How Much Should Publishers Pay Contributors?

How Much Should Publishers Pay Contributors?


A professor who prefers to remain anonymous—perhaps so as to not weaken his bargaining position—asks for help from Daily Nous readers about how much he should request to be paid for allowing a publisher to use one of his articles in a textbook anthology. He writes:

Does anyone have any information about how much, if anything, an author should expect to receive as a fee from a publisher to include a previously published article in a textbook anthology? I’ve recently been approached by a well-known publisher to include a paper of mine in the latest edition of a well established anthology intended for class use. The permission form I received included the choice of two tick boxes – one for no fee, and one for a fee in USD (with a blank to fill in the amount). Part of me is, of course, tempted to ask for $1000000 and to then negotiate from there… More pessimistically, the beaten-down academic in me is inclined to tick “no fee” so to avoid the chance of putting off the publisher with what they see as an unreasonable request. 

I should add that I’m not in direct contact with the publisher – they are using another company that deals with copyrights and permissions; and I’m afraid I’m not sure who the editor of the anthology will be as the original editor has, unfortunately, passed away. So it would take a bit of work to track down someone at the publisher to see what they would consider reasonable.  That said, this would be my default option if there doesn’t seem to be any “industry standard”. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

(art: “Kraken” by Chad Person)

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