Author Topic: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks  (Read 5722 times)  

Offline WyandVoidbringer

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 06:45:45 AM »
I've met authors who cheerfully sell all rights. They're usually young and think of themselves as fairly desperate while also believing that their creativity and energy will last beyond selling these minor items to others. They never seem to consider that these "minor" pieces might be the best ideas they'll ever have.

I know authors who are old and truly desperate because they sold all their rights when they were young. Now they can't work and have nothing to live on, and a big corporation rakes in millions off their cheaply sold ideas. 

I don't care about making millions. If I could write books and sell them for 30k-50k a pop and then be done with them forever, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 07:02:13 AM »
I don't care about making millions. If I could write books and sell them for 30k-50k a pop and then be done with them forever, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
A lot of people might do that, but keep in mind that in this case the books already have to be proven sellers. The OP isn't looking for something just written because there's no proven track record.

If I were desperate for money, yes, I'd consider a deal like this, but otherwise, no. Although it's true that often a book makes the most money at first release, with indie titles, that isn't always the case. My first book makes more money now in any given month, even without promotion, than it did in the first five months following release. There were plenty of potential readers, but reaching them as a new author who didn't understand promotion was an issue. Similarly, the other books in the series all made more money long-term than they did at first.

It's also important to remember that, as authors become better known, their backlist often picks up sales. How many depends on the size of the fan base, of course, but someone who starts making a living on those writing is probably going to be making more on some of the backlist titles than the person did at first. In truth, it's hard to estimate how much those old assets could be worth in the long term.


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Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 07:13:46 AM »
I agree with others that this antithetical to everything that makes sense to me about indie publishing.

Offline WyandVoidbringer

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2018, 07:15:39 AM »
A lot of people might do that, but keep in mind that in this case the books already have to be proven sellers. The OP isn't looking for something just written because there's no proven track record.

Right, that's why I'd be willing to sell them before they were proven. Let someone else take the risk. Maybe they make millions, maybe they don't.

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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2018, 07:32:36 AM »
I have authored a modest number of books on various topics.  Love the process, but also realize that at the rate I am writing I will probably complete one book per year (like many of you, I have a day job).  I am finding I am pretty good at the promotion side, though, and really enjoy the "business" of books even if my ability to create them is limited at this stage of life.

Then instead of a massive rights grab, why not sell promotion services? There are a lot of authors who simply aren't interested in the marketing side, but want to write. If you are actually skilled at promotion as you profess, there is money to be made helping authors market books WITHOUT the rights grab.

The thing is, when you sell all of the rights to a story...you sell ALL the rights. Now all of the sudden you can't write a sequel to your book because you no longer own those characters. You don't just give up that book. You give up anything that might be derivative from that book later. More importantly, you give up a little of yourself, because your name is on that IP. This isn't like ghostwriting where the author is anonymous. Now all of the sudden the rights owner has his or her hooks into YOUR BRAND.

Imagine your next series takes off and you become a bestseller. Now that person who owns the right to your old book starts marketing the book under your name. There is a lot of damage that can be done to your reputation if your name gets associated with shady practices due to rights you signed away years ago.

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Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2018, 07:39:59 AM »
Personally, I have no problem with ghost-writing (for fair market rates).  Nor do I have any problem with a transfer of license so far as both parties are competent and agree that the price is fair.  That's the nature of commerce.  Both sides just need to go into it with their eyes open, have things looked over by a lawyer, and try to stem any buyer / seller regret after the fact.

That said, I'd be far more likely to accept an offer to create something new from scratch for a project than to hand over something I've already published.  The latter just doesn't strike me as the type of business transaction that would make sense for what I'm doing.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 07:42:16 AM by Rick Gualtieri »


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Offline Decon

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2018, 07:53:57 AM »
This is a step up from someone ghost writing as the books have been tested in the market and would likely cost less than a ghost written book. They will also have the benefit of existing covers - editing, and possibly a print book formatted with a cover thrown in, etc.

I wouldn't call it a rights grab, more of a mutually beneficial transaction. Paying upfront for something that may or may not recoup costs is an equal gamble to the person selling it, if it goes on to be a bestseller, or to the person buying it if it tanks. Ask yourself why Kindle Scout with 279 eBooks has tanked and is going out of business after it paid $1500 upfront for each book, albeit as advance royalties. Obviously that model didn't work, despite having editors picking and choosing what they thought that they could sell. This model allows for 100% royalties to the purchaser, so it has a chance of working, but it is still an unknown business model, without proven success.


The OP could be onto something if you think past your own circumstances and think more in terms of books only currently selling very few to no copies per month. I applaud the OP for coming up with the idea, which could be ideal for some under certain circumstances.

Take someone who is retired or ill, on death's door even. Say their next of kin wouldn't be interested in marketing the relatives catalogue, or that they have other things in mind to do in their retirement.  These books would be lost forever.

I can see the sense of selling the rights forever after and a day in those circumstances, even if it only gives them  $$$ for a bucket list trip to somewhere they always wanted to visit.

