Today 23 April is World Book and Copyright Day.
85% of internet downloads in Spain are illegal
“Excuse me. I spent six months writing that. If you pay for the download you might get the publisher to pay me a few euros in royalties.”
“You authors only think of lining your own pockets.”
“Lining your pockets and raining us!!”
“Free culture, you swine!!”
I wouldn’t like to say whether or not that figure of 85% is strictly true or not but Spain has had big problems with piracy. The situation is being resolved by law, and it is also true that with DRM the publishers have avoided the disaster that befell the music industry, but there is still a cultural problem with the widespread view that culture should be free to all. But someone has to pay for it somewhere.
For an ebook the publisher receives somewhere between 40% and 65% of the retail price before VAT, which is charged at the standard rate in the EU (21% in Spain). If an ebook costs €2.99, the pre-tax price will be €2.47, of which the publisher will get about €1.30. And only a part of that will go to the author of course unless the book is self-published.