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Thread: Sales Reports

  1. #1
    Doogie
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    Sales Reports

    For those of you who are published, I need to aska question.

    When returns of your book are sent back from the stores to your publisher, you are charged a fee. Is it normal for this fee to be variable? For example, is it normal for the return penalty to be $14.00 per book one month and then $16.00 next month?

  2. #2
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Commercial publishers don't charge fees or penalties for returns.

    Royalties are calculated based on the number of books shipped to stores. Since there are nearly always returns, this is technically an overpayment to the author. To avoid making the author give money back, the publisher withholds a portion of royalties due in each royalty period (this is known as a "reserve against returns.") As the returns come in, they're deducted from the reserve.

    Some smaller publishers that don't want to bother with the complicated accounting involved in setting reserves simply bill you for any overpayments, or take them out of your next period's royalties. But this should just be whatever royalty percentage is is due you by contract. if your publisher is charging you a $14 (!!!) return penalty per book, you are being seriously ripped off!

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    How the hey much are they selling the books for?

  4. #4
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Popeyesays's Avatar
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    Is it perhaps a self-pubbed book through one of the vanity presses that offers some distribution, discount and return if you pay for it?

    Regards,
    Scott
    Okay, damnit, I blog http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/
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  5. #5
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    At $14 to $16 per book, in effect you are buying the books yourself, retail, only not getting the books.

    I too am curious as to the name of the publisher.

  6. #6
    Doogie
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    Perhaps I should rephrase myself -- what i meant to say was that the PUBLISHER gets penalties for returns. Except, he tells me that the fees he pays have variable rates, and come out of my royalties. This is very unsettling, since he could easily make those figures up and end up scrimping me on payment. Not to mention there's no way he can prove how many books have actually sold.

  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    It would help a lot if you could name the publisher.

    I'm unclear on what you're saying.

    Here's the way it works: Every six months your publisher sends you the royalties on the books that sold. You don't pay anything; he pays you. If he has to pay penalties to bookstores (what penalties?) that's his problem, not yours.

    Number shipped minus number returned is the number sold. He should pay you your royalties. It really isn't all that complex.

  8. #8
    In the Yellow Woods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doogie
    When returns of your book are sent back from the stores to your publisher, you are charged a fee. Is it normal for this fee to be variable? For example, is it normal for the return penalty to be $14.00 per book one month and then $16.00 next month?
    As a punter, it costs me about $2 p&p to have books delivered or return them. How can your publisher be charged $14-16 per book? What they doing, chauffering them back to distribution?

    Something very wrong there.
    I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.

    Professor of English, Ohio University.

    Pedantic Alert: The above is quotation #689 from Michael Moncur's (cynical) Quotations.

  9. #9
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Doogie, please let us know who the publisher is. If you don't feel comfortable naming it publicly, contact me privately at beware@sfwa.org. I'm a staff member of Writer Beware, which tracks questionable agents and publishers; I may already have a file on this publisher.

    What does the royalties clause in your contract say? Some contracts give the publisher the right to deduct all kinds of expenses from their net receipts, and dishonest publishers may use this as an excuse to reduce their net to ridiculously low levels and thus cheat you of royalties.

    - Victoria

  10. #10
    Doogie
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    Victoria, can you link me to your list of bad publishers? He may already be on.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    You can check the list at Preditors and Editors, but I don't think Writer Beware has a list as such (it does have some alerts). Writer Beware is confidential by the way.

    Here's the link to the P&E list:
    http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/peba.htm

    But if it's not listed there, it could simply mean that P&E haven't yet received any information, not that there isn't a problem.

    There's also an index to this Bewares and Background Checks board:

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=792
    Last edited by Tilly; 10-19-2006 at 08:12 PM.

  12. #12
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doogie
    Victoria, can you link me to your list of bad publishers? He may already be on.
    Writer Beware doesn't post agent or publisher lists, but we'll check our files for any writer who has a question. Send me the name of the publisher at the email address I gave above, and I'll see if we have any other complaints.

    - Victoria

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