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Thread: [Publisher] Flying Books / Eboo

  1. #1
    It's a dorky day! writerterri's Avatar
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    [Publisher] Flying Books / Eboo

    Writer beware! Before you sign any contracts with these guys I would have someone on your end go over the contract with you.

    Check them out before you sign anything!

    I had two mss accepted by them and had the contract gone through and explained to me and there's some major discrepancies.
    I'm not middle aged. I'm middle seasoned. TL Wies

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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Adding links: http://www.facebook.com/FlyingBooks and http://www.facebook.com/eboo.kids

    Could you be more specific, please?

    ETA: their call for submissions in Paying Markets - http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=217774
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 09-17-2011 at 03:24 AM.
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  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple of Flying Books' contracts, and I have some concerns.

    - They ask for a non-exclusive license to publish, distribute, sell, and merchandise the books. Though the non-exclusivity technically means writers could publish elsewhere, no other publisher is going to be interested in a story whose electronic rights are encumbered. (I've seen some of Flying Books' correspondence, and the supposed ability to publish elsewhere is one of the things they tout as an advantage of their company.)

    - The license is fully sublicenseable and transferable, with no approval from the writer required--so the company can sublicense at will, and/or writers could at some point find themselves with a different company.

    - The license language includes the term "fully-paid". Generally, this means that all payment has already been provided, and no further payment is due. Given that the contract does stipulate further payment--in the form of an income split, with writers and illustrators splitting 70% of net revenue--this language wouldn't seem to be appropriate. IMO, this is something that needs clarification.

    - There's no requirement for the publisher to include a copyright notice in the book.

    - There's no time period in which the publisher must publish or else relinquish rights.

    - The contract is a joint contract between writer and illustrator, so rights in the books are jointly held. Not necessarily a problem, but definitely something to be aware of.

    - Writers can terminate the contract at any time--but there is a catch, and it's a major one. If you terminate before the book has generated $2,000 in revenue for Flying Books (i.e., before Flying Books' 30% of net revenue adds up to $2,000), you must reimburse Flying Books for the balance. Depending on how well the ebook sells, this could tie you to Flying Books for a very long time--possibly indefinitely--unless you were willing to pay what is in effect a termination fee. I'd also be concerned whether the publisher might invoke this clause for an author it wants to get rid of.

    - The company is based in Tel Aviv, and the contract is subject to the laws of Israel. I'm not sure what the legal implications would be for an overseas resident. Certainly, this could pose problems if there were any disputes or breaches of contract by the publisher.

    Beyond all of this, there's very little information on this publisher other than its relatively uninformative Facebook pages, so it's hard to tell what (if any) kind of track record it has. How well are its books selling? What does it do to promote them? What's the quality? Plus, Flying Books seems to be a fairly new venture, and a wait-and-see approach is always a good idea with new publishers.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Excellent, thank you!
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  5. #5
    It's a dorky day! writerterri's Avatar
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    I wouldn't have been able to explain it better.



    Thank you!
    I'm not middle aged. I'm middle seasoned. TL Wies

    Check out my etsy shop!
    Awesome new stuff just posted! TerriberriOriginals.etsy.com


    Now that the hard stuff is out of the way, the easy stuff should be all up hill. TL Wies

    The tallest mountain you will ever climb is getting over yourself.



  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi All,

    This is Shira Abel (http://il.linkedin.com/in/shiraabel) one of the founders of Flying Books, Hana (our Content and Community Manager) has been kind enough to let me use her account since I haven't been on Absolute Write long enough to be able to post.

    For those who don't know, we are a start-up with an ebook platform for kids ages 2 - 6. We're not offering jobs, but we are offering revenue share.

    I thought I would address a few of the points brought up above:

    1. Always have a contract looked over by a professional. This is true for all contracts. It's your IP and you should protect it accordingly.

    2. If there's something unclear about the Flying Books contract - tell Hana to forward your discussion to me. I can tell you now, we don't take any rights to your IP.

    3. Specifically regarding "If you terminate before the book has generated $2,000 in revenue for Flying Books (i.e., before Flying Books' 30% of net revenue adds up to $2,000), you must reimburse Flying Books for the balance." We need this in order to protect ourselves. Please understand, we are taking the books and transferring them to our platform, adding the voice-over and translating on our own cost. This is not work done for free, but we are not charging (currently) for people to publish on our platform. As such, we need to place a minimum before someone could take their book down. This may change in time, but currently we are being cautious.

    4. In regards to quality - it is in our best mutual interest to have only high quality work published. We are not accepting everything submitted.

