What Are the Publishing Standard Royalty Rates?

You've written a book and can't wait to get it published and start cashing in on the royalties. But how much can you expect to get paid? Since the standard royalty rates are not very standard, the results might be a little surprising.


Royalty rates for print books vary from contract to contract and from publisher to publisher. The rates for paperback books should be clearly stated in your contract, and can range anywhere from four to 15 percent.


Hardcover or trade books are paid on a slightly higher scale, ranging from 10 to 15 percent.


Royalty rates for ebooks are higher than print books, and can range from 25 to 50 percent. There is a much lower overhead cost in ebooks, and the savings can be passed down to the author.

Sliding Scale

Royalties are sometimes paid on a sliding scale. This means that you are given a percentage rate, and as sales increase, the percentage rate increases. For example, the royalty rate might be 10 percent on the first 5,000 books, and increase to 15 percent on any sales after that figure is reached.

Small Publishers

Royalty rates also vary based on the type of publisher. Small publishers who do not have the funds to offer authors high advances will sometimes offer higher royalty rates.

New Authors

Just like small publishers, a new author needs to prove himself before he can get the higher royalties. If the sales of his first book are good, he may get a higher royalty rate on his second book.

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