A book publishing contract outlines the obligations and rights of the author and publisher. It is a legally binding document that describes the terms of the agreement in detail. Some of the terms will be specific to the agreement described in the contract. Other terms will be drawn from the publisher's standard, boilerplate contract. Another set of terms will be governed by publishing industry conventions.
Without the guidance of book publishing contract lawyer, authors can find it difficult to judge which terms to accept and which to negotiate, particularly when it comes to the distribution rights granted to the publisher.
What is a Book Publishing Contract?
Book publishing contracts assign the copyrights to the work, usually to the author. The contract sets the schedule by which the author will deliver the work to the publisher, the amount of the author's advance, the percentage of the author's royalty payments for each format in which the book will be distributed, and the schedule for payment of royalties.
The contract defines what rights the author has when requesting changes to the work and the formats the publisher may use when distributing the book -- hardcover, paperback, ebook, audio book, and so on. Further, publishers who are part of a large entertainment industry conglomerate may seek other, subsidiary rights such as movie and television rights, foreign rights, and book club rights.