Income from Books

QUESTION: Do you mind if I ask you about how the financial incentives for you compare between these types of projects? I assume that your books for scholars are not expected to make much money directly, although they are important for your career in other ways. Textbooks are very expensive compared to popular books; for example the list price for your textbook “The New Testament” (paperback) is $65. That’s actually not particularly high as textbooks go, but still at least three times as expensive as your popular books. Its also longer of course at 600 pages vs e.g. about 250 pages for “Misquoting Jesus” so they must take you longer to write. How does the compensation on your end compare?   RESPONSE: Not a problem -- there's nothing very secretive about it.   The first thing to say, though, is that authors have NO say (*NO* say!) over the price of their books.  Publishers don't even ask for an author's opinion! Scholarly books are not profitable, and usually pay nothing or next to nothing.  In lots [...]