I suppose you could be buried with your books, but the income would be no good to you when your bank account would be closed or frozen at death, and regardless, any income would dwindle away to nothing without marketing. It could be that it is not worth a relatives effort in going through all the hoops to transfer the copyright and to continue selling the books. It could be that the author decides that self-publishng isn't for them and they want to try and at least recoup their publishing costs.

These could be books that have garnered good reviews, having professional covers, edited to a good standard, and already formatted. In those circumstances, the books would be at least worth the cost of preperation, but little else if they were not currently selling.

I think there will be a market for such as the OP is seeking.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 11:32:49 AM by Decon »


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Offline Lady Vine

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2018, 08:07:22 AM »
There are people, like me, who have written a handful of books under pennames we'll NEVER use again, in genres we have no desire to ever read or write again. This deal would be for those people.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2018, 08:07:39 AM »
I wouldn't call it a rights grab, more of a mutually beneficial transaction. Paying upfront for something that may or may not recoup costs is an equal gamble to the person selling it, if it goes on to be a bestseller...Take someone who is retired or ill, on death's door even. Say their next of kin wouldn't be interested in marketing the relatives catalogue, or that they have other things in mind to do in their retirement.

I can see the sense of selling the rights forever after and a day in those circumstances, even if it only gives them  $$$ for a bucket list trip to somewhere they always wanted to visit.

Agreed. I think it's important to raise the issues with a transaction like this (losing access to your world or characters because you sold all rights, which has happened to trade pub authors as well, or even losing the right to use your own name if it's not worded properly).

But at the same time I think there are absolutely authors out there who would benefit from a transaction like this and just because someone wouldn't personally do it, doesn't mean it isn't a valid option for others. I have a friend right now who has Stage IV terminal cancer at the age of 45. If that were me, knowing that no one in my family will carry on with my books, I might consider an arrangement like this. Or if I ever decided I was just done with self-publishing it might be a valid exit strategy. Better than just delisting everything and having it disappear forever.


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Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2018, 08:12:52 AM »
There are people, like me, who have written a handful of books under pennames we'll NEVER use again, in genres we have no desire to ever read or write again. This deal would be for those people.

True and, despite the prevailing wisdom of series these days, not everyone writes all of their stories in a giant shared world.  It's possible to write a one-off, trilogy etc in a world you're never planning on visiting again. 


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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2018, 08:41:01 AM »
I'd like to know what the criteria is for the purchase of a book. Is it a proven number of sales, does it have to have been previously trad published, does it have to have a certain number of good reviews etc? Some writers simply can't afford to pay for marketing and therefore have low sales, so would this preclude them from being considered?

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Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2018, 09:49:35 AM »

But at the same time I think there are absolutely authors out there who would benefit from a transaction like this and just because someone wouldn't personally do it, doesn't mean it isn't a valid option for others. I have a friend right now who has Stage IV terminal cancer at the age of 45. If that were me, knowing that no one in my family will carry on with my books, I might consider an arrangement like this. Or if I ever decided I was just done with self-publishing it might be a valid exit strategy. Better than just delisting everything and having it disappear forever.

Sorry to hear about your friend.  I agree, this could be a way for a title to live on with some TLC when otherwise it may be ignored.  The more optimistic scenarios may be in the NF world (I realize this forum is heavy on Fiction writers).  Say someone does 3 books on Yoga, and then realizes that their passion would be opening a yoga studio rather than trying to make a living off of books.  How do you open a yoga studio without capital?  Perhaps selling the books provides the one-time cash you need to get the next chapter off the ground. 

Just want to say I appreciate everyone's perspectives here.  I knew when I posted this there would be a wide range of opinions.  Not for everyone, but a nice fit for certain people.

Offline Alice Ashes

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2018, 12:41:41 PM »
I have authored a modest number of books on various topics.  Love the process, but also realize that at the rate I am writing I will probably complete one book per year (like many of you, I have a day job).  I am finding I am pretty good at the promotion side, though, and really enjoy the "business" of books even if my ability to create them is limited at this stage of life.

Just wanted to put the feelers out there for anyone who may be looking to exit their book (especially KDP).  I would pay you today for the rights to your book ongoing.  Could be a win-win if you enjoy the creative process of writing but are not really into everything that comes after that.  I am independent, individual, and the quality of title would be important to me.  You, of course, would retain full authorship in perpetuity, and the full ability to list the book(s) in your bio and CV.

PM if this is something you think it worth a discussion.  Thanks for all of the great info in this forum.

Hello, I have just sent you a PM and am just bringing this to your attention.

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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2018, 01:09:05 PM »
If I were desperate for money, yes, I'd consider a deal like this, but otherwise, no.

That's exactly why I find this whole practice skeevy. It preys on the desperate and the ignorant, like payday lenders and men who hire prostitutes, giving quick cash for temporary solutions in exchange for something much more valuable which the person would otherwise not be inclined to sell.