    We plan to launch our ebook reader by the end of September / early October. We are still accepting submissions and will continue to do so after launch (your books are always welcome).

    Wishing all of you much success,

    Shira

  7. #7
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanie View Post
    Hi All,

    This is Shira Abel (http://il.linkedin.com/in/shiraabel) one of the founders of Flying Books, Hana (our Content and Community Manager) has been kind enough to let me use her account since I haven't been on Absolute Write long enough to be able to post.
    Welcome to AW, Shira. We don't encourage account-sharing: all you have to do is register with AW and once your membership is approved (which can take a few hours if Mac isn't around, but it doesn't usually stretch to days) you'll be up and running. You don't have to be a member for any time at all before you're allowed to post here.

    For those who don't know, we are a start-up with an ebook platform for kids ages 2 - 6. We're not offering jobs, but we are offering revenue share.
    Are you paying royalties on the books you publish? Or just that revenue share? If you're only offering a revenue share it means that you're expecting your authors to shoulder the cost of running your business, which isn't a very good way for publishers to operate.

    I thought I would address a few of the points brought up above:

    1. Always have a contract looked over by a professional. This is true for all contracts. It's your IP and you should protect it accordingly.
    Too true.


    2. If there's something unclear about the Flying Books contract - tell Hana to forward your discussion to me. I can tell you now, we don't take any rights to your IP.
    If you don't take any rights, then how do you have the rights to publish the book? That doesn't make sense to me, I'm afraid.


    3. Specifically regarding "If you terminate before the book has generated $2,000 in revenue for Flying Books (i.e., before Flying Books' 30% of net revenue adds up to $2,000), you must reimburse Flying Books for the balance."
    Do you define "net revenue" in your contract? Because if not, you could use this clause to demand that money from all of your authors who decide to part company with you regardless of how many copies their books have sold.

    We need this in order to protect ourselves. Please understand, we are taking the books and transferring them to our platform, adding the voice-over and translating on our own cost.
    That's all part of the general running costs of your business and it's not something that your authors should have to contribute to. Perhaps if you had a better reversion clause you'd not have to consider making these charges.

    This is not work done for free, but we are not charging (currently) for people to publish on our platform.
    That's good, because if you were charging authors for those things you'd be a vanity press, and we don't like those.

    As such, we need to place a minimum before someone could take their book down. This may change in time, but currently we are being cautious.
    I think you need a better contract and a better business model. Then you wouldn't have to be so cautious.

    I wish you luck in your endeavours.

  8. #8
    phoenix blazing Parametric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanie View Post
    I can tell you now, we don't take any rights to your IP.
    If that's the case, then you have no legal right to publish anything, and anything you release is in breach of copyright.

    I think it's a lot more likely that you take first publication rights - which, once used, are gone forever. Otherwise you can't publish.

    I can't understand why so many micropresses proudly claim that they don't take any rights to a work. It's like a supermarket proudly announcing that they have absolutely no right to sell groceries.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi everyone,

    This is Hana (the account owner). We have a standard business model and a standard contract common to the e-publishing industry.

    1. Offering revenue share is standard in the e-publishing industry. We invite you to review the contracts of our competition. We shoulder the costs of running our business (for example, translations, illustrations etc), not the authors. Our authors are not asked to contribute anything to the cost.

    2. We have the legal right to publish an authors work without taking the rights to the IP because the contract states that we have no ownership to the Work under this Agreement, and that we are allowed to provide only the service of e-publishing. Again, this is standard in both the e-publishing and self-publishing industry.

    3. Regarding victoriastrauss' concern that Flying Books could invoke the termination clause to "get rid" of an author: Clause 6.3 states "In the case where the Licensor terminates the contract before the Book has generated USD2000 (two thousand USD) in revenue for Flying Books Inc., as agreed in Section 3.2, Licensor shall reimburse Flying Books Inc. the remaining amounts owed to it for its initial expenses.

    Therefore, if Flying Books terminates the contract, the Licensor owes nothing.

    4. To clarify the term 'fully paid': clause 2.1 The Licensor hereby grants to Flying Books Inc. a non-exclusive, fully paid, sublicensable, and transferable license:
    -to adapt, translate, modify and convert the Book into such format or formats as it deems necessary or desirable to create the E-Book. Any changes made to the manuscript or illustrations will be sent to the Licensor for approval.
    -to sell, offer, use, copy, distribute, produce, issue copies to the public, publicly perform, transmit, communicate and make available to the public or otherwise use the Book, whether directly or indirectly; only in digital form.
    -to use the Licensor’s name and trademark and any relevant artist name in connection with the E-Book and the promotion thereof;
    -to use the Book or any reasonable extracts from and/or adaptations thereof in or for the purposes of any advertising, marketing or publicity for the E-Book, only if needed.

