Textbook contract Q&A with attorney Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

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.

Q: When e-rights are granted in a contract, what is the current norm for royalty rates? What are the best e-royalty terms you’ve negotiated for a client or know about in another context?

Lisa Moore: “I will say that 50 percent, whether it’s e-derivatives or verbatim e-reproductions, as I’ll call them, is the best that anyone can get for e-rights. And that’s becoming very, very difficult to achieve for clients — even clients with a proven track record, proven sales of X units, and an extremely wide target audience. [Read more…]

Lawyer: Rank your textbook contract negotiation goals

Successful contract negotiation requires knowing “what you’re Determining author orderwilling to give up and what you’re not,” said authoring attorney Michael Lennie, with Lennie Literary & Author’s Attorney.

Authors should negotiate better terms on several contract provisions, he said. They include:

[Read more…]

Attorney advises textbook authors on e-rights

Michael Lennie, an authoring attorney and agent for Lennie ebook tablet on bookshelfLiterary & Author’s Attorneys, compared the items on a publishing contract to a bunch of asparagus and said authors can either give all their rights away in one bunch, or negotiate them one by one.

“Electronic rights is just one of those spears of asparagus,” he said. “And on that one spear are many different e-rights elements. The author is in the enviable position of owning all of those spears.” The publisher, said Lennie, will want them all, and the author has to decide whether to give those rights to the publisher or retain them. If your publisher wants all of your e-rights, he said, here are a few things to consider: What has the publisher done with e-rights in the past? Do they have the technical expertise to do it or will they license those rights to a third party? “The publisher may give you 50 percent of the rights of third party sales, but that may only be seven percent of the publisher’s 15 percent from the licensed third party,” he said. [Read more…]