9th funniest self-publishing contractual clause

Over the next few weeks I’ll examine the top ten funniest contractual clauses from our competitors and dissect what the legalese means and why it’s “funny.” I looked at #10 yesterday.

#9 Funniest Clause from the Competitor’s Contract – We will determine how to handle Customer returns of Units, which may include, without limitation (a) in the case of physical Units, placing the returned copy of the Unit into inventory and reselling it to another Customer, in which case we will have no obligation to pay you any Content License Royalty for the resale of such Unit (because we paid, or will pay, you for the original sale of such Unit);

What it means: This publisher is allowed to sell your book multiple times from its e-retail store, but only pay you for it once.

Why it’s funny: Authors have two major frustrations with the book publishing industry:  Book returns and the secondary market.   The secondary market is when a book is sold “used” over and over again without any compensation coming to the author.  Logistically this occurs because most bookstores don’t have a way of tracking secondary sales.  But even though this particular publisher does have a means of tracking secondary sales (and in fact, it’s e-retail store is huge)  it actively chooses not to recognize secondary sales nor compensate its authors for secondary sales.

Next time, #8…