Friday, May 18, 2007

New Rules on Out of Print

Fast on the heels of their epistle on the business of publishing, The New York Times tells us about how new fangled on-demand printing is complicating the publishers' definitiion of 'out of print'. Here we hear of Simon & Schuster who are changing their contracts to accomodate this radically new technology. You be the judge;
But with the advent of technologies like print-on-demand, publishers have been able to reduce the number of back copies that they keep in warehouses. Simon & Schuster, which until now has required that a book sell a minimum number of copies through print-on-demand technology to be deemed in print, has removed that lower limit in its new contract. In effect, that means that as long as a consumer can order a book through a print-on-demand vendor, that book is still deemed in print, no matter how few copies it sells.

The unfortunate thing may be that the authors that sell less than an initial 1000 units may still be tied to a publisher for a very long time dispite the changes made to author contracts. Some of these authors would be better served by self-publishing their titles - perhaps a story for another day. As far as 'established' authors that regain their rights, companies such as have offered 'back in print' programs with the Authors Guild for over 8 years now.

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