates are, according to Penguin, the same as are the standard rates in New York or London, and thus are not anything unusual.

Penguin Australia’s publishing director Bob Sessions has been quoted in the media as saying that the company is attempting to draw its contracts more in line with international practice. The lower royalties apparently have already been included in contracts but have not been enforced.

Penguin, the country’s largest trade publisher, has roughly a 16 percent market share of book sales. Agents and authors are concerned that the move by Penguin might prompt other publishers to also cut royalty rates. Harper Australia is one publisher that has said no change is expected in its rates for now.

Read the full story in The Australian.