Publishing FAQs: Royalties Payments

Every year in April and May there is a flurry of activity in the office as royalty processing season rolls around. It’s a very busy time for Tommi, as he makes at least 500 individual payments to authors and editors. In this post he answers some of the most common questions he’s asked regarding royalty payments.

How often will I get royalty statements?

Tommi hard at work making royalty payments

Royalty statements are sent out once a year, and are calculated on sales to March 31st. Statements are usually sent at the beginning of May, once we have collated all the sales information.

How often will I receive royalty payments?

Royalty payments are made once per year. We start to make payments as soon as royalty statements have been sent, but with hundreds of authors to pay it takes us some time to work through all of these. We aim to have all payments made by the end of July, but this is not always possible.

What methods of payment are there?

We can pay by either bank transfer, PayPal or cheque. Bank transfer is the easiest for all concerned, although in some countries this can be expensive. We can normally arrange to make payment in your local currency – please contact Tommi if you would like to discuss this.

What information do I need to provide for a bank transfer royalty payment?

The information needed for bank transfers varies from country to country. If your bank is in the UK, we simply need your sort code and account number. For European bank accounts, the IBAN number. In most other countries, if you give us your account number, sort code (or routing code), BIC/SWIFT code where possible, and the name and branch address of your bank, we should have enough information to pay you. If in any doubt at all, contact Tommi.

I have received a cheque in pounds sterling, but my bank says they cannot cash it or it is very expensive to cash. What can I do about this?

We prefer to make payment by bank transfer, and will only pay by cheque in the event that you have either chosen to be paid by cheque, or you have not informed us of your payment preferences. If the amount is too small to cash, we can set your account to only pay once it accrues over a set amount. If you would prefer to be paid by bank transfer, please send us your bank details (see above). We will cancel the cheque that you have received and make a replacement payment by transfer. We do not like to have outstanding cheques on our account, so please do not simply throw the cheque away or ignore it. Instead, please contact Tommi to discuss your options.

Why didn’t I receive a royalty payment this year?

If you received a royalty statement, but have not received a payment, please check the following:

  1. Is there a minimum payment on your account? This would be detailed on your summary statement as “minimum payment £XX”. We do not pay very small amounts, as bank fees and administration costs would be more than the payment is worth. On older contracts the minimum payment would be set at £25, but with newer contracts it is likely £50 or even £100. We can set this as high as you like, so if bank charges are particularly high in your country, please contact Tommi to discuss this.
  2. Is the address correct on your royalty statement? If we do not have your correct address it is possible that your payment has been sent to an old address. Please make sure you update your contact details whenever these change.
  3. Have you changed bank accounts since your last royalty payment? Please make sure you update us whenever you change bank accounts, so that we do not pay the wrong account. If our bank informs us that your account has closed, we will attempt to contact you, but with hundreds of authors to pay, this may take us a long time!
  4. Have we mailed your office address? If we have sent a cheque to your office, it is possible that it has either got lost in the university internal mail, or if you work from home when students are off campus, you might find the cheque in your in-tray/pigeon hole when you return for the new semester.

If none of these answers fits, please contact Tommi and we can tell you whether or not we have made payment, and if so, what method we used.

Can my royalties be paid to someone else/a charity?

Yes. You can assign your royalties to another person or, should you wish to, you can assign your royalties to a charity. All you need to do is inform us who to pay, and how best to pay them. Our preferred method is payment by bank transfer.

What happens to my royalties if I die?

We normally pay your estate, if we are given details of how to do so. If we do not have any contact details and do not know how to pay your estate, we will set your account to accrue any unpaid royalties until such a time as we are contacted. Should you wish to plan ahead and assign your royalties to a charity in the event of your death, please contact Tommi and we will make a note on your account.

