49 copies info only


Publishamerica does not have a policy rquiring authors seeing release from contracts to purchase 49 copies of their book.

BUT, almost every author I know has been told they must purchase all remaining stocks in order to be released and all rights returned. The amount of "stocks" is 49.

POD means PRINT ON DEMAND. there should never be 49 copies sitting on a shelf.

A friend of mine was informed there was no POLICY to purchase books if an author seeks release. It is stated in their contracts that the author MUST BUY REMAINING "STOCKS" BEWARE - BEWARE

XThe NavigatorX

I haven't had any dealings with Publish America, but if you're an author who feels as if you've been scammed by them, this particular issue would be the key. If they've forced people to purchase copies in order to get out of their contract (and the contract says that's what they have to do) and PA actually doesn't have these copies, but instead orders them from Lightning Source so they can eek out a little more money.... That's a felony. That's them going to prison like the guys from Northwest Publishing Company.

And it would be simple to prove, too. The author provides the correspondence from PA. A subpoena to Lightning Source. That's all it would take. I'm by no means a PA supporter, but the fact this hasn't been done before suggests maybe they really do have all those copies.



What stocks? The only way I can think of is whatever Ingram had on the shelf. Usually one copy. Where is this in the contract?


49 copies

Par. 24 "When in the judgement of the Publisher, the public demand for the work is no longer sufficient to warrant its continued manufacture, the Publisher may disconiut furher manufacture and destroy any or all plates, books, sheets and electric files without any liability in connection therewith to the Author. However, the Publisher agrees to notify the Author of such decision in writing, and will offer to transfer to the Author the work and its rights in the copyrights thereon, the plates (if any), the bound copies and sheet stock (if any) on the following terms F.O.B. point of shipment: the plates, at their value for old metal, the engravings (to be used only in the work) at one-half (1/2) their orginal cost, the bound stock at one-half (1/2) the list price, and the sheet stock at the cost of gathering, folding, sewing and preparing for shipment, all without royalties. In the latter evenent, unless the Author shall, within 30 days, accept said offer and pay the amount set forth in said writing, the Publisher may dispose of the work, copyrights, plates, books, sheets and other property without futher liability for royalties or otherwise."

First line of last paragraph of a registered letter signed by Willem Meiners, "I am informing you herewith that we have currently 49 copies of your book in stock."

POD - PRINT ON DEMAND - no copies are to be in stock!



Well, I don't have a firm grip on this situation yet, but so far I find nothing of the sort in the contract except this gem: "The publisher, in the event that public demand is no longer sufficient to warrant manufacture, the publisher may discontinue manufactue and destroy all plates, books, electronic files etc." Well, they offer to sell the whole shebang back to the author at 1/2 the original price. What's that mean, fifty cents? I was paid a dollar for the work. I'll run the thing by J. Macdonald in full text and see what he makes of it, but I may try to break my contract to see what PA says.



That's the one. He says you, or whoever, had 49 in stock? If that's true we've got them. I'll test it.

James D Macdonald

Not a lawyer

While I'd love to see the full-text of a typical PA contract, I'm not a lawyer, don't play one on TV, and don't intend to start practicing law without a license.

That being said.... " in the event that public demand is no longer sufficient to warrant manufacture...." Under the PoD model, even one order is sufficient to warrant manufacture. That just plain doesn't make sense.

The bit that's been quoted looks a lot like the beginning of a reversion clause, the part of a standard publishing contract in which the author gets his rights back free and clear at no cost to himself, but is offered a chance to buy the warehouse stock and manufacturing materials for his book at a reduced price when the publisher is no longer publishing or promoting that book. Should the author not want to buy the books and plates and such, into the Dumpster they go. In either case the author is free to sell the rights to the work to some other publisher.

The whole thing is odd. With PoD production there are no printing plates to be bought at scrap-metal prices (that's a holdover from hot-lead days) and low public demand is a norm. It's difficult to see exactly what they're getting at here.


Re: Not a lawyer

It's pretty clear what's being got at here: it's a way to make money on the back end.

The PA contract is nonstandard in a number of respects. The out of print/reversion clause is just one example. Like some other parts of the contract, it seems to be based at least in part on out-of-date contract language (hence the stuff about plates and engravings), but the most important thing to note about the clause is that it ties rights reversion to author payments:

"...unless the author shall, within 30 days, accept said offer and pay the amount set forth in said writing, the Publisher may dispose of the work, COPYRIGHTS [my emphasis], plates, books, sheets and other property without further liability for royalties or otherwise."

