1.25.2006

Reserve for Returns, no Mohicans required

It says that Doubleday will issue refunds to those who bought the book directly from them. Will they be taking the entire blow, or will Frey have to cough up his royalties for those books?


ahhh...the underbelly of the royalty statement.

Every royalty account has a despicable little line that says "reserves against returns" and the publisher DEDUCTS a tidy sum against the far off day that a book comes back. They do this forever.

Example: your book sold 100 copies at $20.00 each and your royalty rate is 10%.

100 x 20 x 10% = (Miss Snark takes off her red and white striped stockings to count, and calls KY over for extra digits) $200.00 is owed to you.

Then the line : Reserves against returns 10% = and $20.00 is deducted. You get $180.
Well, Miss Snark gets it, deducts her whopping commission of $27 and sends you $153.00
Don't spend it all in one place.

So, ya, James Frey is going to get nailed for returns.
But, so does everyone.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how many have actually been returned? I know I'm keeping my copy.

Anonymous said...

The thing that seems to be getting lost in the hoopla with James Frey is the simple fact that his book is still on the NY Times paperback bestsellers list. Unless it has just bounced from the list today....Obviously the man is getting some *****massive***** free publicity.

Anonymous said...

The reserve against returns example is , um, incomplete. The "sold 100 copies" is the 100 copies the publisher shipped to bookstores. Normally some of those come back. Say 10 of them don't sell and the bookstore returns them. The publisher deducts the royalty from them from the NEXT statement, but lo! the reserve against returns protects A.U. Thor from it, and he and Miss Snark get to keep the $180 (or rather, the NEXT payment isn't reduced by the difference.)

Now if all bookstores send back their entire stock of MLP, depending on Frey's contract terms, it may overflow the reserve against returns and seriously impact his future royalties.

And further, I don't know what memoir contracts typically look like, but my non-fiction contracts always had a section on inmdemnifying the publisher against errors or libels that were my fault. If there's a similar clause saying that the memoir has to be, yanno, like true and all, then Mr. Frey may yet wind up in deep financial doo-doo with the KY-equivalents of the attorney persuasion yapping at his heels.

Anonymous said...

Actually, in papers that printed that statement, a retraction came later. They're not actually giving refunds. Just one of those news rumors. Besides, it would only have been publisher's copies, not copies bought in bookstores.

Anonymous said...

I heard B&N is taking returns without receipts.

Really, do you think the stores will argue with you when you try to return the memoir that's an admitted sham?

Return the books.