Tommi

 

Small Yet International: Our Books Travel the World

We describe ourselves as a small, international, independent academic publisher. Being small, it may seem like also being international would be very difficult. In fact, for us that’s certainly not the case. As you can read in previous blog posts, our authors come from right around the world. In fact since that post was written in 2011 the list of countries our authors come from has continued to grow and in this year alone we have published books based on research in countries and regions as diverse as the Arctic, Bosnia and China (and could probably make a good stab at completing the rest of the alphabet too!).

We travel a lot and ensure that our books are seen by people all over the world. Our conference and travel schedules are always packed and we make an effort to attend not only big conferences but also smaller, local ones where we can. We do our best to make our books both accessible and affordable to anyone interested in them and this is reflected in our sales figures. We thought it might be interesting to share information about the international reach of our print books with our blog readers.

Last year, our books made it straight from our warehouse to 74 countries of the world, and possibly even more as we cannot trace what happens to books which go through our two biggest UK customers, the wholesalers Gardners and Bertrams. Because of the size of these wholesalers the top 10 countries list is a little skewed as we know that, while the UK is at the top, this is not because our books are being picked up by many readers in Britain but rather, they are being sold on to bookshops around the globe. The same goes for our North American sales, but to a slightly lesser extent. With that in mind, this chart shows the top ten countries, in terms of the number of individual books bought from us over the past 12 months.

Top 10 countries (units sold)
Top 10 countries (units sold)

In part this list reflects the hard work of our reps who promote our titles to their local customers. We have reps working in our bigger markets, such as China and Japan, as well as covering smaller nations such as those of the Caribbean. We meet with our reps at least annually at the Frankfurt Book Fair and make occasional visits to see them in their territories. You can read more about the work of our reps in a post written by Andrew White who represents us in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

For customers for whom a print book is too expensive or difficult to obtain, we ensure that the option of purchasing an ebook is a possibility. All our new titles are published simultaneously as consumer ebooks and always at a much lower price. We have put a big effort into making our back catalogue also available as ebooks and are always happy to take requests if there is something that a reader wants that isn’t yet online – just send us an email and we’ll do our best to arrange it.

Laura

The Life of a Book – Post-production!

Laura showing off some newly arrived books
Laura showing off some newly arrived books

Arguably the most exciting days in our office are the days when new books arrive. We love receiving such packages from the printer and having the final product in our hands, and we’re sure that our authors feel a sense of joy and achievement on receiving their copies. To some, this is seen as the end of a journey – the editorial and production work has been successfully completed and the job of publishing the work is done. But as a publisher, we’d be pretty useless if we saw this as the time to stop working with a book. In fact, for us in the marketing department, this is our moment to shine!

Elinor and I will have been busy in the run-up to publication setting things up ready for the book’s publication. This means that we will already have let all our distributors, wholesalers and sales reps know that the book is on its way; we will have ensured that the book has a complete listing on our website; and we will have provided the author with marketing materials, such as information sheets and discount flyers for them to give to any interested potential readers.

The ground has then been properly laid for us to start the immediate marketing of a book on publication. We announce that the work has been published to as many people as possible. We inform all industry members, such as wholesalers and sales reps, that the work is now available for their customers and try and reach as many customers as possible directly. This might be done by posting on listservs, such as Linguist List (Multilingual Matters titles) and Trinet (Channel View Publications titles), sending a newsletter to our email subscribers, sharing the news with our Facebook and Twitter followers and informing journal book reviews editors and authors of related blogs, for example.

All our new books are available simultaneously as print and ebooks, so there is also work to be done to get news of the ebook out. Sarah, our production manager, ensures that the book is available to purchase on a variety of platforms, and we ensure that it is also available on our own website. At this stage we also start to send out inspection/desk copies to those who have requested one from our website and we give the option of an ebook rather than a print copy. This means that course leaders get the text immediately and can start considering it for adoption on a course much quicker than the traditional way.

