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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography
Thread started 13 Apr 2017 (Thursday) 21:16
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How much for licensing a photo you've been approached for in a book?

 
heldGaze
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Atlanta, GA
Apr 13, 2017 21:16 |  #1

I received an email by someone asking to use a photo I have posted on one of my websites for use in a book. It's not from my photography website, since obviously that is still under construction as I have been sidetracked by other projects. However, they do want to use one of my photos and emailed to ask permission to use it.

The woman who contacted me is "assisting" someone from a company that publishes books for academia & professional development.

They want to use my photo as a figure in one of the chapters of a third edition of a book. The manuscript has 1,250 pages, estimated print run of 500, and publication date of 10/30/2017. The second edition of the book can currently be bought on Amazon for a price of $80.80 with a list price of $125.95 (probably what students pay in the school book store).

They email made no mention of licensing or an offer to pay. So I am curious what you guys think the best approach is to reply, and how much money I should expect for the usage of my image in such a case? I assume I should be prepared for 2 different numbers, one for licensing the use of the image in the book, and the other for exclusive purchase of rights to the image. The second one would be a much higher number, as the photo is already in use in a blog post of mine. So I don't think that is what they have in mind. But since it is an official publication, they require licensing rights for any image they put into the book. If they want to use my image, they are going to pay me. Sure, yay, I'm flattered that you want to use my image in your book. But that good feeling I have is about as useful to me as it is to them. If they wish to use my image in a book they are selling, then they need to pay for it.

So, estimated print run of 500 copies in a 1,250 page manuscript, but the second edition of the book only has ~700 pages. One image in what I am certain are many images.

So, I assume I reply to the email with something along the lines of:

Thank you very much for your interest in using my photograph in your upcoming publication. Do you already have an estimated licensing price in mind? Normally for such a publication I would expect a usage fee of X. Please let me know if this is within your budget, and whom you would like the licensing agreement assigned to, and I can have that document prepared for you by the end of next week (or Monday, or whatever).


Obviously, if I am the first person to say I number, I am putting an upper limit on what I will be paid. If I make them say a number, they are putting a lower limit on what I will be paid. This is the first time I have been approached out of the blue by someone wanting to use one of my images in a book, so any advice on how to proceed is much appreciated.

Thanks!


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heldGaze
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Apr 13, 2017 21:24 |  #2

Another option is to offer to create a better image of the objects in the photo they wish to use. It is the objects in the photo that they are interested in, and the subject matter context. When I shot the photo, I used a camera phone (Nokia N95). I could offer to recreate the image, with a much better background (more of the items on display behind it), or with a background of their design. I can do so using a far superior camera and create a much better image file suitable for print materials.


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Jethr0
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Apr 13, 2017 21:34 |  #3

If there was no mention of a fee I would assume they are only looking for permission and have no expectation to pay. If you're unwilling to give away the photo decline permission.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 13, 2017 21:39 |  #4

So if they have one figure per page, and they license each for 100 bucks. That's 12,500 bucks they have in images. They claim to be doing a 500 piece press run, sounds fishy.

So at that rate, every book they sell has 25 bucks worth of licensing fees.

IMO, you are already eating into your profits by thinking about this. No way they want you to recreate the image highly unlikely they will print it at more than a few inches in either direction, plenty of pixels in a phone.

Tell them 50 bucks for one press run and enjoy a nice dinner with the money, IF they decide to use your pic and then actually pay you.

Yes, I'm jaded.

Cheers


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 13, 2017 21:40 |  #5

Jethr0 wrote in post #18327384 (external link)
If there was no mention of a fee I would assume they are only looking for permission and have no expectation to pay. If you're unwilling to give away the photo decline permission.

Much simpler answer.


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OhLook
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Apr 13, 2017 22:00 |  #6

heldGaze wrote in post #18327374 (external link)
So . . . a 1,250 page manuscript, but the second edition of the book only has ~700 pages.

That ratio is about right. Other things being equal, manuscript pages have fewer words than book pages. When done the old-fashioned way, on paper, they're double-spaced. I don't know why your correspondent would tell you the length of the manuscript; it seems irrelevant.

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18327388 (external link)
So if they have one figure per page, and they license each for 100 bucks. That's 12,500 bucks they have in images. They claim to be doing a 500 piece press run, sounds fishy.

Probably not a figure on every page. A press run of 500 is small but not unheard of. It depends on the market. I once heard a copy editor say she was working on a book written for lemon growers. Fifty copies would be printed. That's how many lemon growers there were in California.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Apr 13, 2017 23:08 |  #7

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18327388 (external link)
They claim to be doing a 500 piece press run, sounds fishy.

