On Publishing an eBook
June 1, 2010 2:50 AM Subscribe
Questions regarding publishing my (already published) book as an e-book.
posted by sively to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of years ago a book I wrote was published by a reputable albeit smallish publishing house in a small country. (I realize it would be helpful to be more specific, but we're talking about a tiny market here... Suffice it to say this is a small language area within the EU, and the publishing industry is probably somewhat different than in the English speaking world.) The book got good reviews but wasn't a hit; I was left frustrated with their marketing efforts and the deal has made me little money.
I retain all the rights for the manuscript. The contracts I've signed with the publishing house have concerned the publishing rights for each specific edition. The book has now been sold out for a while (although the publishing house is offering a contract for a paperback edition coming out next year, for which I'll again be paid laughably poorly).
Now, e-book readers - at least Kindle - are about to enter the local market within a few months. (There are virtually no e-books for sale in the language in question yet, but that'll obviously change soon.)
I've contacted the publishing house to hear what their take is on me publishing the book as an e-book myself. They've stated it is within my legal rights. They also revealed that they're planning to bring out digital editions later this year, and would like to make me an offer. (Based on previous experience, it'll probably suck again.)
My editor at the publishing house included this in their last email [translated]: "If you make a deal with Kindle, be careful with what you agree to and for what price. E.g. Google published digitized books last year and got into trouble because authors' rights were violated. So, think about it carefully, although the decision is yours to make. And perhaps you already have a good grasp of contract law."
It sounded... just a little intimidating.
- Should I go ahead and publish the e-book myself?
- If I do, what should I know about this, and where could I find out more?
- I can't see how the contract law they referred to could be a huge stumbling block - the author's rights are mine, after all. What could I be missing here?
- What should I know about the technical aspects?
- And what could be some of the "unknown unknowns" I'm not even considering?
PS. I'm fairly confident I'd be able to market the e-book to the main retailers, since it's already been published and thus vetted (and they've all already had it for sale as a hardcover anyway).