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Q&A: What happens to textbooks when a publisher sells lists to other publishers?

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Q: "What happens to textbooks in inventory or those under contract when publishers sell lists to other publishers? How can we find out whether books have been stolen or put into the hands of resellers?" A: Stephen E. Gillen, Attorney, Wood Herron & Evans: "It depends upon the deal between the two publishers. Typically, the acquiring publisher buys the inventory along with the contracts. Then they sell it out or destroy it so they can produce a new printing under their imprint. It's also possible that the acquiring publisher would have no interest in the existing inventory under the old imprint and would require, as a condition of sale, that the selling publisher destroy the inventory. Regardless of who sells the books, the author should get a royalty in accord with the terms of the publishing contract (of course, if the books are remaindered that royalty may be small or nonexistent depending upon the terms in the publishing contract). In any event, any sales should be reflected in the next royalty statement. If there is a question, ask the new and old publishers to provide an inventory reconciliation."

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