Anna and Tommi promoting our books at AAAL earlier this year
Anna and Tommi promoting our books at the AAAL conference earlier this year

Once the initial marketing has been completed and the buzz may have quietened down, we continue to publicise the work through other avenues. Common ways of doing so are through our catalogue mailings, and additional flyers and materials we produce for our sales reps, series editors and authors to distribute. We also attend many conferences throughout the year and always have lots of our recent and relevant titles with us on display. On occasions when we can’t attend an event in person we frequently send display copies and discount order forms to continue to make potential readers aware of our books.

When a book reaches 6 months old we review its progress at an editorial meeting. We look at the sales figures and discuss how its early sales are looking. This is a useful stage to review a title as it is still young enough to be of interest to booksellers and so we give a title a marketing boost if we feel that we may have missed an opportunity. This is the time when we start to see the very first reviews of a book appear in journals and these continue to appear over the course of the next few years.

On a book’s first birthday we again review its progress and might even start to think about reprinting copies of the work if it has been particularly successful. We monitor our stock levels each month so we try and ensure that we are on top of demand and that a book is always available, but occasionally we’ll receive an unexpected order, perhaps if it is suddenly adopted for a course and we receive a bulk order from a university bookshop preparing for the start of a semester.

Chinese translations of several books from our Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series
Chinese translations of several books from our Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series

We continue to monitor sales annually and promote the book when appropriate for as long as there is demand for it – often for many years after publication. Occasionally a book will receive additional attention, such as from a foreign publisher wishing to buy the rights to translate it into a foreign language. This is a really exciting time and such news is always greeted enthusiastically both in our office and by an author who is usually chuffed to hear that their work is to be translated and published for a new audience. We have recently sold our books for publication into languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, Arabic, Korean, Macedonian and Greek. Of course at this point, the book gets a second lease of life and it’s down to the foreign publisher to repeat the life cycle of a book as outlined in this post!

Laura

Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

Sarah, Laura and Tommi on the ferry to the Netherlands
Sarah, Laura and Tommi on the ferry to the Netherlands

For many people in the book trade, October is almost synonymous with the Frankfurt Book Fair and it is no different for Channel View/Multilingual Matters.  For us, the only change this year was that Tommi, Sarah and I decided that we would drive to the fair as we wanted to see some of Europe, rather than fly straight to Germany as usual.  On our way to Germany we visited the site of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium and had lunch in Luxembourg City before finally arriving in Boppard, a small town approximately 75 miles west of Frankfurt where we stayed a couple of nights.

The view towards the Moselle from our hike
The view towards the Moselle from our hike

We spent a day hiking in the hills between the Moselle and Rhine Valleys which was beautiful, especially as the trees were just beginning to change colour.  We walked about 12 miles and although Tommi had sensibly chosen paths that were mainly downhill (!) Sarah and I were still extremely tired afterwards – perhaps not the best preparation for a busy week of work!  It took a traditional German dinner, good night’s sleep and excellent breakfast before we’d recovered enough to drive across to Frankfurt where we met Elinor ready for the start of the book fair.

Laura, Elinor and Sarah having lunch at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Laura, Elinor and Sarah having lunch at the Frankfurt Book Fair

The fair provides us with an annual opportunity to meet and discuss business with others working in the industry.  Tommi and Elinor meet with our sales reps who sell our books in less directly accessible markets, such as India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia and distributors and wholesalers who make sure that our books get to our customers, and that our customers know of our books.  Sarah meets with those involved in the production side of the industry, such as printers and typesetters, as well as an increasing number of people working on digital projects who she may collaborate with on ebooks and related matter.  Finally, I meet with representatives from foreign publishing houses who are interested in buying the translation rights to our titles for publication in languages other than English.

In between meetings we nibbled our usual selection of German snacks (we’re big fans of Rittersport and Gummi bears) and made the most of the sausages and schnitzel available for lunch!  We spent the evenings sampling yet more traditional German food and we enjoyed the annual drinks reception held by the Independent Publishers Guild, which we are members of.  As ever, we made the most of the opportunities that the fair offers us to meet colleagues from around the world; talk about what’s happening in the industry and discuss future projects and partnerships.  We have all made it safely back to the office and it won’t be long before it’s time to think about next year’s trip!

