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Thread: abook2read.com / Life of Riley Productions, Ltd.

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    abook2read.com / Life of Riley Productions, Ltd.

    I've been offered a chance to get my short stories published by abook2read.com, the British e-book publishing site. Now as per the contract, which I have not yet signed and which is here, the publisher has first refusal of all future works by the author and in case the author and publisher can't come to terms, the author is free to approach another publisher only if that publisher is offering terms that abook2read can't match. The contract's last page provides a list of royalty values.

    At the same time, there is the fact that unlike print runs, I know of no secure way one can learn of actual e-book downloads.

    My questions: Has anyone else published with abook2read? Are these terms acceptable? How can one keep track of numbers of e-downloads? What experiences have the other authors here had with e-book publishers? How do e-books stack up against print publishers? Please let me know!

  2. #2
    Hates Marketing. Loves Writing. The Grump's Avatar
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    Same Questions

    Sorry, I don't have any answers.

    I would like to second your questions to the more experienced at the cooler. I've had the same questions in general about e-publishing.

  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Judging by the excerpts, this is more a display site than a publisher. Also, not only is payment on net, they won't cut a check for less than 50. That's...not standard.
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert when it comes to contracts: but it seems to me that they take all rights to the work; insist that you then offer all subsequent work to them, and then if they offer to publish it you can only refuse their offer if you can find a better offer elsewhere (although what's "better" in this context is not defined); and if the work does make it into print they are only offering a royalty of 10% of net on the hardback edition, or 8% of net on the paperback edition.

    It doesn't sound good to me at all--but I might have misread it. Tread carefully.

  5. #5
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I agree with Old Hack: the terms are definitely not acceptable. Never give away all rights to a work unless you're being very well compensated. Never give up rights for the full term of the copyright. Never sign an options clause for short stories.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks very much, everyone. While I've decided to give this guy a miss, I've e-mailed him the following letter. His answers may be interesting:



    Dear Torquil

    I read your "Final Agreement" .pdf file with considerable interest and found myself wondering about some points. I need some clarifications about these questions:

    Your Point No 2 (Grant of Rights). You mention (2.1) the "full legal term of the agreement and all extensions thereof". What is the full legal term? It is not defined or denoted under point 1 of the agreement. How are any extensions to be managed, by a formula or by mutual agreement or by case by case negotiations?

    (2.2) Will your site also seek out further opportunities for publishing the books in print/other format? In specifying that you have the complete right to negotiate with other interested parties, are you limiting yourself to unsolicited approaches or will you also act as a literary agent?

    Your point No (4) Option on Future Work. Now according to this point during the course of the agreement the publisher, that's you, has the right of first refusal to any and all material the author writes, even if commissioned by a third party, and the author has a right to accept an offer from another party if only it's better than what you're offering.

    This point has me asking several pertinent questions:

    1. Is it fair to the author to bind him to a publisher for material the author has not yet written? What if the author prefers to submit his future work elsewhere? I don't know what you'd have done in my place, but certainly I'd balk at giving anyone rights over my future work.

    2. By taking the rights of first refusal, isn't the publisher throwing the author open to the possibility of lawsuits if the author is commissioned to write something by a third party? If the author has to live in fear of lawsuits, isn't he perforce going to avoid writing anything at all for a third party during the course of the agreement, and doesn't the author, in effect, become bound to the publisher? Another feature of the contract that would be an immediate deal-breaker for me.

    3. What is the criterion for "better" offer from a third party? That's not defined, and it should be. Is offering a greater royalty percentage a "better" offer? Suppose another publisher offers lesser royalty but greater potential sales? Are your 10% hardback and 8% paperback royalties at industry standard level? And why should the author not be deemed competent to judge for himself which offer to accept?

    Your point (5) Payment. What is the mode of payment? How is the author to know whether the number of downloads is actually as stated by the publisher? Is there any independent method of verification? Is it industry standard to carry over payments of below 50 pounds to the next quarter?

    And three other questions: 1. What, precisely, will the publisher do to promote the book? In print, books can be advertised and prominently displayed in bookstores, reviewed by magazines and newspapers, and the like. I don't know how, except by random happenstance and aggressive self-promotion online by the author, potential readers would arrive on your site. I would need to know more about this.

    2. I have read on your home page that you don't edit works but publish "raw manuscripts" as you put it. Since I do a strict self-editing I don't really mind this, but the samples of writing I have read on your site weren't particularly grammatical or well-presented. I am not sure of reader enthusiasm under these circumstances.

    3. How about the author's access to his own work on your site? Nothing about that is mentioned. Again, I need information on this.

    Hoping for a quick, detailed and satisfactory reply.

    Bill



    PS I may have follow up questions.
    Last edited by Bill the Butcher; 05-17-2009 at 04:22 PM.

  7. #7
    smart enough to know better
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    Dear Bill

    I've never dealt with e-book publishers, but I do visit their websites from time to time. Most of them pay between 40% and 50% royalty on downloaded books, so this looks like a cheapskate to me.

    DP

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Dear Bill,

    The e-book publishing company I signed up with paid, 60% on books downloaded from their own website, and 20% for third party sales, such as Fictionwise, or Mobipocket. (Fictionwise take 50% for selling the books on their site.) It was an amount for under $10.00 they held back until the next quarter.

    I too have just had a novel accepted by abook2read, but no e-book publishing company can demand right of first refusal on subsequent work, unless they either make a substantial cash advance on your original work.

    E-bookitpress.com offers a standard e-book publishing contract, you retain the rights to your characters and it specifically states that it makes no claim on any other of your work.

    You can also cancel the cotract after within the two yeare period by giving 30 days notice in writing.

    I hope that helps,

    bic.

  9. #9
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Site's gone. Owner's Tw feed stopped being about books Oct '11 (and halted completely Dec '12).
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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