I wrote Morris and the Kingdom of Knoll by T.L. Hill. It was published in 1996 jointly by J. Paul Getty and Children's Library Press. An advance towards royalties in the amount of $10,000 was split 3 ways between myself, artist Jeff Colson, and Children's Library Press. I've received nothing after that. Now, many years later, I noticed it has two ISBN numbers: ISBN 10089236341X and ISBN 139780892363414. Also a different publisher, Oxford University. I wonder if I'm owed additional royalties. I tried looking up how many copies have been sold, but that can't be done. How do I find out if I should have received more money?

  • Heh heh. Harlan Ellison gave a talk at a science fiction convention I was at once. He explained at the end that he was probably going to jail immediately after the talk, because he noticed a guy in the dealer's room selling story collections with one of his stories that he knew for a fact nobody had bought the rights. Turned out Ellison was correct and did indeed get arrested for punching the guy in the face. And the guy was indeed stealing the story.
    – Boba Fit
    Jun 1, 2023 at 13:01
  • 1
    Instead of punching the seller, the author should have carried away the books.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jun 1, 2023 at 15:29
  • @BenVoigt Sorry, I forgot part. The seller was also the publisher. It was a "vanity press" type thing where a guy printed and sold stuff.
    – Boba Fit
    Jun 1, 2023 at 16:37
  • amazon.com/Morris-Kingdom-Knoll-T-Hill/dp/089236341X The OP's book is available on Amazon. But only used.
    – Boba Fit
    Jun 1, 2023 at 16:44

1 Answer 1

  1. You can inquire sales figures of your publisher.

  2. You can sue your publisher and demand an audit.

  3. You can use Nielsen BookScan to get the best possible estimate.

  4. You can calculate your own rough estimate by sales rank in popular online book stores following formulas posted on the internet.

The "new" ISBN is just the new format. ISBN numbers have been converted from a 10 digit to a 13 digit format in 2007. The ISBNs of your book are:

  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 089236341X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0892363414

You can see that the difference lies in the 978 added to the beginning and, therefore, a different check digit at the end (4 vs X).

For some reason your formatting has the 10 and 13 added to the beginning of the ISBNs. They don't belong there.

I don't think that your book has been republished. I assume that the Getty / Children's Library Press imprint has been acquired by Oxford University Press. All books from that imprint are now listed as published by Oxford University Press, and other publications of the J. Paul Getty Museum are as well. Ask Oxford University Press or your original publisher if you want to know what has happened.

Also, look at your contract to understand what happens to your rights when your publisher is sold or dissolved or when the book hasn't been in print for some time. The publishing rights might have fallen back to you and your co-author, and you might be able to resell the rights or republish the book yourself.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.