Laura

Why aren’t ebooks free?

Kobo, ebooks.com, amazon kindle, google books, nook, ebooks, ingram, myilibrary, academic pub, dawson, ebook library, ebrary
Our ebook vendors

Since we started publishing ebooks for library platforms back in 1999, we’ve often pondered on what the correct pricing for ebooks should be. In 2011 we started publishing each new book, and a large number of backlist titles, on all major consumer ebook platforms (like Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Google Play, Kobo, Nook, Ebooks.com and many independent ebooksellers) and the question of pricing has come up again. We are often asked “why aren’t your ebooks free, or extremely cheap, given that they cost nothing to produce?”  and so, in this post, I’ll outline why we price them like we do.

While we don’t have print, warehousing or shipping costs for ebook sales, these are only a small number of the total costs in book publishing. The majority of the costs in producing an academic book come from the huge investment of time and resources that the publisher, the author, and the academic series editors have put into a book. For example, this month we proudly published “Language Planning and Policy in Native America”, a book which we first started discussing with the author over 12 years ago. During that time, the manuscript has undergone several reviews, and many revisions, with the knowledge that we would not start to receive any income until the book was finally published. As a responsible academic publisher we are committed to not publishing books until they are fully and rigorously reviewed and revised so that they are not only factually accurate but as easy to read and as well-structured as possible to enable the reader to get the most out of the book. Anybody that has ever read an unedited self-published volume will be able to tell the difference that an experienced and careful review and editing process brings to a book project.

Sarah, our production manager, checking proofs in the office
Sarah, our production manager, checking proofs in the office

During the development time we still have to pay the office rent and the salaries of those members of staff working on the book. The author and academic series editors are not paid a penny for their work until the book is published and starts to earn royalties. We always pay our authors and editors a percentage of all income earned by the book, whether we as a publisher have covered our costs or not, and these are the cheques that we have the most pleasure in sending out. If we are sending our authors a large royalty cheque, it means a job well done.

Once a book goes into production, we work with our copy-editors and typesetters to ensure that typographical errors are corrected and that the files are laid out in a way that makes the book readable on the variety of different devices and systems that our customers use to access our ebooks. We continue to research developments in the ebook publishing arena, and make sure that our company is ready to respond to new developments as and when a reliable industry wide solution is made available. We pride ourselves in being among the early adopters of most new publishing strategies.

Govinda, our Indian Rep, at the World Book Fair in New Delhi
Govinda, our Indian Rep, at the World Book Fair in New Delhi

The cost to the publisher doesn’t stop on publication. We support all of our books with marketing mailings, email announcements, displays at conferences, review copies and so on. Furthermore, we regularly visit our international library bookselling partners and meet with our international reps to make sure that our publication information is available to top research libraries and customers around the world. Although it is easy these days to make a book available on the internet, or in a library database, we believe that each individual title deserves specific publicity to make sure that it is not only available, but also, that the people who would benefit the most from that research are made aware of it. This takes time, expertise, and funding.

What people sometimes don’t realise is that not all of what the customer pays for a book is passed on to the publisher. Therefore, each time we sell an ebook, our bookselling partners take a portion of the income and pay us after taking off the discount that we give them. The work that booksellers and library suppliers do on behalf of their customers does not come for free, and neither should it.

Another cost to the publisher is monitoring file sharing sites and illegal pirate copies of the work, which we do on behalf of our authors to ensure that their work is not read without them receiving reward for their hard work. File-sharing sites might seem idealistic, but the owner and host of that site may well be receiving valuable advertising revenue, driven by the amount of traffic that visits their site. So they are getting paid, while the people who have spent years creating the content are not. As soon as we discover our content on these sites, we write to them requesting that they stop illegally sharing material that belongs to somebody else.