    5. Regarding arbitration, we also offer our authors who are based in the US to use the American Arbitration Association for final disposition in accordance with its rules.

    6. The contract defines 'net revenue' here: For the purpose of this Agreement, Revenues shall mean all payments received from the purchase of the E-Book from end consumers less all amounts owed to any application store (Android or Apple).

    Wishing everyone the best of luck with their writing endeavors,
    Hana

  10. #10
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    This whole "we shoulder the costs of running our business (for example, translations, illustrations etc), not the authors" thing bothers me a lot because you make it sound like you're doing something fantastic and unheard of. You're not. You are simply running a publishing company, and that's what reputable publishing companies do - they shoulder the costs of production.

    That's what publishing is - buying the rights to a story because you believe it will sell, being financially viable, and having the distribution capabilities to get that product out to market. Your remuneration is hitting the bull's eye and selling enough product to pay your authors royalties and keeping your lights on.

    I'm confused by this term "revenue share." Are you saying that your authors are more like employees and they get a percent of sales? How does that differ from a royalty, which is a percent of the money coming in?

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Priceless1 - We are also looking to publish books from traditional publishers who don't have interactive digital expertise.

    Explanation of rev-share:

    Please note that the numbers are for example purposes only:
    Sale price of the book is $10
    Of this, Apple takes $3
    We're left with $7
    From the $7, Flying Books takes $2.10 (or 30%)
    Leaving the contributor $4.90 of every book sold at $10 (or approximately 49% of the actual sale price)

    Best regards,
    Shira

  12. #12
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    I think you mean the contributors, Shira, since the contract articles we're all using as speaking points show a revenue split between the author and the illustrator.

    The more I read yours and Hana's posts, the more I understand the OP's use of the word "discrepancies", to wit, the contract referenced details a revenue split between the author and the illustrator; yet Hana makes the following statement:

    1. Offering revenue share is standard in the e-publishing industry. We invite you to review the contracts of our competition. We shoulder the costs of running our business (for example, translations, illustrations etc), not the authors. Our authors are not asked to contribute anything to the cost.
    IOW, the contract states the illustrator is being paid from the 'contributor' share of the revenue and would, therefore, not be a cost borne by Flying Books, Inc.

    Further, very important points raised by Victoria have not been addressed:

    - There's no requirement for the publisher to include a copyright notice in the book.

    - There's no time period in which the publisher must publish or else relinquish rights.
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  13. #13
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanie View Post
    2. We have the legal right to publish an authors work without taking the rights to the IP because the contract states that we have no ownership to the Work under this Agreement, and that we are allowed to provide only the service of e-publishing. Again, this is standard in both the e-publishing and self-publishing industry.
    No. Even self-publishing services take limited rights to the works they publish--they have to, in order to be able, legally, to publish.

    In the case of your contract, authors must grant you a non-exclusive license to publish the work in digital form. The fact that the license is non-exclusive--which technically means the author could exercise those rights elsewhere--does not mean you aren't taking rights. You are.

    3. Regarding victoriastrauss' concern that Flying Books could invoke the termination clause to "get rid" of an author: Clause 6.3 states "In the case where the Licensor terminates the contract before the Book has generated USD2000 (two thousand USD) in revenue for Flying Books Inc., as agreed in Section 3.2, Licensor shall reimburse Flying Books Inc. the remaining amounts owed to it for its initial expenses.

    Therefore, if Flying Books terminates the contract, the Licensor owes nothing.
    Then that needs to be made explicit in the contract, which currently it isn't. Clause 6.3 covers only the author's obligation to pay back Flying Books' unrecouped expenses if the author chooses to terminate.

    Authors need to remember that if something is not included in a publishing contract, neither party is bound to it. Never rely on verbal assurances.

    In any case, my concern is based on the fact that I've seen other publishers use termination fee clauses to browbeat or blackmail unhappy or uncooperative authors, along the lines of "The relationship has gone sour; we're going to remove your book from publication but we won't return rights until you satisfy the early termination clause, which includes a fee." I'm not saying that you in particular will do this; it's just that authors need to be aware that termination fees carry generic risks. (They also suggest that the publisher wants to shift risk away from itself and onto authors.)

