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Can my publisher stop paying me royalties because its distributor went bankrupt?

Q: My publisher told me that I won’t be getting royalties for copies of my book that it sold lately because all its bookstore sales were made through its distributor and the distributor recently filed for bankruptcy. Is there language I can put in my next contract to make sure this won’t happen to me…

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What should I watch out for in the “competitive books” clause?

Q. Is there anything I have to be particularly careful about in the “competitive books” clause? A. Yes. Lots. The most important is to make sure that the prohibition on competitive works applies only to competitive books. Otherwise, your publisher might be able to prohibit you from publishing certain magazine articles and very likely could…

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Can someone else revise my book?

Q. The contract for my new nonfiction book has a revision clause that says that if I don’t revise the book, the publisher can choose the reviser and pay the person from amounts that would otherwise be paid to me under my contract. This seems pretty broad since it means the reviser can get everything…

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Are e-books sold or licensed when bought online?

Q. My publisher wants to include this sentence in my new contract: ”Sales of e-books, whether by Publisher or by a licensee, shall be considered sales by Publisher for purposes of the royalty provisions of this Agreement.” It’s not in my earlier contract. Is it okay to include? A. While I am sympathetic to a…

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Can my publisher cheat me of my royalties by selling my book through its subsidiaries?

Q. Royalties on two textbooks I wrote are being watered down because my 1980s contracts didn’t anticipate sales of e-textbooks or rentals of my textbooks in regular and digital formats. More importantly, the contracts didn’t anticipate that my publisher would own or control the companies that handle its digital and rental copies. As a result,…

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What does “net” mean in the royalties and subsidiary rights sections?

Q. My publishing contract doesn’t define “net.” It’s used in both the royalties and subsidiary rights sections. What does it mean? A. “Net” is one of the worst terms for authors to leave undefined in a contract. “Net” – more typically, “net proceeds” or “net receipts” – is what is left after various expenses are…

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