PA appears to interpret this clause as meaning the author must pay for "overstock". I've received a number of reports from authors who, on being released from their contracts, were asked to pay for books in stock (in some cases, a lot more than just 49 books). In one case where the author refused to pay, PA interpreted the sentence quoted above to mean that it retained the publishing rights granted in the contract. Now, you could certainly argue that the sentence doesn't mean this at all, since "rights" and "copyright" are not the same thing, and PA never takes possession of your copyright. However, you might have to hire a lawyer in order to do so.

I don't know of any commercial publisher that ties rights reversion to author payments. The author may be offered the chance to purchase overstock and other materials at a reduced rate, but if they don't, it has no bearing on whether or not they get their publishing rights back.

This is one reason, by the way, that it isn't helpful to get a general practice attorney to vet a publishing contract for you. There are so many odd and specialized things about publishing that occur nowhere else, and you need to know about these in order to judge the fairness of a contract, and what you need to negotiate. A contracts attorney may not know enough about publishing to be able to properly advise you. You need someone well-versed in publishing.

- Victoria
Writer Beware



That's what thought; you could buy said stock back at 1/2 price, if not they go into the trash. I don't think they can hold the rights hostage for that, but I'm sure many would buy their books again if told to. I may dump them myself to find out. No longer promoting is a laugh too. When do they ever promote?


Re: contract

This is shocking. Does anyone know a lawyer? You mean they could take our books, and sell them to some other publisher and take all the money? Since they would keep our rights? POD is supposed to have only what is ordered. No extras. The printer for them has only 5 on shelf from the first time they get our manuscripts. If we went to everywhere that PA authors are mad and want out. Contacted them. Perhaps we could get enough of them together to make a mark. Can contact Ingrams and find out exactly how many of our books they have now. Then send the email to PA and tell them since Ingrams is their printer, no others count. Ask them what promotion have they done, want proof of it. Didnt' everyone think our books would be in real stores?


Re: contract

Ingram is the distributor; Lighting Source is the printer. I don't know where can one find disgruntled PA authors? Is there a watering hole somehere? I'll go there if you can find the place. PA authors are generally clueless so I think I can count about four that have come here. That's not many. I'm open to suggestions. Victoria; how many do you have?


Re: 49 copies

you could ask jenna to set up a disgruntled pa writers (or maybe a disgruntled POD publishing) section.

James D Macdonald

disgruntled pa writers

you could ask jenna to set up a disgruntled pa writers (or maybe a disgruntled POD publishing) section.

There is one already: it's called the Take It Outside Board.


Re: disgruntled pa writers

"There is one already: it's called the Take It Outside Board." Right.

And as the Red Queen said, "We have to run as fast as we can to stay where we are."


Re: contract

>> This is shocking. Does anyone know a lawyer? You mean they could take our books, and sell them to some other publisher and take all the money?<<

Yes, they could, if on contract termination they offered you overstock or anything else you needed to pay for, and you refused to purchase it. While not even close to industry standard and (in my opinion) extremely exploitive, this is NOT illegal or actionable, because it's in the contract--the contract YOU signed.

Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but this is the reason you need get a publishing contract vetted by SOMEONE WHO KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT PUBLISHING, not your basic garden-variety attorney or your amateur literary agent or even your trusted friend. I'll bet that the horribleness of this particular clause blows right past most lawyers...because unless you're versed in publishing contract terms, you don't know how nonstandard it is.

I know that some authors are convinced that the 49 or however many copies they're asked to buy are conjured up by PA, whether they actually existed prior to contract termination or not. There's no proof of this, one way or another (though I have to say I share their suspicions). That said, many POD-based publishers print in batches rather than one at a time, and keep stock on hand--as, I understand, does Ingram. So overstock is not an inconceivable concept.

However, even if your POD-based publisher does have overstock, and offers you the chance to buy it at a reduced price, nothing should hinge on your purchase. If you don't want it, the publisher can sell it off as it pleases--and you should get your rights back free and clear.

>>Didnt' everyone think our books would be in real stores?<<

Again, folks: get your publishing contract vetted by someone who knows publishing. For people who are familiar with industry standards and contract terms, a read of PA's contract plus a look at its website makes quite clear the fact that it's a POD-based publisher that likely follows business practices that ensure that its books won't be routinely stocked on bookstore shelves.

