Books piracy is one of the biggest problems in Pakistan. It has become very difficult to buy original books in Pakistan. You can easily find shops and online Facebook pages selling you pirated books for as less as Rs. 250 per book. But think about it for a minute. Imagine you are an author of a book and you spend so much time and effort on writing it. Imagine how you would feel if this piece of hard work gets pirated and you don’t get paid what you deserve. That’s exactly how authors feel when their books are pirated.
Book authors put a lot of effort in giving us amazing pieces of pure art. Piracy, the unauthorized use of copyrighted works, is a serious issue for publishers and authors alike. Book piracy, whether in print or digital form, is costing publishers around the world billions of dollars annually. It creates significant harmful effects throughout the book chain, not only hurting publishers, distributors and retailers, but also authors and readers. For every pirated or copied book, authors lose royalty in millions of dollars. In this post I am going to share how you can buy original books in Pakistan.
How do Authors get paid?
Let’s dig into how authors get paid for their work. Authors are paid via advances and royalties set forth in the publishing contract.
Advance and Payouts
Most publishers are willing to pay authors some portion of the royalties before publication. Advances tend to be scheduled in installments. These are called “payouts” and should be listed in the contract. Here are three typical payouts.
- Small advances – 1/2 at signing, 1/2 at publication
- Medium advances – 1/3 at signing, 1/3 at delivery and acceptance of the manuscript, 1/3 at publication
- Large advances – 1/4 at signing, 1/4 at delivery and acceptance of the manuscript, 1/4 at publication (hardback), 1/4 publication (paperback)
It is important to remember that an author does not receive royalties until the advance has been recouped. The advance is an advance against royalties.
The contract will list a schedule of royalties paid as a percentage of the sale of each book for all formats. Typically there are four major formats: hardback, trade paperback, mass-market paperback, and ebook. You will want to be clear about how the publisher calculates the royalties. There are a variety of formulas. A percentage of the retail price (or list price) is much different (and more money to the author) than a percentage of the net price (which takes into consideration any discounts given to induce a bookstore to buy the book). The basic calculation looks like this: Retail Price x Royalty Percentage x Books Sold = Author Royalty Payment. Examples of royalty percentages might be:
- Hardcover – 10% retail price on first 5,000 copies, 12½% on the next 5000 copies, then 15% thereafter.
- Paperback – 6-7½% of retail price. This rate can escalate like for hardcover based on the number of books sold. That mark can be 25,000 books or even 150,000, then 8%.
- Digital or ebooks – 25% of retail price or net price (which is low if you consider the publisher does not have the standard printing and shipping costs to pay).
This is another potential source of income for a writer. These are less important rights than the primary right to publish the book. The publisher can license these rights to a third-party for a license fee, or exploit them itself. Sometimes the publisher will forgo subsidiary rights, thinking the author and agent can do better at marketing them. If the publisher does license any subsidiary rights, the contract will set forth the split in the licensing fee, like 50/50 or 90/10 depending on what right is being licensed and to whom. Some subsidiary rights are:
- Dramatic or Performance – This covers the right to produce the work in formats like film, television, plays, and cable. Generally, an agent will reserve these rights to be sold separately to a studio or network. A publisher will still benefit when the movie enhances book sales.
- Audio – This covers audiobooks. Frequently these rights are licensed to multiple audio producers.
- Merchandising – These may not be important but it is good to be clear who controls the right to make things like t-shirts, toys, etc.
- Reprints/Mass-market paperbacks – Some publishers are not in the business of mass-market paperbacks and will license the rights to a trade publisher who specializes in them.
- First Serialization – This would be pre-publications like excerpts in newspapers, periodicals, or online publications to help generate interest in the book before it reaches the shelves
Pirated books demotivate authors to put their creativity in their work. This is why you should always buy original books in Pakistan
Buying Used Original Books
When you’re buying a book second-hand, even though you’re also getting to read the book without the author getting paid for your reading it, at least you know the author did get paid once for that particular bit of content—when the book was originally sold new. And under the Doctrine of First Sale, selling used books is explicitly legal—once someone has bought a new book, they can keep it, lend it, sell it, or even burn it if they want to. Plus, buying a used book decreases the used supply of that book, meaning it is that much more likely the next person looking for it won’t be able to find a copy and will have to buy it new.
How to Buy Original Books in Pakistan
Physical Book Store
Liberty Books is one of the leading physical book stores in Pakistan. They offers a wide variety of original books in their stores. They have stores in Karachi, Lahore and Hyderabad.
In Karachi they have outlets in Park Towers, Dolmen Mall (both Tariq Road and Clifton), Aga Khan University Hospital and LuckyOne Mall. In Lahore you can find one at Packages Mall and Liberty has one store at Boulevard Mall, Hyderabad. They are very pricey in comparison to the online book store I found.
Online Book Store
I always prefer original books over pirated and I buy books a lot. Just like many, I hate going out to buy stuff when I can get right at my doorstep. One of my friends suggested me this website called bonpaper.com and I was amazed by the prices they were offering. bonpaper is a new online book store in Pakistan which I found, is providing better prices than Liberty Books. So I am definitely going to suggest you to check them out here.
Always support authors and publishers and only buy original books in Pakistan. We need to promote book reading culture and support authors at the same time. I hope you find this useful and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know in the comments below.