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Old 11-01-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
atanner
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How do you REALLY know that you are getting paid for every book you sold?

I would like to know if there is any way of knowing for sure that we are getting paid for every book that is actually sold...or is this all just blind faith?

Is there any type of regulation on these sites (Amazon, Lulu, etc.)...? Can they actually do whatever they want and none would be the wiser?
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:02 AM   #2
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Surprising that in such a vociferous forum like this one, nobody touched this post...

Is it that bad??
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
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Surprising that in such a vociferous forum like this one, nobody touched this post...

Is it that bad??
I know of no technical means of discovering it. There are legal protections because you enter into a contract with the store, but for the average Joe, that is essentially a non-protection.

From the store's point of view, it is in their best interest to always report the truth, because if they get caught misrepresenting sales it would very likely have a very significant negative impact on their ability to get merchandise to sell.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:47 AM   #4
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Publishers in general have a reputation for misreporting book sales, and there have been reports, based on indirect evidence, of grossly misreported ebook sales at some traditional publishers (for example The Business Rusch: Royalty Statements). They can do this because they have an exclusive contract with the author, and so have an incentive to be lax (at best). They are also 19th century businesses in the 21st century, and they can't easily get from where they are to modern accounting practices. There is typically a mechanism for auditing, but it is rarely invoked and probably useless.

Your contract with sites like Amazon are generally non-exclusive, or at least can be withdrawn from at will. This means that they have an incentive to accurately report sales. If they ever got a reputation for misreporting sales, they would loose authors and their ebook titles in droves. Like a lot of modern finance, this system works on a assumption of honesty at the institution level and an assumption that your transactions are treated the same way as everyone else's.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Surprising that in such a vociferous forum like this one, nobody touched this post...

Is it that bad??
Because not only is it not possible, it is not even relevant.

ETA: I was reading this after your piracy thread, you don't know if your book has been copied, etc. Certainly Sales Data is relevant, but that's what/why you trust the seller to handle for you unless you are so paranoid that you do it all yourself from your website.

Last edited by kennyc; 11-03-2012 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:02 AM   #6
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VydorScope and wallcraft thanks for your replies. It's a shame there is no more transparency on this...surely the bookstores will NEVER move a finger to change that, but I'm wondering what will happen when Google, Wallmart, BOL, Target, Yahoo/Microsoft get fully on board...surely they will see this as a feature to attract writers....and my oh my would they!!

(Hope they read this)
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
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.Your contract with sites like Amazon are generally non-exclusive, or at least can be withdrawn from at will. This means that they have an incentive to accurately report sales. If they ever got a reputation for misreporting sales, they would loose authors and their ebook titles in droves.
Absolutely. When it comes to self-published writers, Amazon make their money out of very large numbers of authors, not very large sales per book. They're sharp, but not stupid.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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I don't think there ever has been a way to know for sure either way. I remember reading part of Piers Anthony's autobio "Bio of an Ogre" where he talks about having had problems with this very issue with a company which he doesn't name due to legal issues. Basically he needed to know what his income would be for filling out his taxes and they were lax in getting his statement out to him or something and they interpreted his contract with them differently than he did if I remember correctly. He even tried going through (I think) Locus to have his problem arbitrated and that didn't work. At least I think that's how it went. It's been a while since I read the book itself which goes into a lot more detail on the problem.
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