$1.00 Per Year For Textbook Use Of RM Images

Posted on 9/10/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Photographer Jacques Jangoux reports that Alamy has licensed two of his images - A3N0PR (2 boys in a canoe in the Amazon region) and A3AB62 (waterfall of Jari River, tributary of the Amazon) – for just $25.00 each for textbook use. Of course the photographer will only receive 60% of these figures.

The license was for World English language rights in both print and e-books with a print run of up to 3 million books. The customer can use the image for the next 25 years. The usage is inside (not sure what that means in an e-book) and as large as one full page in size.
The name of the publisher was not supplied, but given the circulation figures one would assume the purchaser is one of world’s larger publishers.

Most textbooks are selling in the range of $100 or more per copy. Some of the larger books have as many as 1,000 images in them although when they have that many images most are printed one-quarter page or smaller. So let’s run some numbers. If the publisher sells 3 million images over the next 25 year that will be gross revenue of $300 million – and the prices charged for a book will probably go up quite a bit over the next 25 years.
Assuming 1,000 images at $25 each their total cost for images will be $25,000. Thus, that works out to a total cost of $0.0833 (8.33 cents), not just per image, but for all the images that appear in each book that is sold for $100.00.

But, of course, we know that the publishers are suffering. Photographers need to supply pictures to publishers as discount rates so future students can get a proper education. Here’s some figures that show how much two of the major publishers - and the investors who own their stock - are suffering.

    2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Pearson PLC            
  Gross Income 2,250 2,460 2,580 2,870 3,010
  Net Income 311 382 340 529 957
  EBITDA 780 745 992 1,160 1,210
  Total Revenues   6,355 5,870 6,072 6,246
  Cost of Goods Sold   2,518 2,339 2,295 2,400
  Gross Profit   3,836 3,531 3,777 4,846
  Operating Income   1,448 1,277 1,413 1,485
  Net Income   799 731 828 911

All these numbers are in millions of U.S. dollars. Of course, photos aren’t the only costs the publishers have and both companies are engaged in a number of lines of business other than textbook publishing. Nevertheless, both companies have been able to steadily grow profits for their investors.

For more on the financial go here for Pearson PLC information and here for McGraw-Hill information.  

Getting back to photographer Jangoux who has had significant costs in producing, and making available images of the Amazon region, he say, “I think I am going to look for work in a car wash or something.”

Copyright © 2012 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Charles Cecil Posted Sep 10, 2012
    The exact same thing happened to me on September 7: two images, full-page size, 3 million copies, 25 years, all for $25 each. This seems to be a new pricing paradigm for Alamy. I immediately wrote Alan Capel and told him that at this price it will be difficult for me to continue to submit my best images to Alamy. Maybe not even my good images. I would encourage others to write him as well. Chuck Cecil

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