Royalties: Past, Present, and Future

Royalties PresentationWhat does the word “royalty” mean to you as an author? In their presentation, “Royalties: Past, Present, and Future” at the 31stAnnual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, royalty auditor Juli Saitz of Ankura Consulting Group, and veteran publishing insider Sean Wakely of FlatWorld, discussed the history and anticipated future of textbook author royalties.

In a traditional author-publisher relationship, the publisher is providing financial capital and the author is providing human capital for the development and publication of a book. The negotiation of royalty payments from the sales of the book determines how the profit from such sales is divided. Consequently, the royalty model represents a shared risk between author and publisher and also a shared reward – especially when a title is successful. [Read more…]

8 conditions affecting royalty accuracy

Royalty accuracyIn his recent webinar, “Royalty Disputes: Legal Strategies in Pursuit of Information and Payments Due”, David Slarskey, a trial lawyer with Slarskey LLC, defined royalty accuracy as the “accurate reporting, accurate calculation, and accurate recovery of royalties due to authors.”

Slarskey proceeded to identify the following eight conditions as some of the dynamics at play that can create friction in the process of achieving royalty accuracy in publishing relationships. [Read more…]

5 Phases of a royalty audit

The Anatomy of a Royalty AuditIn her TAA webinar, “The Anatomy of a Royalty Audit”, royalty auditor Juli Saitz, senior managing director for Ankura Consulting Group, shared the five phases of a textbook royalty audit: preparation, paperwork, communication with the publisher, document analysis, and the publisher’s response.

1) Preparation phase. This phase consists of three parts: talking to the client, reviewing contracts, and reviewing statements. [Read more…]

How to negotiate the textbook royalty clause

All standard publishing contracts are enormously lopsided inTextbook with money symbol. favor of the publisher. In textbook contracts there is no such thing as standard royalty provisions. Having said that, a review of more than 100 TAA author contracts in my files does reveal some common “ranges.”

“Standard” ranges. The concept of “standard” royalties is less common in textbooks than trade books — so much so that it is almost counterproductive to state ranges. I am concerned that young authors may put too much stock in a so-called standard range, while more seasoned authors may find it contrary to their experience. Accordingly, view the following as indicators only, and don’t be afraid to push for royalties appropriate to your stature, leverage and revenue generation for your publisher — even outside the ranges discussed here. [Read more…]

The statutory termination right: One copyright act provision your publisher hopes you never hear about

Zick Rubin

Zick Rubin

In the fall of 1977, Ralph Little had just received his Ph.D. in Elfin Studies and was beginning his first faculty job as an assistant professor at Middle Earth College. Elfin Studies was in its infancy – many universities did not even recognize it as a legitimate discipline — and there was no introductory textbook on the market. Each week Ralph prepared lecture outlines on ditto masters for the dozen intrepid undergraduates in his Elfin Studies 101. When a representative of Colossal Publishers, Inc., came by his office, Ralph, sporting the sideburns and bell-bottoms of the day, told him about his idea of writing an introduction to Elfin Studies.

Soon afterward, Colossal offered Ralph a contract to write his Introduction to Elves, for a royalty of 5 percent of Colossal’s receipts on every copy sold. The royalty sounded almost as diminutive as the subject matter. But Ralph was thrilled to become a textbook author, and the editor promised him that when the book came out, he would be invited to Colossal’s Midwestern sales meeting in Minneapolis. He signed the contract early in 1978, and the first edition was published on January 10, 1980. [Read more…]