Monday, July 16, 2012

When out of print isn't out of print -- or WTF?

This isn't exactly what you think.  Read on.

As many of you know, I'm a professional author as well as a publisher.  I've been through the big houses, and I've been working hard on my own press, as well as some of my own books.

I've received a note from a publisher via my former agent that a particular book is out of print.  I'm okay with that, because, quite frankly, it's nonfiction and more than 10 years old.  I own the copyright.  So, I should be able to do something with it, yes?

No.

You see, when I asked for the rights back, I got a letter stating that it wasn't "really" out of print.  Yes, it is, but they're not releasing the rights back.

WTF?

You heard me.  They're not going to give my book back even though the book is out of print.  Come to think of it, I have other out of print books there and they're "considering" whether they want to use them in the future.  Maybe. 

This isn't a fly-by-night operation.  Oh no-siree.  This is a MAJOR NYC publishing house.  You'd recognize their label anywhere.

And I won't be making money on my own books even though I own the rights.  Got to love it.

This is why I give my authors 5 year contracts.  And this is why I don't tell them "screw you" if they want out of the contracts.

Folks, whatever contract you sell your soul to, be sure you can get it back some way if the book goes out of print.  Lesson learned.  Money is good, but not making any more on the book is very bad.  It's your work, damn it.

There, I'm done with ranting.

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