Tommi at the TESOL conference
Tommi at the TESOL conference

As a publisher we believe in supporting the main associations in our fields, whether that is by regular conference attendance by senior staff at the CAUTHE conference, annual top level sponsorship of AAAL, or long term grant projects like the Multilingual Matters-AILA Library Award and Multilingual Matters-AILA Solidarity Award. We strongly believe in contributing towards the future development of the fields in which we work, and although we don’t tie the costs of these sponsorships to individual book or ebook publications, this is where the money comes from.

Given all the time, effort and expense that go into running a truly international, responsible academic publishing company, surely the real question is “why should an ebook be free?”

Tommi

Our day out in Oxford

Blackwell'sLast week, Tommi, Ellie and I travelled up to Blackwell’s headquarters in Oxford.  We started the day with a visit to the library services offices and a tour of their warehouse and then we spent the afternoon visiting Blackwell’s flagship shop in Oxford city centre.

Those of you who regularly read our blog may have read my post about Tommi and my trip to YBP last spring (you can read it here if you missed it!).  Like YBP (who supply our North American customers), one of Blackwell’s main jobs is to supply university libraries around the world with the books they want as seamlessly as possible.  First we met with Anne Davies and Sarah Saunders. Anne is our main contact at Blackwell’s and she makes sure that everything is running smoothly between us and them (which thankfully it is!), while Sarah is the buyer for all our titles. Sarah receives title information from us and decides which and how many of our books she thinks libraries will order from Blackwell’s.

Once the books have been ordered and published, they then arrive in their warehouse where Blackwell’s team of 4 profilers are busy at work.  They use exactly the same system as YBP (which I described in the post mentioned earlier) and between the 4 of them they catalogue 20,000 titles a year – that works out at approximately 20 minutes per book.  This demonstrates just how important it is that the blurbs, the contents page and introduction etc set out clearly what the book is about and who might be interested in it, as not long is spent cataloguing each book.  The categorisation of the book by the profilers then determines which libraries automatically purchase the book, and which receive a slip informing them that they might be interested in buying it.

Tommi and Ellie outside Blackwell's bookshop
Tommi and Ellie outside Blackwell’s bookshop

After the introduction to the work of the profilers we then moved into the main warehouse, from which books are shipped all around the world.  One of Blackwell’s main aims is to ensure that the processing of orders is done as quickly as possible and they have several processes which help them to achieve this.  Firstly, the system is fully automated and so books are scanned and checked at many steps along the way.  This minimises errors and means that they know exactly where every book is at any given time.  Last year they processed over 1 million books, and only 13 went missing, which is quite an achievement!  Secondly, they have a good relationship with the bookshop in Oxford, and a van whizzes between the shop and warehouse 4 times a day.  As the bookshop is so well-stocked the likelihood is that either the warehouse or bookshop will have a copy of the books that a library wants, so they can get hold of the book quicker than the warehouse alone would manage.

One of the really interesting areas of the warehouse was the section in which books are packed and processed according to each individual library’s specification.  So, for example, a library might ask for the books to be covered, stamped with their logo, stickered on the spine, or any number of usual or unusual requests be carried out.  The team of workers have a folder in which each university library has given its specifications and they must ensure that all books are adapted to the precise requirements demanded by the university, as once the books are stamped they are, of course, only suitable for that one library.

Bilingualism and Language Education books - how many Multilingual Matters books can you spot?
Bilingualism and Language Teaching books – how many Multilingual Matters books can you spot?

Once we’d finished our tour and enjoyed lunch at Blackwell’s canteen we headed into Oxford city centre to the bookshop.  Blackwell’s boasts one of the largest collections of books available for purchase in the UK and so the bookshop is quite impressive, and is one of a very few shops where you can walk in and find many of our titles on the shelves.  Here’s a photo of the bilingualism and language teaching section, I wonder how many of our books you can spot (there are quite a few!).

We met with the buyers of the linguistics and tourism departments and discussed how they choose which of our titles to stock and how best to send them information about our forthcoming titles.  It was lovely to see the wide array of titles on their shelves and it was really quite difficult to tear ourselves away!

