Small Published Author, ebook Question

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Small Published Author, ebook Question

Post by cory_jasper1 » August 7th, 2015, 1:50 pm

Hello you, I am the illustrator of a book that has been published by a small local publishing company. I asked the author if he would be ok with me putting an ebook up online and he said yes, however there might be a conflict with the publisher. I would like to know before I contact the publisher if there is a general rule of thumb for putting the book online or if it depends on the agreement made between publisher and author. Do we still have a right to distribute an ebook even if someone else has distribution rights to the book itself? Would it make a difference selling the ebook/ giving it away? This is my first time on this forum and I realize I am bursting in here like a bull in a china shop, however I feel very strongly about this so any information would be much appreciated.

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Re: Small Published Author, ebook Question

Post by polymath » August 9th, 2015, 6:36 pm

Contacting the publisher is a best advised course. Publishing contracts anymore include definition of rights assignment. If the publisher bought the electronic rights, then an independent publication could be an infringement of those rights. However, if the publisher bought those rights and has not and has no plans to electronically publish the book, they may be amenable to another publisher arranging permission to do so. If the electronic rights are not under contract, though, no reason why another publisher couldn't publish electronically.

The print-contracted publisher may not like another publisher electronically publishing one of their properties, so a best advised course is to gain their approval anyway. They may ask for a right of review and input so the electronic edition meets an expectation standard. Preparation for negotiations is also best advised. They may, for example, ask for a licensing consideration, a fee. After all, they bought the publication rights to the content. On the other hand, they may be delighted that an electronic edition is on the market and could enhance the print edition's sales performance.

Also, the author should have the publishing contract. If possible, check that first, for electronic rights assignment: whether contracted or not, whether a first right of refusal clause gives the print publisher that right, whether electronic publication proscribed or restricted.

An intellectual property lawyer's advice is best advised in any case, to avoid possible litigation.

Negotiating points for consideration:
Electronic Rights permission
Possible reprint fees
Possible revenue sharing (author, print publisher, electronic publisher)
Right of electronic edition review and direction input and approval
Marketing enhancement potentials
Purpose and nature of the electronic publication (profit incentive, altruistic, promotional)
Distribution channels, like worldwide online booksellers, of course, or limited distribution through, say, a direct outlet website that may be the sole distribution point to offer the electronic version
Possible sales review request of electronic distribution statements and publication records
Spread the love of written word.

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