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Wiley's Deceptive Letter to Bloomberg Press Authors:

June 11, 2010

Tags: book contracts, royalties, book publishers, Wiley

""We are pleased to inform you" that we will be slicing your royalties up to 50%, is the essence of a letter from John Wiley & Sons to Bloomberg Press authors. "John Wiley & Sons acquired Bloomberg Press, the books division of Bloomberg, in March," says the June 2010 Authors Guild alert. "At the end of April, it began sending a letter to hundreds of Bloomberg Press authors purporting to inform them 'about a few differences in the accounting systems of Bloomberg and Wiley that it will be helpful for you to know about.'

"While this sounds innocent enough, it isn't. If signed by an author, the letter is actually a contract amendment that will materially and adversely affect the royalty rates of many Bloomberg Press authors."

The alert explains contractual changes, and advises, about a letter sent to Bloomberg authors: "The Authors Guild strongly urges Bloomberg Press authors to not sign this letter without careful consideration. If you have received this letter, consult your agent or a publishing attorney or contact a lawyer in our legal department so you understand precisely how this amendment would affect your rights and royalties. Important: if you have already signed the letter and returned it to Wiley, contact our legal department immediately. Non-Guild members are welcome to contact us as well. All communications will, of course, be held in confidence."
Read the full text of Authors Guild notice
Read the Wiley letter (PDF)

Wiley responded, and the Guild's responded to that response in Turow to Wiley: "Knock it off and do the right thing."


  1. June 14, 2010 10:24 AM EDT
    One in Five Bloomberg Authors Received Royalties Based on Retail List Price, Says Wiley. Wiley's press release follows the AG response to it, which does the math, and makes the point an author should pay attention to with any publisher: "Bloomberg had no print on demand program. Authors would reasonably expect that if their books didn't sell enough to justify replenishing stock with a traditional print run, then the rights in the books would be revertible. Wiley's letter seeks not only to allow it to use print-on-demand technology to keep a work in print without negotiating a minimum sales threshold for a work to be deemed in print (as all literary agents and knowledgeable authors insist on), but it also seeks to do this at a royalty rate of 5% of net, the lowest such rate we've ever seen."
    - pm
  2. June 16, 2010 10:30 AM EDT
    - PM
  3. March 8, 2018 3:31 PM EST
    Claiming the Royalties You Deserve (Juli Saitz, Authors Guild, 2-28-18) "The imbalance in power between author and publisher often begins with the complexities of the publishing agreement. Unless an attorney is involved in that process, authors tend to accept the terms set forth in the publishing agreement as standard, without questioning specific terms."
    - PM