Thursday, August 31, 2006

Integrity in Book Sales Records

First I want to mention that I am happy with my present publisher and the communications that I have had with them. They have done everything they have promised in their publishing contract with me. They have worked with me when I present some marketing incentives and are available to supply guidance and input. This article deals with the inaccessibility of sales records between distributors and publishers. There are good publishers and there are not so good publishers. In the past I have made attempts to receive information regarding sales records of my previous book sales.

I have, in the past, collected data to show sales history of my books for comparison to publisher records. When making a comparison between my publisher at the time and my records I was told their records were correct and mine were in error. In one case in particular I validated through email the accuracy of the data on a particular site. I was told by my publisher that the company did not own their own site and the information on it. I attempted to obtain sales information from distributors to validate either my records or the records of my publisher. When I undertook this activity I found an interesting fact. I found contracts between publishers and distributors sometimes have restrictions on providing sales and printing information being given directly to authors. This condition must be changed. Authors who are the copyright holder and have not sold any rights are entitled to information on sales of their book (s).

Distributors must be allowed to provide information regarding the sales of books to the authors that wrote them. When full access to information is not allowed publishing contracts with distributors, I believe this is a violation of author rights as the copyright holder. Some answers I have received involved statements such as get the information from the publisher. Information provided from publishers must have method (s) available to validate the information they are providing. Without this verification we must trust the records and payments made by sometimes unscrupulous publishers.

Other statements I have received is that authors have more leverage when it comes to requesting information about their books. This may be true in some cases but if a contract signed between distributors and publishers which restrict free access of sales data, then this is wrong.

Those in government entities must look at this condition to make any necessary changes to laws affecting the release of information to people who own the rights to publications. Authors must free methods available to them so information can be validated. Contracts between publishers and distributors must be required by law to authorize the free access of information to sales data of their publications. This would in no way, I believe, violate conditions of doing business as authors have the right to this information. It is inconceivable that this data not is automatically available to authors with full control of the rights to their books.

In summary authors have a right to receive any sales data from publishers, booksellers and distributors so publisher records can be validated. I have had some success with some booksellers in the past but distributors are another matter. Applicable laws that are currently in place must be changed to require that this kind of data must be provided to authors who own the rights to the books they have written.


Post a Comment

<< Home