Monday, March 6, 2023

Reversion of Rights

Annamaria on Monday   

Like most authors in these times, I own the copyrights to the books I have written.   The publishers who have contracted to release the works in book, eBook, or audible form have had the right to sell those works and to keep most of the money.  That's been the deal, probably since Gutenberg.

Due to complications I cannot discuss publicly, I am in a bind with contracts from the past.  Suffice it so to say that, with the exception of one book, my rights are tied up with publishers who continue to sell my work, though their contracts have expired or are otherwise voided by their own bad behavior.  I want to arrange for new editions of the work.  I could just go ahead and do so, since no previous publisher now has a legal right to continue to sell my stories.


Enter the behemoth that dominates book sales pretty much worldwide.  Once a book is up on Amazon, it stays there.  Amazon continues to sell it in any form.  (In my case, they have even offered a couple of my eBooks free of charge to their subscribers.  For print books, they also offer used copies, which benefits them but the author not at all.)

There is only one way to get those old editions taken down from Amazon, and to have a new edition put up in its place: the author must present Amazon with a reversion of rights letter from the previous publisher.  No letter, no solution.

My publishers have so far ignored my requests for those reversion of rights letters.  This is standard behavior, it seems.

Enter, in the USA, the champion of authors: The Authors Guild.   Published or aspiring authors can join the union and take advantage of its many benefits.  I joined as soon as I sold my first book in 1984.  Since then, I have not needed AG's help very often, but when I have, their lawyers have been there for me.  Given the AG's reputation, most of the time, publishers take much more seriously requests from AG's lawyers than they do pleas from authors.

If that doesn't work, to get entirely out of my current prediction, I may need to hire an intellectual property lawyer.  But for now, I am sticking to the union.

 If you are a writer and want to be sure you have the protection you need, I HIGHLY recommend  joining the the Guild.  Click on the link above!


  1. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling to get reversion of your rights, Annamaria, and I hope that it's all resolved soon.

  2. I concur with Annamaria. Authors Guild is definitely worth joining.

  3. Ditto on the observations of Zoë and Stan, Sis.