Top 10 List of the highest earning Book Authors

Just last month Amazon published a report of its authors whom have sold the most ebooks online. Today Forbes published a report of the highest earners of the ebook industry. This report covers the time period between June 1 2009 and June 2 2010. It not only covers book sales, but film rights, gaming deals, and other income.

Although the publishing industry is seen to be experiencing a downturn in sales, authors are making more then ever. Bestselling thriller ebook author James Patterson was at the very top of the list, making over 70 million dollars. This figure includes his most recent book published “The Postcard Killers”. Recently James has signed a new 17 book deal, that would bring his earnings up to 100 million dollars.

This might sound like allot and it is, but James Patterson who is a nimber 63 years of age, and has over 50 Bestselling books under his belt. He’s been in the game a long time, and has a very devote following of readers.

Patterson is not the only one making money. Paranormal Vampire author phenom Stephenie Meyer made around 40 million, and ranks number 2 on the Forbes list. The bulk of this income was mainly derived by the Twilight Series of Movies.

Followed up to these 2 are Horror and suspense guru Stephen King (34 million) and Romance icon Danielle Steele (32 million). These two authors not only made a fair income in book sales, but residual income from movies. Stephen King will likely raise a spot next year with a new deal with DC Comics to co-write a comic book series; a musical with John Mellencamp; and a drama series with the SyFy network based on his novella The Colorado Kid.

The List continues with British writing Ken Follett (20 million), whom is best known for his seminal series The Pillers of Earth. Ken explains that “This is my most popular book. It still sells about 100,000 copies a year in paperback in the US, it was number one in the UK and Italy and it was on the German best seller list for six years. It’s overwhelmingly the book that readers talk to me about when I meet them in bookshops. It’s becoming a cult”.

The Horror continues as the bane of good vibes Dean Koontz (18 million) took the number six spot with his tales of strife. He made this money primarily with his new tale “The Husband”, which was also been optioned for a movie.

Mystery and Romance author Janet Evanovich (16 million), whom is best known for her Stephanie Plum series ranked at number seven. Her latest iteration of the series was “Sizzling Sixteen”. Janet considers her series to inspired by the movie Midnight Run, staring Robert De Niro.

Number 8 is reserved for legal thriller scribe John Grisham (15 million). This year his main success was the new legal thriller, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. Which is mainly aimed at the teen market, and stars a young protagonist. He also earned a chunk of money from the ebook versions of his books that just went up this year with Random House.

Sauntering down at number 9 is suave Romance writer Nicholas Sparks (14 million). His most recent book The Last song did quite well in sales and his upcoming book Safe Haven is projected to be a best seller. Over his career Nicholas sparks sold 55 million books and his movies based on the books, has done over $300 million.

Closing this report of the highest earning book authors, at number 10 we have J.K Rowling ($10 million). Also this has been a slow year for Rowling with no new book to be issued, she is the worlds only billion dollar author. Her Harry Potter series of books, is seen by some as a generation defining series of books.

Source: Forbes

Michael Kozlowski (5211 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to

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