Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

This week I became aware that Scribd is engaging in a major push to acquire audiobook and ebook rights for already-published books, thanks to this post from Isobel Starling. 

Starling’s email exchange with a Scribd representative raised some concerns:

There are definitely some questions here. Fortunately, I was able to get hold of several copies of the contract Scribd is offering for these deals. You can see it here. (I’ve redacted the author’s name and other identifying information, and omitted the signature page. The contracts I saw were identical.)

Salient details:

– It’s explicitly a reprint contract. Scribd is looking for backlist books.

– Per Clause 3, the grant of rights is exclusive, and includes worldwide rights in all languages for audiobooks and ebooks distributed on the Scribd platform. For distribution outside the Scribd platform, English-language rights are excluded for ebooks only (this appears to be intended to allow authors to keep any current ebook editions in publication–but it’s complicated. See below).

– The grant term is 7 years (Clause 7), and includes distribution and marketing on the Scribd platform (Scribd is an all-you-can-eat subscription service) and outside the Scribd platform via retail channels (Clause 3. Again, though, see below).

– Per Clause 5, payment for distribution on Scribd is a flat fee (between $500 and $1,000 per book in the contracts I saw; the contracts were for multiple books). Unlike some other subscription services, or reading/writing platforms like Webnovel and Radish, Scribd doesn’t pay for reader/listener interaction, so for your ebook and audiobook presence on the Scribd platform, the flat fee is all you get.

– Also per Clause 5, payment for distribution outside the Scribd platform is 25% of “Scribd’s net proceeds” (not defined) once production costs have been recouped by such proceeds. This kind of back-end payment arrangement would be inappropriate for previously unpublished work, but it isn’t unusual for reprint publishers that acquire backlist books; Open Road Media does something similar, for instance. 

Things to consider if you’re offered one of these contracts:


Writer Beware: Kiss Library: Pirate Site Alert – Written By Victoria Strauss

Today I discovered another very useful warning, written by Victoria Strauss on the ‘Writer Beware’ blog. Thanks so much for all the work you do, Victoria. We really appreciate your support and efforts.

I’ve gotten several alerts over the past week about a pirate site that’s new to me (though not new: this warning was first published in September 2017): Kiss Library, where many authors are finding unauthorized electronic versions of their books.

Kiss Library differs from the typical pirate site in a couple of ways. Unlike, say, Ebook Bike, run by serial copyright thief and “information wants to be free” ideologue Travis McCrea, it doesn’t simply offer pirated books for free download but appears actually to be selling them. Also unlike Ebook Bike and other pirate sites, it seems to promptly respond to DMCA notices.

I found two of my own books listed.

Continue reading here