BIG week in publishing.
First, some background information. Typically in publishing contracts, when an author’s work goes out of print there is a mechanism in place for the author to ask for those rights back so they can try and place the rights elsewhere. Which makes a lot of sense. If a publisher isn’t actively selling your book, the author should have the right to find someone who will sell the book. Even if it’s just that mom and pop publisher on your block with the nice cat.
Well. Things have gotten a bit more gray areaish in the era of ebooks and print on demand. Whereas before a publisher really had to be actively selling and printing your book, the new technology makes it much easier to technically keep a work “in print” even if it isn’t really being actively sold — it could theoretically just be stashed on a website somewhere and the publisher has the rights to your book in perpetuity. In response to the new technology, agents negotiated sales or royalty thresholds to define “in print” — if a publisher is not actively selling your book, the author can get those rights back to find someone who will. Copacetic right?
Actually, no. Simon & Schuster recently decided to change their boilerplate to eliminate the out of print threshold so that basically POD and/or e-book technology would keep a book under S&S’s control, well, pretty much as long as the copyright is in effect. Let’s just say robots will take over the world and install a toaster as king before you’d get those rights back.
It’s SO on.
According to GalleyCat, S&S spokesman Adam Rothberg called The Authors Guild’s response an “overreaction.”
Oh, it’s just been broughten.
In other publishing news (yes, there actually is some), GalleyCat discovered some tantalizing clues about the next Oprah pick, and promptly started the guessing game. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: guess the Oprah pick. Your clue: it’s a Picador paperback. Michael Chabon denies it’s KAVALIER AND CLAY. My guess is Marilynne Robinson’s GILEAD, mostly because it’s super amazing and incredible. But I swear I have no inside info. What’s your best guess?
Over at Bookends LLC, Jessica Faust, who in my humble opinion provides some of the very best writing/agent advice on all of the internets, is doing query critiques. Best be checking that out.
And finally, BEA is coming up soon, and Shelf Awareness is all over the most important issue that faces the thousands of people who will be attending: where to find the best bagels. I would have to agree with Robin K. Blum’s recommendation of Bagels On The Park on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. This place was literally on my block when I lived in Brooklyn, and I’ve never had better. Oh to be young again and to eat amazing bagels on the weekend!!! Where hath the wonders of my youth gone?? (I know, I’m still young, but still.)
Have a great weekend!