There's an article in the current issue of "Poets and Writers" magazine by a PA author who compares PA's publishing process to that of a micro-press, and concludes that it isn't much different in many respects--notably the companies' ability to distribute and promote, which in both cases is more or less nonexistent. It's an interesting article by someone who went to PA with his eyes wide open...and as a result, it doesn't say the kinds of things about PA that PA likes its authors to say (i.e., that PA is a "traditional" publisher no different from Random House). It's worth looking up.

- Victoria


Re: contract

It blew by me, but I'm no lawyer. Without an advance who would bother to take it to one? We should have seen PA for what it appeared to be and not what we thought it might be. That's called wishful thinking. I'm guilty. They said they promoted. Since I knew I couldn't promote that's what got me, but I nailed them on the shelf issue before release. They wouldn't let me out, so I made them include the TOC and they ran with it. My rights that is.

Most of the writers at the mindsight site are satisfied PA authors still in the clueless phase. HB Marcus is on the prowl there in PA's defense too. There is one writer, pacwriter, who claims to have gotten out of his. I told them to come here and post.

I don't know what will come of any of this frankly, but it's worth a shot. My PA book is also an iUniverse book still in play there. Really PA has nothing on me except an edition for more money that won't sell. Victoria we are in your debt for the valuable public service and information you provide. Let's see who else shows up to the fray. But expect more Canada James's. Deniers are inevitable.


Poor contract

That non-standard clause referred to by Victoria in the previous post to this is only one of the reasons why Preditors & Editors (tm) refers to the PublishAmerica contract as poor.


Re: Poor contract

This just in from the wizard patrol at mindsight where I left two messages and I quote:

"Here comes the PA Bash Brigade again. Mark York has all the answers y'all. Listen to him and end up as miserable as this creep seems to be."

Yeah we'll win this one. I think we're making progress.


Re: Poor contract

Yes, I got a release from the contract but according to PA lost my rights when I did not purchase the "49" copies. My advise to anyone who seeks a release from their contract with PublishAmerica is to consult a lawyer. By all means save every communication with PublishAmerica - email and snail-mail. Keep a telephone log if you talk to anyone at PublishAmerica.

My contract with PublishAmerica dates to the time they were merging with Erica House (1998) and they have the rights for 70 years. The AmErica House logo appears on the back cover. Like many of you I was totally ignorant of publishing contracts. When PublishAmerica said, "We are a traditional publisher" I took that to mean that the contract they offered would be a "standard" contract like a "traditional" publisher would offer. If being deceived is grounds for revoking a contract, then we should all be allowed out.

I have a friend who is a lawyer looking at the contract. Like Victoria said, when you sign a contract you are agreeing to the terms of that contract. It doesn't matter if you understand the contract or not, it is still a legal binding agreement. Having said that, consider this; both parties of a contract are bound by that contract. There are expectations which have to be met and if the stated expectations are not met, then the contract is void.

There are several who are members at Mindsight or have passed by Mindsight who have gotten releases from their contracts. It is not impossible but it is very unpleasant.

If you feel the book you have under contract is not your best work, then drop it from memory and write your best work at let the book under contract drift with the PublishAmerica tide.

Contrary to what is posted at PublishAmerica, there are not 5,000 happy authors under contract. In the years I have been associated with Publishamerica I have talked with many unhappy authors with PublishAmerica contracts. Victoria has probably encountered more.


Re: Poor contract

I went to mindsight. Was shocked, but not at what I read. Even if you get out of your contract, they still sell your books for years? Can sell your book to another publisher, and take the money. They are giving our books away.
Okay, an idea. How about we do some surfing the net, to other sites, and contact all those disgrunted PA authors we can. Get them all together. Maybe write out a long email, with all of us on it. Stating our desire, to get out. Why, and stick together. We should be able to get a lot of people. The warning site, and mindsight has people who feel like we do. That lawyer, that was mentioned. When he finds an out, we can use it. Publicity would also help us. Spearhead a revolt against PA. Should be able to stop them from selling more books, and get our rights back without buying anything.
Any ideas? Even if we have to pass around a written letter, and all sign it. Make copies and put it on sites as well.


Re: Poor contract

sorry mate for the double post

jumped over the puddle for a second page