Publishers are feeling the heat, with hardcover sales weak and the rise of e-books promising to upend their business models. But the world's 10 top-earning authors are making out just fine, earning a combined $270 million over the 12 months to June 1.
James Patterson's $70 million in earnings vaults him to No. 1 on our list, up from second place two years ago. The prolific thriller writer's latest deal, signed last fall, involves penning a carpal tunnel-risking 17 books by the end of 2012 for an estimated $100 million.
Patterson's literary empire includes television, comic book and gaming deals. His foreign sales alone bring in well over $10 million a year. Patterson's e-books are posting respectable numbers, too. I, Alex Cross alone has sold 160,000 units digitally. Ironic, given that there's no computer in his home office - Patterson writes all his novels in longhand. To date he has published 51 New York Times best sellers.
Image: James Patterson
Text and images: Copyright Forbes.com Any unauthorised reproducton is prohibited.