Publishing heavyweight Random House Inc. announced it will split revenue from electronic books evenly with authors, a change that could shape a heated industry debate over digital technology. Random House, the largest English-language publisher, said it will pay authors 50% of the revenue it generates from the sale of e-books, a minuscule market but one that is expected to boom. Authors currently earn 15% of an e-book's list price. Random House is the first publisher to take such a stand on a question that has divided publishers and authors. E-books, sold as data files that can be downloaded into devices ranging from desktop computers to portable electronic readers, are much less expensive for publishers to produce and sell than printed books. Authors have argued that they should therefore enjoy a greater share of the profit. By agreeing, Random House hopes to forge closer ties with authors and pave the way for greater sales of e-books, said Erik Engstrom, president and chief operating officer.