I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Consult with your attorney for any legal questions you may have.
If your publisher has gone out of business, and if you’ve reviewed your contract, you’ve likely discovered that you’re (bleep)-out-of-luck with regards to any protection. It’s unlikely there’s a statement in their contract that details your protections in the event they have gone out of business.
And, your book is probably still on Amazon, and still selling. Yes, your publisher may very well still be having copies printed and shipped to Amazon. Those funds are being sent to your publisher and that publisher is not sending royalties to you. Worse, if you try to complain to Amazon, they’ll tell you that only your publisher can remove those books from Amazon. If you release a new edition of your book, and if you don’t rename it, customers are going to get confused and some will order the old edition. And, your publisher will continue to pocket YOUR money.
That puts the victims of that publisher (the authors) in quite a bind.
However, there is a way to get Amazon to remove your old book.
If my publisher has gone out of business, and has stopped sending me my portion of the royalties, they are violating the terms of my contract. So, I have every right to cancel that contract, and to withdraw any and all rights I gave to that company, right? In doing so, they no longer have permission to sell my book. If they do, that’s COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
If you own the copyright to your book, and if your publisher is no longer responding to you, you can rescind the rights you gave them to publish your book. Send them a certified letter stating such. It will probably be returned to you as undeliverable. Keep that. Email them as well, and copy yourself on the email. If their website is still up, send them a message through their contact form (if they have one), and take a screenshot of that before clicking the send or submit button.
Name of Publisher
City, State, Zip
[Name of publisher] has ceased primary business operations and is no longer responding to my correspondence. This is a violation of my contract terms with your company.
This letter serves as written notice that I am rescinding all publishing, distribution, and other rights previously given to your firm with regards to [insert book title(s) and ISBN(s)]. You are hereby ordered to cease and desist listing and selling my title(s), and from collecting monies from any entity from any sales of my book(s).
If you continue to list/sell my title(s), this will constitute copyright infringement.
City, State, Zip
Then, contact Amazon’s copyright infringement division. Don’t go into detail about how your publisher went out of business, how they screwed you over, etc., etc. That will only spur them to respond with a generic note about this being between you and your publisher, that they are under contract with your publisher, that it’s a civil matter, etc., etc.
Simply tell them this:
I am the sole copyright owner of [title of book and ISBN]. It is on Amazon at [insert Amazon link for your book]. [Name of publisher] is selling my book on Amazon.com without my permission. This is copyright infringement. As the sole copyright owner of this book, I am requesting you immediately remove this title from Amazon.com since it is being sold illegally.
Amazon’s instructions on how to submit a copyright infringement claim are RIGHT HERE.
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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!
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts - by Angela Hoy
Peek over the shoulders of highly successful, published authors to see how they landed publishing contracts worth $10,000 to $100,000! An enticing yet professional book proposal is the key!
BONUS! Successful ghostwriter, Anton Marco, shares his secret for landing ghostwriting clients. Don’t miss Anton’s real ghostwriting contract at the end of this book! It provides an example of what he charges and the payment terms he requires from each client.
QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments
Peek over the shoulders of highly successful freelance writers to see how they earn thousands per article! The query letter is the key!
In these pages, you'll find real query letters that landed real assignments for national magazines, websites, and corporations.
- Abbi Perrets' form letter that brings in $30,000-$45,000 annually
- Sample phone query from Christine Greeley
- The Six Golden Rules of Queries and Submissions...and How I Broke Them! by Bob Freiday
- Your Rights As a "Freelancer"
- and ANGELA HOY'S SECRET for finding ongoing freelance work from companies that have a stable of freelancers, yet never run ads for them!
and if their contract gave them the copyright ???
If they violated your contract terms, and are out of business, it’s highly unlikely they’re going to come after you for copyright infringement since you could likely counter-sue for far more. Per the article, consult with an attorney regarding your particular situation.
In this day and age it is certainly a fine thing to find an honest business person and an honest publisher. Thanks for being you.
Angela for President.
Thank you for all your important information.