Let's talk 'master resale rights' and ebooks

Okay, I’m hoping some people out there researching ‘master resell rights’ stumble onto this page.  Or I hope some of the people mistakenly claiming to be ‘authorized ebook resellers’ find this page.

Because I’ve got news for you.

You can’t buy the resale rights to my work…unless you go through me, and I can’t sell them to you, because it would be conflict with my contract to my publisher. Which could get me sued.  Which is why I’m pretty certain other authors out there aren’t likely to be doing this either.

You can resell a paperback, because after all, there is just the one copy.

But you can’t resell ebook after ebook after ebook because that’s not selling one copy-that’s making new copies and you know what that does?  That violates my copyright.  I own the rights to my work. Me.  Just me.

I contract with my publisher and they publish the books.  Through my publisher, I may sell the foreign rights (and please, dear God, I’d really love to), I can sell the audio rights (please God, I would love to) and other assorted rights.  I own the rights.  They are mine.  You can’t buy a ‘master resale right’ to anything I’ve written, because I won’t give it up.

If somebody claims they can give you master resale rights, you were lied to.   Possibly by mistake, possibly with the intention of deceiving you, I don’t know.  Email the publisher if you don’t believe me-ask the person claiming the ‘resale rights’ bit who their contact at the publisher was.  But don’t shell out money to somebody who claim to give you master resale rights to ebooks.

Now this isn’t to say there aren’t books out there with ‘master resale rights’.  I see all this ‘set up your own ebook biz’ and all the ebooks are self-help and do-it-yourself, and maybe, just maybe, those do come with legit resale rights.

But if you think Nora Roberts sold her resale rights to somebody who in turn now sells them out to others so they can sell a slew of them on ebay for a few bucks when the author doesn’t see a red cent for all her hard work, you’re wrong-somehow, I suspect Nora Roberts is a little too smart for that. She doesn’t do it.   Neither does Shiloh Walker, neither does Larissa Ione, neither does Lauren Dane, neither does any fricking writer I’ve talked to about this…and yeah, writers do talk about it.  A lot.

Publishing doesn’t work that way.

Ebook publishing doesn’t work that way.

This is about rights.  Plain and simple rights.  When people ‘create’ digital copies of our work, they are making new copies-that is copyright infringement-and that violates our rights.  Plain and simple.  It violates our rights and if somebody came in and rode roughshod all over your legal rights, you’d be  bit upset.  You do not have the legal rights to resell our works, no matter what you were told.

And if anybody who was told this is reading this…seriously, completely seriously, I want to know who is telling you.    You were misinformed.  A lot of people have been misinformed and that circle won’t stop until we get to the root of it all.

Feel free to email me.  Shilohwalker(at)gmail.com.  Of course, if you’re emailing me just to tell me how I mean I am for wanting people to respect my fricking rights…don’t waste your time.  I’m really handy with that delete button and I don’t waste my time arguing with people who can’t understand that I’m entitled to have my rights respected, the same way others want their rights respected.