Chapter Six

What about the "legal stuff"? I'm an author, not a lawyer!

We know there is a lot of confusion regarding legal things, ISBN, National Library registration, and so forth. So, we'll try to simplify it.

1. Copyright and Legal Deposit

Copyright, according to Canadian and US law, is automatic for the creator of a literary work (a book, in this case). What this means is that you don't have to apply to receive a copyright for your book. However, you have to be able to prove that you created it. One simple way, which we will take care of for you with the "Deluxe" and "Select" packages, is to send two copies of your book to the National Library for Legal Deposit. Simply put, the law states that you have to do this anyway, and once it is on deposit, the date it was received is recorded and it is preserved for you in a vault. So, your copyright is preserved and you have complied with the law. And, best of all, your book will be in the National Library for everyone to read. Since our main offices are in Canada, we will deposit the books with the National Library of Canada. If you are outside of Canada, you may deposit a book with your own national library, if you so choose.

There's another part to the copyright law that may apply to you. If we ghostwrite a book for you, you will be the copyright holder of record, because you have "created" the book, as well as the author of record.

2. ISBN - What is it, anyway?

The ISBN is the International Standard Book Number. It is a unique number that identifies a specific edition of a specific book produced by a specific publisher. This numbering system was developed because of the many tens of thousands of books that are published every year, and it enables bookstores and libraries to more easily identify and catalogue books.

Just so there is no confusion, it is not a legal requirement to have an ISBN for your book. If, for example, you are publishing a family history or a book that will only be given or sold to your closest friends, there is no need for it. If you want to distribute your book to bookstores, libraries, and over the Internet, however, it is a necessity, so that those who order your book will get the right book.

Once we assign an ISBN number to your book, no other book will ever have that exact number. And, it will identify your book to anyone anywhere in the world. The number even tells who the publisher is, so that someone who wants your book can come to us to order it, even if they only have the number. Is that cool, or what?

3. So, is a Barcode the same as an ISBN?

No. The barcode that we will create for your book allows a bookseller or library to scan a book into their inventory, just like a grocery store does for their products. We use a special type of barcode format, called EAN Bookland, to put the ISBN for your book into barcode format.

We will also prominently display the ISBN number on the cover, and on the copyright page inside, because most smaller bookstores and many libraries don't use the barcode. With or without the barcode, the ISBN is the number that identifies your book.

4. Library Cataloguing and Registration

While it isn't a legal requirement, Cataloguing your book with the National Library allows the Library to assign a complex number to your book that allows it to be more easily identified and found by other libraries and booksellers. Once we have submitted the necessary information to them, the staff at the National Library uses a thick manual to decide what category your book falls into, and they assign a Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal classifications to it. The National Library regularly publishes a catalogue of all new numbers on CD, and now on the Internet, so that libraries and booksellers anywhere in the world will have your book's information available to them.

5. Okay, so what do I need to do?

In order to properly identify you, as the author, and your book, we will need your full name and, if it is different, the name to appear on the cover of your book, your complete date of birth, and your country of citizenship. Since there may be other people in the world with your exact name, this information ensures that you get credit for your book. Of course, if there are co-authors or illustrators for the book, we will need the same information for them.

6. So, what will you do, and how will you use the information I give to you?

We will take care of all the legal and registration requirements, including submitting two copies of your book to the National Library, and make sure that the proper copyright notice is included in your book to protect your legal rights.

We will only use the information you supply us for the stated purpose of registering your book, and for correspondence regarding your book. The information will not be used for any other purpose whatsoever, unless specifically requested by you. This is in compliance with the law in Canada, which requires that a person be notified exactly how personal information will be used when it is requested.

7. What about royalties? What are royalties, anyway?

Royalties are a percentage of the retail price paid to an author when a book is sold. What this means is that we will pay you 60% for every book that we sell for you. We will take care of the printing of the book, the shipping, and collect the money for it. You don't have to do anything.

For example:

Your book is 180 pages in length and has a single copy price of $8.38. The retail price of your book is $20.96 Book Sales

Retail Price of your Book $20.96 discount (25%) $5.24

Net Proceeds from Sale $15.72

Single Copy Price $8.38

Gross Profit $7.34

Royalty You Earn $4.40

Book Store Sales

Retail Price of your Book $20.96

Bookstore discount (40%) $8.38

Net Proceeds from Sale $12.58

Single Copy Price $8.38

Gross Profit $4.20

Royalty You Earn $2.52

We will pay royalties quarterly, five weeks after the end of each calendar quarter in which royalties are due. For Canadian authors, we will pay in Canadian dollars. All other authors will be paid in United States dollars.