At BookLocker, we have a specific set of standards for vetting manuscripts. Unfortunately, not every manuscript we receive meets those standards. The authors of manuscripts we do not accept must then seek another publisher. When we must reject a manuscript, we never recommend BookBaby as an alternative.
We were recently contacted by an author who wants to move his book from BookBaby to BookLocker. He says it takes them too long to print and ship a book.
We took a look at their current “terms of service” and this is what we found:
1. They require exclusive rights when you’re under contract with them. That is LUDICROUS considering authors PAY BookBaby to publish their book!
“You hereby appoint us as your exclusive authorized representative for the sale and other distribution of the Author Content as described in this Agreement. Although you retain the right to sell the Author Content directly, you may not appoint any third parties to: (a) act as your authorized representative for distributing the Author Content to third party distributors, whether for online or physical redistribution (because online retailers such as Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, etc. will refuse content that may be delivered by multiple parties); or (b) distribute, publish or otherwise exploit the Author Content in any manner, including via ebooks and online or physical distribution.”
BookLocker’s contract is non-exclusive, meaning our authors own all rights to their books, and even their production files (the print-ready interior and cover files they pay us to create). And, BookLocker authors are free to publish and sell their book elsewhere, including selling the print and ebook editions on their own websites, even if those files were produced elsewhere. Why should an author be forced to allow a firm THEY PAID to be the only one permitted to sell their books?!
2. You can’t terminate, and then immediately publish your book somewhere else.
“Once you make your request to have a Book title removed, our team will begin working to remove the title, but note that it may take 4-6 weeks or longer for the titles to be removed from retail outlets around the world. Until we are able to remove such title, the rights and licenses granted under this Agreement will continue to apply to such title.”
BookLocker can terminate books on the same day authors send us a request. And, since we don’t take any rights from authors, there are no “rights and licenses” to “continue.”
3. You must follow a very specific procedure to terminate your book at BookBaby.
“To terminate your distribution Agreement, you must log into your BookBaby account and choose to cancel distribution under all applicable partners under My Books > View Status.”
Your request “must be sent only to the following e-mail address: (removed from this article for anti-spam purposes) with the following information: (i) your username; (ii) the e mail address associated with your Account; and (iii) ‘Termination of Digital and Print Distribution Agreement’ in the subject line of the email. You may also request removal from your account any specific Book titles previously submitted under this Agreement by sending an e-mail requesting such removal to (removed from this article for anti-spam purposes) with your username, the email address associated with your Account, and the book title(s) for which you are requesting removal.”
At BookLocker, authors can either email a note to me saying they want to terminate, or they can contact us through their author account. No formal language or formal process required! This is VERY important because, if an author is offered a traditional publishing deal, they need to be able to move their book ASAP.
4. If BookBaby receives a copyright infringement accusation about your book (that happens in the industry and many of them are unfounded!), they can charge you up to $300 to have their attorney respond to that letter:
“In the event that BookBaby is presented with a claim of breach of copyright, failure to comply with any third party license requirement or other breach of any of your warranties hereunder, and in its reasonable business judgment is compelled to engage an attorney to respond to such claim, BookBaby shall – in its sole discretion and in addition to any other remedies available – have the right to deduct from your Account or charge your credit card up to $300 to partially offset the costs of associated legal fees.”
To put it bluntly, that is INSANE! Having lawyers intervene in these matters is simply a cost of doing business. And, since BookBaby charges so much in setup fees, one would think they could reasonably afford this without reaching into their authors’ pockets for even more money.
5. You have to give them your bank account info. in order to get paid, or pay them $1.50 for each check they mail to you.
“We will make payments to you (by wire or electronic transfer).”
“You may withdrawal funds by physical check for a charge of $1.50 USD per check withdrawal to cover processing fees.”
Why not offer Paypal as an option? Many people do NOT want their bank account and routing numbers on file at a smaller company, which may not have anti-hacking resources available that huge firms like Paypal do. And, keeping a database of this information can make a company more appetizing to hackers.
6. If you have your CPA examine their records, your CPA can’t tell anyone of the findings…except you or the court.
“…any information derived from such audit or examination will not be knowingly released, divulged or published to any person, firm or corporation, other than to you or to a judicial or administrative body in connection with any proceeding relating to this Agreement.”
7. You only have one year to sue them.
“Each statement will become conclusively binding on you at the end of that one (1) year period, and you will no longer have any right to make any other objections to it. You will not have the right to sue us in connection with any statement, or to sue us for your share of Digital License Fees on sales and licenses during the period a statement covers, unless you commence the suit within that one (1) year period.”
8. You can only sue them for royalties.
“If you commence suit on any controversy or claim concerning statements rendered to you under this Agreement in a court of competent jurisdiction, the scope of the proceeding will be limited to determination of the amount of the Digital License Fees due to you for the accounting periods concerned, and the court will have no authority to consider any other issues or award any relief except recovery of any Digital License Fees found owing. Your recovery of any such royalties will be the sole remedy available to you by reason of any claim related to our statements.”
9. Complaints, complaints, and more complaints!
This illustrates why is is SO very important to read a contract before hiring a firm to publish your book.
- BOOKBABY COMPLAINTS
- BookBaby’s Unfair Contract Clause! By Angela Hoy
- AUTHORS, REPEAT AFTER ME: “I will NOT give publishers ownership of my production files!”
- Does AuthorHouse Charge Authors for Production Files? Yep! And the Amount is Ridiculous!
- Complaints about Specific Publishers
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy
BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!
ANGELA ON FACEBOOK
ANGELA ON LINKEDIN
Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed
A systematic approach to writing that generates better quality quickly!
Chock full of ideas, tips, techniques and inspiration, this down-to-earth book is easy to read, and even easier to apply. Let author Jeff Bollow take you through a process that brings your ideas to the page faster, more powerfully and easier than ever before.
Read more here:
Dear Editor, I am a retired blind Zambian in 2013 I paid book baby one thousand USD for publishing and selling my book called the forbidden customs of Africa. After some months bookbaby failed to sell my book then I asked the publishing company why my book could not sell. Then someone replied saying “unless I send more money then the book could be promoted.” So I kept quiet but my book is on the internet being sold without my consent. Therefore to any American who comes upon my book please remind those publishing companies or organisations that the rights to the book belongs to a blind person who never gains nothing out of his sweat. For proof Please google my old email: email@example.com
I am a retired blind man, I sent my book called the Lion and the law of the jungle to Patridge publishing company. After three years from 2016-2018 I never received any book royalties inspite spending three thousand USd in charges to the company. Therefore I cancelled the contract however without my consent Patridge listed my book on Amazon where I don’t get any book royalties so what advise can you give to Me? Please google my old email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This reinforces (not that I need it) my commitment to BookLocker. In these crazy times, the last thing I have to worry about is the efficiency and trustworthiness of BookLocker.