    4. To clarify the term 'fully paid': clause 2.1 The Licensor hereby grants to Flying Books Inc. a non-exclusive, fully paid, sublicensable, and transferable license:
    -to adapt, translate, modify and convert the Book into such format or formats as it deems necessary or desirable to create the E-Book. Any changes made to the manuscript or illustrations will be sent to the Licensor for approval.
    -to sell, offer, use, copy, distribute, produce, issue copies to the public, publicly perform, transmit, communicate and make available to the public or otherwise use the Book, whether directly or indirectly; only in digital form.
    -to use the Licensor’s name and trademark and any relevant artist name in connection with the E-Book and the promotion thereof;
    -to use the Book or any reasonable extracts from and/or adaptations thereof in or for the purposes of any advertising, marketing or publicity for the E-Book, only if needed.
    This doesn't clarify the term "fully paid." Where you see this term in a contract, it usually means that all payment has already been provided, and no further payment is due. That's clearly not the case with Flying Books, since the contract says that the author will receive a percentage of the revenue split. My concern is that, if further payment is due, why is the term "fully paid" included in the license language?

    5. Regarding arbitration, we also offer our authors who are based in the US to use the American Arbitration Association for final disposition in accordance with its rules.
    If that's the case, this needs to be included in the contract. Currently, the contract reads: "Any disputes arising out of this Agreement shall be settled by the authorized court of law in Tel-Aviv Jaffa." There's no mention of the American Arbitration Association.

    I don't know if allowing authors to use arbitration as an alternative to the Israeli court system addresses the possible difficulties of trying to resolve disputes when the parties are in two different countries.

    - Victoria

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiraabel View Post
    Priceless1 - We are also looking to publish books from traditional publishers who don't have interactive digital expertise.

    Explanation of rev-share:

    Please note that the numbers are for example purposes only:
    Sale price of the book is $10
    Of this, Apple takes $3
    We're left with $7
    From the $7, Flying Books takes $2.10 (or 30%)
    Leaving the contributor $4.90 of every book sold at $10 (or approximately 49% of the actual sale price)

    Best regards,
    Shira
    Commercial publishers worth their salt already have e-book conversions and distribution to the various marketplaces. They are highly unlikely to sell you their rights so you can take a cut of the pie.

    This revenue sharing is interesting. The author is getting more than you are. How can you afford to do that if you're assuming all the production costs? I don't see the logic.

  15. #15
    Pedaling Pescado Bicyclefish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    If that's the case, this needs to be included in the contract. Currently, the contract reads: "Any disputes arising out of this Agreement shall be settled by the authorized court of law in Tel-Aviv Jaffa." There's no mention of the American Arbitration Association.

    I don't know if allowing authors to use arbitration as an alternative to the Israeli court system addresses the possible difficulties of trying to resolve disputes when the parties are in two different countries.
    I don't know why the contract mentions Tel-Aviv. Flying Book posted an ad seeking illustrators in which they state:

    - We are a start up company, with our mother office located in Delaware.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
    I think you mean the contributors, Shira, since the contract articles we're all using as speaking points show a revenue split between the author and the illustrator. [...] IOW, the contract states the illustrator is being paid from the 'contributor' share of the revenue and would, therefore, not be a cost borne by Flying Books, Inc.
    Compensation in the ad is stated as "revenue share 35%", so I'm wondering is this amount is specified in the contract or subject to change or negotiation.

    Hopefully this isn't inappropriate; if it is I apologize and will remove it. On a tangent, I'd wish to respectfully inform Flying Books that artists and illustrators generally view royalty sharing deals as back end, non-paying jobs. It'll hopefully help them place any future ads in the appropriate section. It's a fairly common mistake.
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  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Per the contract, they are incorporated in Delaware (as are a gazillion other corporations; Delaware has very business-friendly laws), but this clause from the contract suggests that they are actually located in Israel:
    8.9
    This Agreement shall be governed and construed in all respects by the laws of Israel without regard to its conflict of laws provisions. Any disputes arising out of this Agreement shall be settled by the authorized court of law in Tel-Aviv Jaffa.
    Also, both Hana's and Shira's IP addresses are in Israel.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 09-19-2011 at 11:46 PM.

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi everyone,

    Unfortunately I don't have time to check into this forum as often as I would like to, but I am always happy to answer your questions. Please shoot me an email at hana@flyingbooks.co with your question, and I will respond asap. I am of course happy for my answers to be shared in this thread.

    Cheers,
    Hana

  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Eboo Facebook page is gone. Main site is up: http://www.flyingbooks.co/ (also http://www.flyingbooks.me/).
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  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    .co site is down, but .me is still active.
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  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Tw/FB ceased '13/'14. Site gone by mid-'15.
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