As you’ll gather from the length of this post, we really enjoyed our day and found many aspects of the way in which Blackwell’s work fascinating.

Laura

Our visit to Gardners Books

Last week we drove over to Eastbourne to visit Gardners Books, the country’s leading book wholesaler. Gardners are one of our biggest customers in the UK and we aim to visit twice a year to keep up-to-date on how our books are selling and discuss further marketing opportunities. Every time we go we are interested to look at the bestsellers report to see which of our titles are the most popular.

For the last 12 months our top titles were:

1. Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism  (5th ed.) by Colin Baker

2. A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism (3rd ed.) by Colin Baker

3. Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self edited by Zoltán Dörnyei and Ema Ushioda

4. The Idea of English in Japan by Philip Seargeant

5. Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning edited by Garold Murray, Xuesong Gao and Terry Lamb

6. Cultural Heritage and Tourism by Dallen J. Timothy

7. L2 Interactional Competence and Development edited by Joan Kelly Hall, John Hellermann and Simona Pekarek Doehler

8. The Darker Side of Travel edited by Richard Sharpley and Philip Stone

9. Measuring Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition by James Milton

10. Literary Translation by Clifford Landers

While in Eastbourne we managed to fit in a little expedition to the seafront and spotted a very familiar street name which we just had to take a photo of!

A peek into the world of the Channel View sales department

Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at the different departments within Channel View Publications and what the responsibilities of each department entail. To start us off, Tommi tells us what he does as sales director.

The job of the sales department in a publishing house is to ensure that the books have a clear route to market. That means that we listen to our customers and find out how they are most likely to order our books. We negotiate with large wholesalers, library suppliers, bookshop chains and individual bookshops, to make certain that our books are available to our customers wherever they choose to buy them.

Sales director briefing the editorial team

We monitor sales on a daily basis, and we pass on sales information to the editorial and marketing departments, so that we can be better informed about the success of our marketing campaigns, or we can plan what types of books we should be looking to commission in the future.

We employ a team of specialist sales representatives in countries like Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea and the Philippines, to ensure that there is always someone local who can help our customers order our titles efficiently.

We regularly meet with the buyers from bookstores around the world, either at the Frankfurt Book Fair, or by making sales trips to the head offices of these stores where we make sure that the buyers are aware of all of our titles. As a specialist publisher, we are able to take all our new books to be displayed at the Frankfurt Book Fair every year rather than just a small selection of our list. We are proud of EVERY book we publish, or we would not publish it.

We work closely with our two main distributors, UTP Distribution for USA and Canada, and Marston Book Services for all other countries, to ensure that the supply chain is smooth and efficient.

Tommi visiting Chinese book importers with fellow publisher Seline Benjamins

One of the most exciting responsibilities of the sales department in a modern publishing house is to keep abreast of the latest technologies for delivery of book content. Working with our dedicated production department we are always looking to make sure that our books are available in the most popular formats that our customers ask for.

Since 1999 we have been making our books available to libraries as ebook publications, and we have watched this market grow from its infancy into the vibrant market it is now. We are rapidly expanding our ebook outlets, and now offer PDF downloads of many of our newest books from an evergrowing list of outlets including ebooks.com.

This month saw the launch of our first ever Kindle publication, Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert’s Bilingual Siblings, available exclusively from Amazon.

In the coming months we look forward to expanding our ebook offerings via Amazon, the Apple iBookstore and we expect to be announcing the availability of downloadable ebooks from our own website soon.

The most important part of this job is to listen to what our customers want. Whether you are an individual customer or a representative of the booktrade, we are always happy to hear from you. If you have any problems ordering our books, if you have an opinion on the price, or would like us to be delivering a different type of ebook, please do contact me. I cannot promise that we’ll be able to do exactly as you wish, but we will always try to take your wishes into account.

Tommi Grover
tommi@channelviewpublications.com