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S&S UK to Follow Parent Lead on Contract Changes

The Bookseller reports that Simon & Schuster‘s UK arm will follow its parent’s lead in extending its author contracts, despite the ongoing row in New York between the publisher and the Authors Guild over the reversion of author rights. The move provoked fury from UK authors and agents. Association of Authors’ Agents president Clare Alexander said: “The fact that someone can download a book is not the same as publishing a book. I don’t welcome publishers using it as an excuse to own something in perpetuity without any marketing investment. We insist on the rate of sale being the key element to a reversion clause.”

UK publishers, meanwhile, are calling for the whole concept of rights reversion to be heavily revised or even scrapped. “Why should it be that way? If you buy a house and you don’t go to it, you don’t stop owning the house,” said one publishing CEO. “It seems to be based on a weird notion of punishment, where you’re punished for not trying hard enough.” And based on comments from Bloomsbury CEO Nigel Newton and Macmillan CEO Richard Charkin that POD must be reckoned with in future publishing contracts, this fight is not about to go away anytime soon.

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