Textbook contract Q&A with attorney Lisa Moore

Earlier this fall, TAA hosted an audio conference titled “Contract Negotiation: E-books & E-rights” featuring attorney Lisa Moore, principal of The Moore Firm, LLC. Moore’s outstanding presentation culminated in a rich Q&A discussion that provided valuable insight into textbook publishing contract negotiations.

Following are abbreviated excerpts edited by TAA from the transcripts of that discussion.

Advantages & disadvantages of working with multiple publishers

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How to negotiate textbook contracts strategically

Many textbook authors, especially new authors, are intimidated by the idea of negotiating their contracts, but strategic and artful contract negotiation is essential to ensure that you get the best offer possible.

“It is very important to negotiate your contract, because the first offer will not be the best deal, so you’ll just be leaving money on the table if you don’t negotiate,” said Stephen Gillen, intellectual property attorney at Wood, Herron & Evans.

Negotiating the foreign sales clause in textbook contracts

If authors are not careful when negotiating language related to foreign sales in their book contracts, they can end up earning next to nothing on international sales of their books.

Stephen Gillen, an attorney with Wood Herron & Evans, said that although he cannot provide exact language authors can use to negotiate the foreign sales clause in their contracts without knowledge of the unique facts and circumstances of each case, he suggests authors use the following to start the discussion with their publisher:

How to protect yourself from lower textbook royalties from foreign sales

Textbook authors need to be alert for the possible impact on them of the practice among some U.S. textbook publishers of selling books in foreign countries using an “inter-company” transfer price.

U.S.-based publishers generally sell into overseas markets through relationships with foreign publishers based in the destination country. Books sold in this way are sold to the foreign publisher at a discounted price to compensate the foreign publisher for its role in the distribution process. In such a case, the author’s royalty is calculated on the lesser amount received by the U.S. publisher from that sale.