advanceimages is a radical new concept in visual content provision, designed to make image sales easier and fairer for both photographer and publisher.

It is a new sales model designed specifically for ebook publishers.

The problem

Image pricing in book publishing has traditionally been based on a simple formula — the size of the image on the page, the territories licensed, and the print run of the book. The arrival of the ebook turned this on its head. Without a print run the equation could not be resolved. Ebooks don't have print runs and don't go out of print.

The solution

fotolibra has devised an ingenious and equitable solution, benefiting photographer and publisher alike. Instead of a flat fee for image usage, fotolibra contributors can be paid an annual royalty based on the sales of the ebooks.

Benefits to the photogrpaher

  • Regular, continuing payments
  • Share in success

Benefits to the publisher

  • No upfront fees
  • Improved cash flow

How it works

For the photographer: images are supplied through fotolibra as normal. Payment is made into the contributor account annually.

For the publisher: images are selected and downloaded as usual. No upfront payment is made. Royalty statements for ebook sales are sent to fotolibra. fotolibra calculates the royalties due and invoices accordingly.

For fotolibra: we start with an informed estimate of what a print book on a similar subject would sell in its first printing. Then we calculate what percentage of an ebook's cost would be needed to pay our standard image fees. This percentage is then divided among the supplying photographers. This allocation would be too complex to do without complete system automation as there is substantial background engineering involved. Fortunately fotolibra's Control Bar system with its Accounts tab is already in place for all contributing photographers, so for fotolibra it is a question of slicing each royalty payment and allocating the correct proportion to each photographer. Credits will be applied to each contributor's account every twelve months and will continue indefinitely, as ebooks do not go out of print. If a book becomes a runaway bestseller, the photographer will share in the increased bonus.

The example

A concept as new and radical as this is hard to accept when it is frankly untried and untested. In order to prove the point, fotolibra's holding company VisConPro Ltd set up a digital publishing company, Heritage Ebooks, which released its first forty titles in October 2011. The majority of the 1,900 images in these ebooks came from fotolibra contributors, and the first account credits were made in July 2012. We now have a working model which demonstrates precisely how this system functions.