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    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
    A friend of mine asked if he could use one of my photos as the cover of his self-published (Lulu) book.

    I was flattered, I said "of course!"

    Then it got listed on Amazon. Cool!

    Then it got converted to a Kindle eBook edition, without his knowledge.

    And it is selling.

    Without a royalty agreement for the electronic edition.

    For either of us.
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
    Wow, that's pretty shitty. It sounds similar to what the writers guild is striking for right now. There's a lot of gray area when it comes to online stuff and downloads. I'm curious, does anyone out there have any suggestions on ow to protect yourself from this kind of thing?
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007 edited
    That seems really wrong. I don't know how the listing process works, but surely there's some sort of royalty/percentage agreement that happens when Amazon lists a self-published book? It may be that there's a loophole in there that allows this Kindle-copy to happen.
    Which is shite, because apparently people can voluntarily list self-published stuff directly into the Kindle library and they do get small royalties.
    Edit: Linky thing to Amazon DTP Terms. This is still for the voluntary listings, mind.
  1.  (103.4)
    "A friend of mine asked if he could use one of my photos as the cover of his self-published (Lulu) book."

    Okay. So there was no agreement that you get a piece of his piece of Lulu sales?

    "I was flattered, I said "of course!""


    "Then it got listed on Amazon. Cool!"


    "Then it got converted to a Kindle eBook edition, without his knowledge."

    Ebooks weren't in his Lulu contract?

    "And it is selling.

    Without a royalty agreement for the electronic edition.

    For either of us. "


    1) did you or didn't you get a piece of his piece for his using the cover?

    2) does he or does he not have an ebook clause in his Lulu contract?

    My guess would be, yes he does, and yes he gets a piece of what Lulu get from Kindle sales, because anything else is blatantly illegal.

    I choose not to make any assumptions about your friend at this time.
    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
    recheck lulu's fine print. things might have changed since your friend first started publishing through them. they may have one of those clauses which boil down to "we can do what we want to our policy without necessarily telling you," and applied it to kindle/ebooks. doesn't sound like them, but it's possible. or, the billing and payment periods differ and lag compared to lulu's standard system?
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
    robb makes a good point. A rule of thumb with this sort of thing is to get everything in writing, and read the writing very carefully.
    Obvious, yes, but sound. Not just with companies, but whenever you're entering into an agreement that involves your intellectual property, and that includes dealings with friends/family.
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
    I choose not to make any assumptions about your friend at this time.

    I'm assuming that there is a line in the fine print somewhere that he doesn't remember. What seems to be missing is notification that his work was being made available on Kindle and what the relevant compensation might be.

    I'm waiting to hear more from him. I assume it is just a disconnect in the notification method.

    I don't get anything, I granted him permission to use my work (for irrelevant non-monetary compensation) and I didn't specifically rule out electronic editions. I am OK with that.

    Waiting on actual facts at this point, I probably should have relaxed before hitting the submit button
  2.  (103.8)
    Actually, unless Lulu has changed I was under the impression they did not try to make a rights claim when acting as a POD self publisher. And as far as I know they charge for ebook or Sony reader formatting. They are, after all, a vanity publishing service, without the old stigma attached to that, and charge for everything they do for the content owner.

    Let me dig up the press release on that.

    Google, google.

    Honestly, without seeing the contract who knows, but I have to say a red flag went up for me on the idea that Lulu would seamlessly include kindle in some way. Something is very wrong here, which as you say might just be lack of communication on the details with your friend.

    Please post more information as you get it. Professionally very curious...
    • CommentAuthorrobcallahan
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007 edited
    Hey, that's me.

    So we're clear: From what I've figured so far, Amazon most likely converted the Kindle edition from the Mobipocket edition, which circumvents Lulu. They work with or own Mobi these days, plus the book description seems to be a direct rip from the listing on, so that's what I suspect.

    If that's the case, though, there should be some royalty (or at least some tally of Kindle editions sold) reported through Mobipocket, but they are showing that I've never ever sold a single copy. Kindle/Mobipocket sales don't register at Lulu as they don't deal in distribution of these formats. Lulu don't actually hold any rights. They just print and distribute for rights holders, and the digital distribution they do is via unprotected pdf.

    The sales ranking keeps going up, then drifting back down, indicating people are buying this work, but I haven't yet figured out where sales are tracked or where royalties are sent. I've got an email in to their digitalrights[sic] people and I'm sure they'll get back to me eventually. No need to panic yet. Wait until they write back before you panic.
  3.  (103.10)
    From Amazon: "Amazon pulls eBooks from the Mobipocket catalogue, so if your book is listed on Mobipocket it will be listed on our Kindle site." The message goes on to talk about my royalty agreements with Mobipocket, and that they carry over to Kindle content, and the various ways in which they will be sent to me. They also promise to send me a monthly sales report.

    There was no cover art included in the mobipocket edition. It was created as bare bones as possible in order to keep file size down, in order to make it more accessible for pdas and phones, in the unlikely event that anyone wanted to buy it when they could cleverly find it for free elsewhere online. I'm sure I had a reason for doing all of this back when I did, but I don't remember what it was.