Authors Sue Publisher for Giveaways and Book Club Sales
We’ve sometimes given away books here at DearAuthor. Usually they are books that we have purchased but sometimes they are gifts directly from the publisher. In fact, in December, Penguin is giving away five copies of Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady here at DA to help publicize Bourne’s book. I want to do whatever I can to help Bourne be a success because her writing (at least in the book that I have read) is just phenomenal. It never occurred to me that by giving away these books, the authors are deprived of the royalty. I knew that they wouldn’t get a “sale” to count toward their bestseller list numbers but I never made the next logical step in that equation.
Five authors published by Regnery Publishing are suing the publisher’s parent company, Eagle Publishing, charging that the parent company is conspiring with book clubs and other organizations owned by the same entity to deprive the authors of rightful royalties.
Authors royalty rates for book club purchases, remaindered books and other organizations are lower than those for purchases made at a retail stores. Thus, the authors allege, by diverting sales away from retail outlets to “wholly owed subsidiary organizations” of the publishing conglomerate, the authors are earning a lower royalty. The authors also specifically charge that the publishing house is giving away copies to book clubs, newsletters and other organizations, to “avoid or substantially reduce royalty payments to authors.–Ã‚
If this case is decided in favor of the authors, I can foresee future publisher funded giveaways drying up. I don’t see ARC giveaways being problematic because those don’t earn royalty payments, but finished copies? Yeah, that could become a thing of the past.
Via New York Times.