January 26, 2011
POD SECRETS REVEALED: Upselling Authors On Inflated Copyright And LCCN Registration Fees
In 2007, I wrote a popular series of articles exposing many tactics being used by some POD publishers. Four years later, it's time for an update.
This week, we're going to talk about Copyright and LCCN registration for your self-published book.
As you've no doubt heard, it is true that you own your work the minute you create it. However, if you ever need to pursue an infringer in court, you must be able to prove you own your work. That's why it's imperative to register your own copyright. It's also a good idea to obtain a Library of Congress Catalog Control Number (LCCN) for your book. The LCCN is a unique identification number the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians often use it to locate a specific book (though they use other resources as well).
COPYRIGHT FEE INFLATION
If you want to register a copyright for your book, you can do so yourself for only $35 (http://www.copyright.gov/forms/), if you choose to register online. Yes, that's right. That's all the government charges. And, you can download the forms instantly at the link above. It really is that simple.
Would it surprise you to know that some POD publishers charge up to seven times that amount to do it for you? Yes, you read that right.
For example, xLibris.com will be happy to register your copyright for you...for a whopping $249! That's more than 7 times the the actual registration fee!
At AuthorHouse, you can get a deal (ahem...) by only paying $170. That's almost five times the actual registration fee. The price difference is even more interesting when you know that both POD publishers are owned by the same company, Author Solutions.
Trafford and iUniverse (both also owned by Author Solutions) also charge $170 to register your copyright.
LCCN - TURNING A FREE GOVERNMENT SERVICE INTO A PROFIT CENTER
The government will be very happy to give you a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) before your book is published, or a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) after your book is published, at no charge! Isn't that nice of them? The LCCN registration page is HERE (http://pcn.loc.gov/pcn006.html).
But, xLibris.com will charge you $99 if you want them to do it.
AuthorHouse will charge you $75.
Trafford will also charge you $75.
iUniverse is also $75.
POD publishers who charge these types of inflated fees may claim it's expensive to send a copy of your book to the government (trust me - they're getting the book cheaper than you do!) and that it takes a long time to complete the forms (it doesn't).
They may also claim you can't register your own book because they are the "publisher." This is not true. If they don't take rights to your book (the outfits above don't), you are your own publisher and you can register for your own copyright and LCCN, even if you're using one of their ISBNs.
Next week, we'll talk about how much some POD publishers are inflating actual shipping charges. Think you know how much you're going to be paying for copies of your own book? Think again! You won't believe it...
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
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