eBook publishing is, as the term implies, the digital publication of books and written material, which are usually sold via a Publisher’s website though these days, there is an increasing trend towards author self-publishing with the availability of publishing software and “Apps”.
The numerous types of digital format which may be offered for sale include CD and DVD disks, (usually accompanying the hard-copy version), electronic download of an eBook or audiobook from a website (e.g. Amazon Kindle, iBooks, similar to iTunes for music from Apple), and other forms of magnetic media, formats suitable for streamed, shared file or wireless distribution methods as well the option of print-on-demand.
Digital publication has now become commonplace for a whole range of material which enables published works to be readily accessible worldwide online to the greatest number of readers in the shortest space of time at the lowest cost. It is also a useful and very cost effective method to provide updates to existing material, which is particularly useful in scientific, medical and legal text books. Thus there is a need for specific contracts to clarify the relationship between Publisher and Author. This will become even more important when more publishers introduce subscription-type services which offers readers numerous eBooks in a subscription package which is at a lower cost per eBook thus both the publisher and author will also receive less.
Where the contract is drafted for the benefit of the Publisher, as in this Contract, the Publisher will want exclusive worldwide rights to publish the material in all manner of digital formats and be solely in charge of the title, style, design, price, promotion, sale and distribution.
To ensure that the veracity of the Author’s material and thereby secure its investment, the Publisher will seek the Author’s warranty that the work is original and that the Author is the sole owner. In addition, the Publisher will seek the Author’s warranty that the material is not in any way objectionable on grounds that it is e.g. unlawful, defamatory, infringing, misleading or deceptive. Breach by the Author of any of these warranties will result in the Author being required to indemnify the Publisher for any loss it may suffer.
In return for its investment, the Publisher will sell the eBook via its website, collect all sales revenue and pay the Author a percentage royalty of the net receipts. Under contracts drafted for the benefit of the Publisher, the Publisher generally keeps a much higher percentage than it remits to the Author. Not uncommonly, the Publisher will receive 75–95% of the net sales revenue and the Author may receive as little as 5–25%.