Umm... The main cause the Publishers give more often than not is, the book was not successful to warrant a second run and hence it's out of print or 'it's just old'. I just read this question which claims there may be other motivating factors for a publisher to not print and still try to hold over rights.

Are there any other such factors which Publishers use or could use to not give royalty payments to authors as well as not let public know about authors or their books ?

2 Answers 2


I cannot foresee a legal reason for a publisher to withhold royalty payments contrary to what is stated in the publishing contract.

As for "not let [the] public know about [other] authors or their books" there are times when a publisher will chose to suppress a contracted author's work in order to promote another contracted author (or his work) --usually one that has a good sales record or seen to have a better marketing/sales potential-- that is similar to or might otherwise be negatively impacted if the other author's work were promoted.

  • wish I could part-accept the answer, I'll hold onto the question to see if I can get some more bite.
    – shirish
    Jan 12, 2017 at 8:39

One reason for not paying royalties on the sale of a product might be that the returns policy allows retailers to hold the stock in a warehouse or (worse still) a store, and then just send it back for a full refund.

Certain retailers have been notorious for this in the past, and the publisher may be reluctant to pay out full royalties if they know that 50% of the stock is going to come back and have to be pulped (and incur extra shipping and handling fees). They may hold a "reserve against returns" that reduces to zero when the sales are final.

The alternative is to pay out royalties, and then ask for them back a year later -- rather uncomfortable for everyone concerned.

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