Monday, June 04, 2007

SIMON AND SCHUSTER STEP BACK A BIT...

On May 31, 2007, representatives of the Association of Authors’ representatives (AAR) board and the AAR Contracts and Electronic Committees had a successful meeting this morning with Jack Romanos, Carolyn Reidy, and Rick Richter of Simon and Schuster to discuss the ongoing issue of reversion of rights. The S&S executives apologized for any early miscommunication on this issue, and appreciated the opportunity to clarify their position.

They informed us that S&S is investing a lot of resources in its digital publishing initiative, and their expanded efforts in conventional and new technologies will enable them to supply books to consumers in a variety of formats, including Print on Demand, electronic books, digital downloadable audio, online page views, et. al. Their goal is to keep books in print more effectively and to market frontlist and backlist titles more vibrantly.

They have confirmed for us that they are agreeable to negotiating with agents a revenue-based threshold to determine the in-print status of a book.

The AAR issued the following alert afterwards:

Simon and Schuster's new position reflects substantial movement from their initial stance, but it raises many questions, including:

  1. whether revenues would be measured by income to the publisher or the author,
  2. what level of revenues would meet the threshold, and
  3. how unagented authors (particularly children's book authors) would fare under this policy.