How to evaluate an offer to buy foreign rights?
May 21, 2013 8:31 PM   Subscribe

I self-published a non-fiction technical book recently. A Chinese publisher has just approached me and wants to buy the 5-year Chinese foreign distribution rights. How do I evaluate their offer?

I self-published a non-fiction technical book recently. A Chinese publisher has just approached me and wants to buy the 5-year Chinese foreign distribution rights. They appear to be a legitimate company, and they're offering an $1800 advance, 3000 copy 1st print run, and an 8% royalty rate on a $9 USD planned retail price (20% royalty rate on ebook sales).

I've Googled the topic and read some basic background stuff but am generally ignorant of the publishing industry and the retail market for books in China. Does this deal seem fair? Is there anything I should watch out for? [I do not intend to provide exclusivity for sales of the English edition in China--I sell the English ebook myself and it would be a huge PITA for me to keep Chinese buyers from purchasing it.] I'm a little suspicious of doing business with China, having heard many horror stories of IP theft, but honestly...my book is for sale on Amazon, if they wanted to illegally translate and sell it, they could have done that already.

I have already seen this previous question.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I get to the office today I'll check some recent Chinese deals we've done but on first look, this deal seems good. 5 years is better than a 7 year license, which is also common. It's a good advance for the print run and 8% is okay. 25% price received would be a better ebook rate. Do you want to private message me the publisher who has approached you, then I might have a better idea?
posted by meerkatty at 10:04 PM on May 21, 2013


Unless you have some interest in putting the book up for sale and doing all the work yourself, take it! They're taking the risks here (one reason for the 20% royalty rate). You might want to include or check for a clause that says who owns the copyright (this is China, so it being respected is a matter of opinion) - you don't want them to start asserting their 'rights' in other countries...

I'd also consider asking or researching other books they've published, e-mailing the authors, and so on.
posted by chrisinseoul at 10:56 PM on May 21, 2013


For general background on doing business with Chinese companies — including how to ensure your contract is enforceable — have a look at China Law Blog.
posted by quidividi at 1:42 AM on May 22, 2013


Used to work in foreign rights: at a quick glance, it looks like a fine deal, I'd take it (reading all the fine print a few times, of course)
posted by Calicatt at 4:30 AM on May 22, 2013


Sounds like a scam to me. Mind you if they are crooks they will publish anyway. Other than getting a lawyer involved and making appropriate enquiries about the firm I cant think of any other ways to protect your copyright or avoid fraud.
posted by BenPens at 7:46 AM on May 22, 2013


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