Here is a simple Ebook Publishers Example of 3 different writers that have ebooks published by 3 different ebook publishers. Note that many of the variables have been omitted for simplicity. Three writers (A, B, C) have ebooks published by three different ebook publishers (X,Y,Z)
Writer A pays ebook publisher X no publishing fee. The publisher pays 50% royalties on all downloads
Writer B pays ebook publisher Y a £50 marketing fee. (This fee will be refunded after 100 copies of the ebook are sold) The publisher pays 52% royalties on all downloads
Writer C pays ebook publisher Z £100 as a one off publishing fee. The publisher pays 54% royalties on all downloads
Keeping this as simple as possible and assuming that each writer sells the same number of books priced at £5 per book, we look at some scenarios.
If each writer sells 50 books
Writer A earns 50*5*0.50 =£125, Writer B earns 50 * 5* 0.52 - 50 = £80, Writer C earns 50*5*0.54 -100 = £35
If each writer sells 100 books
Writer A earns 100*5*0.50 =£250, Writer B earns 100 * 5* 0.52 - 50 =£260, Writer C earns 100*5*0.54 -100 =£170
If each writer sells 500 books
Writer A earns 500*5*0.50 =£1250, Writer B earns 500 * 5* 0.52 - 50 =£1300 and Writer C earns 500*5*0.54 -100 =£1250
If each writer sells 10000 books
Writer A earns £25,000, Writer B earns £25,950 and Writer C earns £26900
From this, it’s easily seen the writer's earnings are dependent not only on the number of books sold but are dependent on what’s offered by the publisher.
Writer A earns more than B or C when few books are sold. Writer C earns more than A or B when many books are sold and writer B comes somewhere in between.
In this example, the royalties are pretty well matched and from this information alone, it would be wrong to come to any conclusions on what publisher was best. However, if publisher Z promised writer C that many books would be sold using his services knowing that writer C would only sell a few books, his conduct would be questionable.