Text of e-mail sent to members on June 1, 2007:
Simon & Schuster executives yesterday apologized for "any early miscommunication" regarding reversion of rights, according to the Association of Authors' Representatives (the literary agents' organization). S&S is willing to negotiate a "revenue-based threshold" to determine whether a book is in-print, says the AAR. The AAR's alert follows.
Simon & 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.
We're off to BEA. More details certainly to come.
Feel free to post and forward this message. The Authors Guild (www.authorsguild.org) is the nation's oldest and largest organization of published authors.
ALERT TO AAR MEMBERS
May 31, 2007
Representatives of the AAR Board and the AAR Contracts and Electronic Committees had a successful meeting this morning with Jack Romanos, Carolyn Reidy, and Rick Richter to discuss the ongoing issue of reversion of rights. The Simon and Schuster 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 newtechnologies 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.