When it comes to the buying and selling of rights, Lynette Owen is the standard bearer. Her long career in publishing has been dedicated to helping a host of companies exploit the myriad of rights that are associated with content, and she has a forensic knowledge of contracts, geographical markets and platform opportunities. For many years the IPG has been fortunate enough to have access to her consultancy services, and she has helped members answer endless difficult questions around things like safe markets, hidden contractual terms and so much more.
The newly revised eighth edition of Lynette's Selling Rights is a convenient and accessible handbook that answers just about every conceivable question about this important subject. It includes all the practical advice needed to sell rights, whether you work in trade, academic or specialist publishing, and whether you are a newcomer or seasoned professional. Even the most experienced rights manager can be tested with rights questions, and we all need to be absolutely sure that our contracts are not giving away rights we have not considered—for our authors’ protection as well as our own.
This edition also explores the new generation of digital rights, and how publishing responds to expectations of free online content, Open Access and political assaults on our Intellectual Property. New contractual demands appear all the time, especially in the face of major tech companies seeking to break down the barriers of copyright protection—a major cause of concern for the industry.
The book covers the implications of Brexit and the potential loss of EU directives on protection too—and it is comforting to know that, for the foreseeable future, regulations on imports of competing editions will remain in place. But who knows what will have changed by the time Lynette comes to revise the ninth edition of the book?
Primarily though, this is a practical handbook: something to dip into each time a question arises, and that explains all the complex terminology and issues surrounding rights, including initial exploitation, shipping terms, book fairs, permissions, collective licensing, subscription platforms, charitable rights and much more besides. While IPG members are lucky enough to call on Lynette with specific queries, it is wonderful to be able to have her expertise sitting on the book shelf, ready to refer to whenever it is needed.
After all, publishers essentially make their money out of Intellectual Property, and protecting it should be a priority for everyone. Without it, we simply do not have a business. We need to understand the relationship between authors, agents, publishers, customers and platforms, and this book sets out in a very practical fashion what we need to do at all stages of the publishing process.
Some established publishers have departments of full-time staff to handle their rights, but if this is not the case then a business needs to find ways of both protecting and exploiting its work—and Selling Rights can help. From the essentials of initial head contracts to exploitation strategies and execution to permissions to piracy, it answers the questions that many of us have little time to consider. Few independent publishers can be expected to be experts in the many different areas of sub-rights without a guide like this to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Beyond all this, there is advice about setting up a rights function in a company, keeping records, making the most of book fairs and, crucially, the questions to ask when looking for potential customers. It can also help with integrating rights functions into sales and marketing activities and liaison with editorial and production. Besides having Lynette’s wisdom within your company, this book is most definitely the next best thing.
IPG members can get an exclusive 50% discount on the eighth edition of Selling Rights. Click here for details of how to access the deal.
Caroline de la Bedoyere is director of Search Press.