October 10, 2007
POD SECRETS REVEALED: You Pay... But THEY Own the Rights! By Angela Hoy | printable version
It's disgusting but it's true. Some POD publishers will do anything to make it financially and logistically impossible for you to switch to another POD publisher if you are unhappy with their services in the future. One way they might do this is to include verbiage, buried in the middle of their contract (or multiple contracts as some POD publishers offer different contracts for each service), that states they own all rights to the materials you have paid them to create. This can include cover design, custom illustrations (for the cover and/or the interior of the book) and even the final edited and formatted copy of the interior of YOUR book. Can you imagine paying someone to edit (or format!) your book but not getting a copy of the final, edited copy for your own use? What person in their right mind would pay a company hundreds to thousands of dollars for something they will not be able take with them and use elsewhere? The sad fact is most authors don't read the fine print and don't realize that they have signed over all the rights to their files to the POD publisher...until it's too late.
I thought we'd have a fun little quiz this week. I'll quote portions of REAL POD CONTRACTS below and you try to guess which POD publisher you think they're from. Okay? Here we go!
A. THIS PUBLISHER TAKES ALL RIGHTS TO THE COVER YOU PAID THEM $1,199.00 TO CREATE!
Service: Exclusive Cover Design Program
Contract verbiage: "(The publisher) retains full rights to the Artwork produced as a part of this Agreement and reserves the right to use it in whole or in part for promotional campaigns relating to the Design Program. The Author shall be provided with a digital PDF of their front cover for promotional and advertising purposes."
Note: The author does not get the entire file (front, back and spine) and, thus, can't use the cover if they switch to another POD publisher. They can't even use the front if they switch because the publisher owns the rights!
B. THIS PUBLISHER CLAIMS THEY DON'T HAVE TO GIVE YOU COPIES OF FILES YOU'VE PAID THEM HUNDREDS TO THOUSANDS TO PRODUCE!
Service: Print on Demand Services
Cost: Hundreds to Thousands, depending on which services you choose
Contract Verbiage: "(The Publisher) will have no obligation to provide to Author any submitted materials or production files at anytime or for any reason."
Note: This means you pay them to edit and/or format your book and you are not entitled to copies of the files you paid them to edit/format... So, after it's all said and done, all you own is your old, unedited copy of your manuscript.
C. THIS PUBLISHER OWNS ALL RIGHTS TO THE CUSTOM COVER ILLUSTRATION YOU PAID THEM $499 TO PRODUCE!
Service: Custom Color Illustration
Contract Verbiage: "(The Publisher) retains full rights to the Illustration produced as a part of this Agreement and reserves the right to use it in whole or in part for promotional campaigns. (The publisher) grants the Author a Limited License to use the Illustration for promotional and advertising purposes."
Note: This contract does not allow the author to use the cover illustration in the future if they move their book to another POD publisher, or even if they want to print the book themselves!
D. THIS PUBLISHER CLAIMS ALL RIGHTS TO INDIVIDUAL ILLUSTRATIONS YOU PAID THEM $129-$249 EACH TO PRODUCE!
Service: Custom Illustrations
Cost: $129-$249 EACH
Contract Verbiage: "(The publisher) retains full rights to Illustration(s) produced as a part of this Agreement and reserves the right to use it in whole or in part for promotional campaigns. (The publisher) grants the Author a Limited License to use the Illustration(s) for promotional and advertising purposes."
Note: This contract does not allow the author to use the illustration if they publish or print elsewhere.
This contract does not allow the author to use those illustrations in the future, even if they move their book to another POD publisher, or even if they want to print the book themselves!
E. THIS PUBLISHER OWNS THE RIGHTS TO **ALL** YOUR COMPLETED PRODUCTION DATA AND FILES
Service: POD publishing services
Cost: Hundreds to thousands - highest package is $12,999.00!
Contract Verbiage: "(The publisher) retains all digital property and ownership related to all completed production data and files."
Note: Very blunt, but that pretty much says it all, wouldn't you say?
F. YOU PAY THEM *AGAIN* FOR FILES YOU ALREADY PAID THEM TO PRODUCE!
Service: POD publishing services (including formatting and cover design)
Cost: Hundreds to thousands, depending on what services the author chooses.
Contract Verbiage: If the author terminates the agreement in the first 18 months, he has to pay $1500 for the production files. If he terminates after 18 months, he has to pay $300 for the production files.
READY FOR THE ANSWERS?
I pulled samples from the most popular POD publishers. But, others are grabbing rights from authors, too, in an attempt to make it difficult or impossible for disgruntled authors to switch services later. What other reason could there be for this greedy rights grab?
Booklocker.com (which is owned by the author of this article) claims no rights whatsover to an author's work. If an author orders original cover design ($110-$175), they then own all rights to their cover and can use it wherever they choose in the future. And, yes, we provide the author with a 300 dpi copy of their cover! Authors also own all rights to their interior files and we very gladly provide copies of those as well, both the word processing file and the final pdf file! Authors can even sell the final pdf file on their own as an ebook (though we are happy to also list an ebook version on our site, for no additional fee, of course). Setup fees are only $317.00. That's it. There are no hidden fees. Booklocker.com offers a special ($99 setup fees) to authors who want to move from another POD publisher. Email Angela (angela - at - booklocker.com) to see if you qualify.
Please, friends, ALWAYS read EVERY contract in its entirety!
To read past articles in Angela's POD SECRETS REVEALED series, click HERE.