Top 10 Funniest Self-Publishing Contractual Clauses

We do a lot of competitive analysis at Outskirts Press to constantly make sure Outskirts Press remains the best self-publishing company.  There are a lot of other reviews and comparisons of self-publishers that can be found on the Internet, too, and I wrote about those, and how we rank among them, in series of blog posts cumulating with this one here.  During my own recent review of our competitors I stumbled across some entertaining  (at least to me) clauses in self-publishing contracts and had to ask myself, “Do authors actually read these agreements before they pay some of these companies?”  I think in many cases, the answer is no, because would YOU sign something containing clauses like these?

The Top 10 Funniest Self-Publishing Clauses Found in Our Competitor’s Contracts

10. You will provide a List Price for each Title which will be at or below (a) the price at which you list or offer that title via any other sales channel; and (b) the price at which you sell such title in physical form to customers through any distribution method.

9. 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);

8. We may, in our sole discretion, at any time, and without notice to you remove, or refuse to list or distribute any Content on or from any sales channel, but you will remain liable for all fees and other amounts that you may owe under this Agreement in connection with any Title or Promotional Clip we remove because of a violation of this Agreement or our Content Guidelines.

7. All statements and other accountings will be conclusive, final and binding, unless you give us written notice stating the specific basis for objection within one year after the date the payment was rendered. You will not maintain any action or proceeding against us or our affiliates in respect of any disputed statement unless you commence that action or suit against us within 6 months following the date that you provide us with the written notice referred to in the immediately preceding sentence.

6. Our use of the Descriptive Materials may become integral to us throughout the term of this Agreement and will continue beyond the term of this Agreement even though we will no longer produce or sell new Units after the term of this Agreement. Therefore, notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, for Descriptive Materials and Promotional Clips, the license you grant us will be perpetual and royalty-free.

5. Accordingly, for each of your written Titles you hereby grant us permission, on a nonexclusive, perpetual basis, to (x) reproduce and store the entirety of each Title in digital form on one or more computer facilities of or under the control of us or our affiliates or our independent contractors;

4. We may disclose or use Feedback for any purposes whatsoever without any obligation (including any financial obligation) to you. In addition, if you are participating in a beta program, you agree to provide us with any reports we request and to promptly respond to any and all reasonable inquiries, questionnaires, surveys and other test documents we submit to you.

3. We may terminate this Agreement at any time by sending you an e-mail notice at the e-mail address associated with your account. Our notice of such termination will be effective at the time we send you the notice. Upon termination, you will pay us whatever fees were incurred prior to the date of the termination.

2. We will have sole discretion to determine the production, appearance and format of each Unit (for example, bar code placement).

1. You acknowledge that you have no input or control over the price at which your Titles are sold. 

Next we’ll examine each clause one by one and I’ll explain what each of these clauses actually means for an author, and why they’re kind of funny (and a little scary that people are agreeing to them). Stay tuned…