What you need to know about using third party photos

copyrightToday’s business models for licensing third party photography are sufficiently complex that it’s worth taking a few minutes to review the basics and get familiar with the terminology.

Categories of Use: Editorial vs. Commercial

Professional photographers and stock agencies group their work into three broad categories based not on the nature of the photos but instead on the use to which they will be put: editorial, commercial, and retail. Retail use concerns photography commissioned for personal use, and thus is of little consequence to book publishers . . . except, perhaps, for that studio portrait you supplied for the back cover or “about the author” page of your book, a use for which you may have neglected to get the necessary license. Editorial use concerns photography which will be used in a book, e-book, magazine, online, or in a presentation or video that is journalistic, educational, or expository in nature. Commercial use, conversely, concerns photography that will be used in advertising and promotion to sell or market a product (including a book), person (including an author), company (including a publisher), or service. [Read more…]

What royalty rate should you expect for trade books?

Q: “A friend of mine has an extraordinary self-published book of photos that has garnered the attention of a national publisher but he has no idea what a reasonable royalty rate would be, and I have no idea if it would be anything akin to text royalties. I’d describe his work as similar to any other professional photographer level coffee table book (think of a book on nature, national parks, flowers, etc). Does anyone have any idea what any standard royalty rate for this genre of books is?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, Founder, Atlantic Path Publishing:

“Standard advance for books of that kind is in the 10k – 25k range. Standard royalty rate is 10% of net, but offers typically range between 7.5% and 12.5% of net for a textbook. Coffee table books are notoriously expensive to produce at quality.” [Read more…]