On the face of it, LDS Archive Publishers may not seem of much interest. Because it publishes mainly reprints, its not interested in new works–what LDS authors are usually selling. And because demand for reprints is relatively small, booksellers often aren’t willing to think too much about them. But in fact, publishing reprints is important, because it allows readers access to the basic works that helped create a market for LDS books in the first place. And, LDS Archive Publishers is also interesting for its involvement in a segment of the LDS market most of us never see: the homeschool market.
A recent policy change by Amazon.com looks like it may make the already difficult job of publishing books even more difficult, especially for small and self-publishers. The change already has small publishers and authors circulating petitions, filing complaints with the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and many state attorneys general. For those Mormon publishers affected, it will probably raise costs and could also limit sales.
In my recent post on Motley Vision, I pointed out one of the pitfalls of author contracts — inadequate out-of-print clauses (see Caveat Auctor). In the follow up discussion, I realized that what we need is a comparison of the various boiler plate contracts used by Mormon publishers, especially given common complaints about some publishers.
Such a comparison would help publishers as much as authors. Knowing how their contracts differ from those of other publishers can either spur the publisher to change its contract or help it understand the selling points of its contract. From what I’ve heard and seen of these contracts, there may be as much ignorance on the part of publishers as their is on the part of authors.
So, I’m issuing a call for example contracts from each publisher in the LDS market — provided either by the publishers themselves, or by authors that contracted with each publisher. I believe that by compiling this information both authors and publishers will benefit.