Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Of Borrowing E-Books and Publisher Contracts

Today I have a couple of items that don't really belong together but are too short to post separately.

1. I finally borrowed my first e-book from the library today. (If you're curious, it was Juliet Immortal.) I've been stalking the library website for the past few days since I knew I was next on the hold list. The process was much easier than I expected it to be. I followed the link in the e-mail notification to the website, signed in, and checked out the title with a few clicks. I did have to download it to my Kindle afterwards, but that was just another couple of clicks. I had thought I'd have to go through Overdrive (a special program for borrowing media like this) or download the book first to my computer and then transfer it to my Kindle via cable. Instead the book downloaded wirelessly to my Kindle. Gotta love that! While I was there, I browsed through more books and placed holds on a couple more. I think it will be a balancing act to figure out how many books to place on hold in order to get a steady but not overwhelming stream of them.

2. If you read Writer Beware, you may have seen this guest post today about an author who has been attempting to get her book back from her publisher since, according to her, the book is no longer "in print through regular trade channels." What exactly does that mean? She contends the book is no longer physically available in book stores and is only available in the publisher's warehouse. Robert J. Sawyer responded on his blog saying he found the book available through some Canadian bookstores and in on (I tried looking for this book tonight on the U.S. Amazon website and saw it was listed as being "temporarily out of stock.") Does this author have a case? I am nowhere near qualified to rule on that, but I think the wording in this contract is subject to interpretation. This case is a reminder to all of us that in any contract, the wording should be as clear and specific as possible; if you're not sure about something in it, you have the power to negotiate before you sign the contract, not afterward.

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