@James Puckett You're correct, of course, about complexity being something to avoid but you're wrong about what constitutes complexity. You're also probably wrong about what keeps people from reading EULAs.
People don't read EULAs because they have a preconceived notion of what legal documents are and that they are hard to read. Complexity doesn't keep people from reading EULAs because they largely don't get far enough to know if the document really is complex.
Complexity is amorphous clauses about "large volume" use or similar, rules with caveats or exceptions, hard to understand concepts, or disconnected ideas that require memorization.
A simple request to credit the font designer is superfluous but it doesn't add complexity. The problem with complexity is that it is a tool used by crooks and scoundrels to trick people. Everyone knows this and so even when those of us who mean well allow ourselves to be complex we sow mistrust. Trust is very important in a negotiation so it's best not to throw it away before one even starts. Since a lot of the people who read a font EULA are doing so as a first step in a license enforcement settlement the goal of a good EULA should be to make sure that person reads it and doesn't think it's complex and confusing.
I run an independent foundry and I can tell you that driving font sales requires a great deal of costly effort. Saying "sales is sales" is like the web developer who says "fonts are fonts" and chooses to use a system font because it saves processor speed.
The infrastructure alone for font sales (shopping cart, database, website) is costly and complicated to build and maintain. These things have to be built custom because of the nature of how we sell fonts. That alone is probably worth a 20-25% cut. Then there's the fact that users want to look for fonts in large libraries. I speak from experience when I say that it is much harder to drive sales to a small library. So, just being a part of a large library might be worth 5-10%. Then there's customer service, which can be considerable even with online sales - another 5-10%. Then the cost of advertising... it's very easy to fairly justify a 50% cut.
If you're still doubting my logic then ask yourself this: Are you willing to try to start your own foundry to publish and sell your own fonts? Maybe you've looked into it and know what that would cost. Even if you think that would ultimately be cheaper than using a reseller the opportunity cost associated with not being able to sell your fonts RIGHT NOW is an issue. If the answer is no then the conclusion is that the "fair" reseller cut is the one which results in the most sales for you.
Yes, FontSpring is a respected seller who charges only 30%. They do that by keeping licensing simple (only perpetual, lots of one size fits all pricing) with the idea that the money will be made on volume. That's a valid business model but very different from the Monotype model that dominates the rest of the industry. I can't say if one actually brings in more money because we don't work with any of them but I wouldn't be surprised if the foundry net is very similar in both models. Therefore, I'd suggest that you think not in terms of percent paid to the reseller but in terms of which business model you prefer (both in sensibility and in net to you).
You might be asking yourself why the CEO of a independent foundry that works with no resellers other than Adobe is making this full throated defense of the value of resellers. Because there really is a logic behind their existence and the amount they charge for their services. There's another set of logic for why we don't work with them but that has nothing to do with whether or not their fees are "fair"
I think it is super important to guard the name of our font as associated with the retail build. Fonts get around, even those that are not top sellers, and we want to make certain that there is no misunderstanding about what the retail version is.
I'm sure there are some clients who will be really annoyed by having to change some layouts once but they are not the majority and, even if they were, they aren't being reasonable. The clients who commission a modification to our fonts are often among the most high profile users of that given font. The risk to the font brand if the retail build brand gets diluted is a far bigger deal than the inconvenience of a little work at the front end for the client. Such damage to the brand can't be repaired.
we've seen a decrease in the same period (not as big but still noticeable). I had thought it was because our biggest seller has been around a while and was losing steam but perhaps it's simply industry wide? Are other indie foundries seeing the same?