Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bonus Clauses—Another Item to Re-evaluate With eBooks?

STATUS: Anita, our new assistant, started her first day of work today. Hooray! We have so much work we could pile on but we are trying to be reasonable. Both she and Sara have colds. Oi! Knock on wood that I don’t catch whatever is going around.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SWEET EMOTION by Aerosmith

Here is an interesting thought.

Agents will often negotiate bonus clauses with publishers. A popular one is a bonus (increasing the advance) for X number of net copies of the title sold during a certain period of time (12 months being a popular number).

Currently, the publisher ties the bonus to the specific edition. For example, if the title is published as an original trade paperback, then the bonus will be tied to X number of copies of the trade pb edition sold within that time period.

Make sense?

Well, eBooks are changing the landscape and are often released simultaneously with the original edition (be it hardcover, trade pb, or mass market).

So my thought? Why not count and include the sales of the electronic books in the total that is triggering the bonus clause? True, it is considered a separate edition but it’s rather unique in that it mirrors the original edition and doesn’t need a separate performance creation like, let’s say, an audio book.

Brilliant! Oh I’m sure Publishers will be stampeding to this point of view (not) but it is an interesting discussion, no?

My guess is that now we need to start creating bonus language specifically for sales connected to the eBook—especially as this format becomes more prominent and the sales start catching up or outstripping the other main format editions.

Fun fun!