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2018, 01:19:39 PM »
That's exactly why I find this whole practice skeevy. It preys on the desperate and the ignorant, like payday lenders and men who hire prostitutes, giving quick cash for temporary solutions in exchange for something much more valuable which the person would otherwise not be inclined to sell.

Should a painter never sell their paintings?  Should they only sell prints of the original?

Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2018, 01:27:22 PM »
That's exactly why I find this whole practice skeevy. It preys on the desperate and the ignorant, like payday lenders and men who hire prostitutes, giving quick cash for temporary solutions in exchange for something much more valuable which the person would otherwise not be inclined to sell.

That's why I put some caveats behind my support, making sure everyone is cool that they're getting a fair deal. 

It's kind of like a family shopping for a home vs. the people behind those "we pay cash for houses!" flyers.  Both will buy your home from you, but the experience definitely won't feel the same.


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2018, 01:34:46 PM »
Should a painter never sell their paintings?  Should they only sell prints of the original?

Painters don't sell the RIGHTS to their paintings. In most cases, even if I buy an original painting, I am not buying the Intellectual property rights. I can't use than painting as cover art or make reproductions and sell prints.

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Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2018, 01:49:31 PM »
Should a painter never sell their paintings?  Should they only sell prints of the original?

You can't possibly be serious with this comparison.

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2018, 04:59:36 PM »
Painters don't sell the RIGHTS to their paintings. In most cases, even if I buy an original painting, I am not buying the Intellectual property rights. I can't use than painting as cover art or make reproductions and sell prints.

Art sales routinely include copyrights. Not in the majority of sales, but often enough so it is far from being a rare occurrence.  As was mentioned early in this thread, it is all about having complete clarity in whatever agreement is in place.

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2018, 05:14:04 PM »
That's exactly why I find this whole practice skeevy. It preys on the desperate and the ignorant, like payday lenders and men who hire prostitutes, giving quick cash for temporary solutions in exchange for something much more valuable which the person would otherwise not be inclined to sell.

In my opinion, it doesn't prey upon the desperate. It offers the desperate another option, notably when options are scarce. Pawn shops often serve the same purpose. Desperate folks tend to have a very high rate of time preference. Although the OP's offer may seem distasteful to some, it can provide a valuable service for others.

As for the ignorant, it's up to each individual to decide how much their work is worth and whether they're willing to sell the rights, taking into account their future prospects and the expediency of payment. Each party is responsible for informing himself prior to engaging in any voluntary transaction.

Ignorant people leave money on the table every single day in every single market on earth.

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Offline Decon

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2018, 05:29:14 PM »
While some people might be desperate, it wouldn't always be the case. It could be a reasoned decision just as I laid out in my earlier post due to retirement , illness, or pending death.

I can think of quite a few reasons to make the decision to stop writing and publishing and in doing so attempt to at least recoup publication costs. One such scenario could be if the income, however small, had to be reported to social security for what was a long term claim of an individual and it could affect such a claim, whereas the income from the sale of copyright could be  below capital requirements to affect the claim. In such a case it could be considered not worth the trouble to continue publishing. Of course, you could always set the books to free in those circumstances so that there was no financial gain.

Another scenario is that writing and publishing could just suck up too much of your time which if the effort was put to another venture, it would be more beneficial and you just want out.


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Offline Crystal_

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2018, 05:42:30 PM »
I think hiring ghost writers is a smarter move.

Very few people are going to sell the rights to a book that's currently selling well. People who are bad at marketing/don't like marketing are the ones who will find this appealing.

A book's sales are not always an accurate reflection of a book's potential sales. They're more a reflection of the book's marketing.

Offline katrina46

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2018, 11:11:15 PM »
I'm sure that an author making $1000 a month on a single title wouldn't be interested in parting with that revenue stream, especially if the contract was longer than two years.
It depends on the writer's situation. I use my royalties to fund my other businesses. If I needed quick cash to invest in something else I'd probably do it rather than to wait for that 1k a month earner to pay out 25k. I'd just say I can always write another book.

Offline Doglover

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #48 on: April 18, 2018, 12:16:32 AM »
Good suggestion, Annie B.  Every situation is very different and warrants an interactive discussion, but I would say it depends on what kind of sales your book is getting.  A hypothetical might be an author who is seeing $1,000 a month from a book.  I might be able to pay $25,000 today for that.  Oversimplified example, but I wanted to give you some answer to your question.
Certainly not worth it. If a book is making $1000 a month on its own, that's enough to pay the rent or mortgage for a lot of people; I certainly wouldn't part with it. However, if you were offering proven marketing services for a royalty cut, that could well be of interest to many authors.

However, this suggestion sounds somewhat familiar; I am sure I've read it recently on a Facebook group. Perhaps that was you?


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Offline Doglover

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #49 on: April 18, 2018, 12:19:10 AM »
VonC might find takers depending on the terms. It's no different than buying an established website on Flippa.

An established website isn't likely to start making millions and bringing fame to its author, is it? There isn't the same intellectual property in a website that there is in a book either. I don't see a resemblance.


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