But I Pay all my Bills on Time!

Yes, but what happens when your publisher doesn’t?

Medallion Press has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That means it is going away, never to be seen again.

What about the publishing rights of the authors currently under contract? Read the Passive Guy’s comments and discussion. Short version – they are gone to whoever buys Medallion’s assets. The authors and agents have no control over that. Why? Because of their contracts.

This is why we need IP lawyers in our contact lists, and why we need to be wary about contracts.

18 comments

    1. Medallion Press is a small-to-micro press that was founded in 2003 by one of the Wrigley heirs. They published a variety of genre books, and some children’s books. (Info from the Publishers Weekly article at the first link.)

    1. The article doesn’t say. I hope not many, but IIRC once the asset sale is declared, the works go to the asset buyer(s) and the writers and their agents would have to find a way to buy them back, if possible, or hope for the best.

      I’d wonder if some authors will give in and just write-off the loss.

      1. IANAL, or at this point, a published author, but by my lights, a clause returning the rights to the author in event of significant change in the ownership of the publisher otter be a boilerplate addition to a standard publishing contract.

        1. It should be. Unfortunately, trad publishers don’t put it in and getting them to add something to their boilerplate that doesn’t protect their rights is next to impossible, especially for a new author. Agents, on the whole, won’t even try.

            1. The problem with that is publishers are refusing to admit indie is an option for us. They still look at themselves as the only legitimate game in town and will until we can finally make inroads into physical stores via Ingram spark or other similar options. Until then, because they don’t look at ebooks are “real” books, they won’t start bending in our favor.

              1. If your book is in the Ingram Spark POD system any retailer may order copies for their stores. You get to set the discount, ie wholesale, rate.
                There are two gotchas in this arrangement.
                First being that there is no push function, the retailer has to order your book, and typically will not unless you already have a huge reputation or are making killer sales on Amazon. It is the mechanism for Amazon selling your print books by the way.
                The other downside is returns. Ingram sells your book to a retailer, takes their production and shipping costs for themselves, then after 90 days credits your account for the difference. The retailer can at any time return unsold books to Ingram for credit back. When that happens you are on the hook for the production cost of the book, all shipping and handling charges, and the amount paid you. You may when setting up your Ingram account disallow returns, but if you do it practically guarantees that no retailer will handle your product.

          1. Check PG’s (rather lengthy) commentary on the story. Even such a clause in the contract apparently doesn’t protect you when the company files Chapter 7.

            Not that I would ever assign life of the copyright IP away to anyone, so I didn’t bookmark it, but PG also posted a rerun from a few years ago, that you (the author) can unilaterally void such a contract after (IIRC) thirty years from the first publication.

        2. Yes. The press that publishes my book has that as a standard clause, and also has rights reversion upon voluntary separation from the publisher. The publisher had been an author at a small press that had left her rights in limbo for quite some time, so she made sure the rights reversions were crystal clear in her own contracts.

    1. Indeed, but one needs to consider the effects of personal bankruptcy on ones own intellectual property. Which, not being a lawyer, I will refrain from speculating about.

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