I don't understand why this sounds fishy to you.

.

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18327388 (external link)
No way they want you to recreate the image highly unlikely they will print it at more than a few inches in either direction, plenty of pixels in a phone.

Tell them 50 bucks for one press run and enjoy a nice dinner with the money.

That sounds like good advice. I doubt there is any chance that they will pay more than $50. And I even doubt that they will pay that much - that sounds rather high for the run they are doing. But it's worth a try. Be prepared for them to offer you $25, and to be unwilling to pay any more than that, no matter what. If I were in their shoes, there is no way I would pay any more than $25 for any photo.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

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texkam
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By The Lake in Big D
Apr 14, 2017 00:12 |  #8

Something like this perhaps ...... Get to the point, sound professional and knowledgeable, and try to move the process forward.

Thank you very much for your interest in using my photograph in your upcoming publication. My fee for the usage you requested would be $100.00. Upon acceptance of the contract, you may put me in touch with the production contact so I may deliver with appropriate specs.




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Dan ­ Marchant
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Apr 14, 2017 04:18 |  #9

texkam wrote in post #18327493 (external link)
Thank you very much for your interest in using my photograph in your upcoming publication. My fee for the usage you requested would be $100.00. Upon acceptance of the contract, you may put me in touch with the production contact so I may deliver with appropriate specs.

One change I would suggest is that the first sentence reads "Thank you very much for your interest in licensing my photograph for use in your upcoming...."


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texkam
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By The Lake in Big D
Apr 14, 2017 06:15 |  #10

^^ Absolutely. Thank you, Dan.
^ Helpful chart, John.




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Naturalist
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Apr 14, 2017 06:17 |  #11

Honestly I would start with a quote of $75 for one-time reproduction rights + photo credit. You can always negotiate down from there.

NEVER give your images away or ask for photo credit only. They get paid to sell their books and you should be paid for supplying a portion of that content.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 14, 2017 06:31 |  #12

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18327457 (external link)
I don't understand why this sounds fishy to you.
.
.

In my experience, 500 is a break between digital press runs and offset runs. If you need 400 you can run at a good price on digital, if you need 500 you might as well go offset, and if you go offset, higher setup costs mean the difference between 500 and 750 isn't going to amount to much.

I've never printed a 750 page book though. 750 pages would require ~48 16 page signatures, so 48 press set ups and 48 tear downs and clean ups.

I would not be surprised if the agent expects a MINIMUM 500 piece press run.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post has been edited 7 months ago by Tom Reichner.
Apr 14, 2017 09:02 as a reply to Left Handed Brisket's post |  #13

.
Yeah, but if you know the size of your market, then that will determine the number in the run, not thee costs. I suspect that this is being made for a particular college course, where the enrollment is fairly consistent from year to year, and they have a pretty good idea of how many years the book will be required reading (current professor is going to retire in "x" years).

When it comes to a book made for one particular course at one particular college, no run size sounds "fishy", no matter how small.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

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CameraMan
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Apr 14, 2017 09:26 |  #14

It kind of sounds like a deal I had been offered. I forget the name of the book but it was basically a photography book. They liked one of my photos I had on my Flickr page a long time ago. They offered to put it in their book. I eventually didn't give them permission. I found the book on eBay a couple years later that I bought for $4.50. I looked through it and found that each page had 9-12 images on each page. About 350 pages so there weren't least 3,000 photos in this book (probably more like 5,000). I decided I was not going to look through this book of tiny pictures to see if they used my picture. I did notice that they did publish the photographers names underneath each photo.

The deal was if they used my photo I would get a 60% discount on the book which sold for $75. So I could have gotten the book for $30. Sound like a good deal? Yeah, for them since the only people buying the book would be the ones who had photos published in it.

So figure 3,000 people (minimum) buying this book at $30... That's $90,000 on a book that their probably profiting at least $60,000.

I did all of these calculations after I bought the book on eBay. I'm glad I didn't give them permission. Sounds like a good scam to sell books to a select individuals and make a boat load of money.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Apr 14, 2017 09:50 |  #15

CameraMan wrote in post #18327686 (external link)
....The deal was if they used my photo I would get a 60% discount on the book which sold for $75. So I could have gotten the book for $30. Sound like a good deal? Yeah, for them since the only people buying the book would be the ones who had photos published in it.

So figure 3,000 people (minimum) buying this book at $30... That's $90,000 on a book that their probably profiting at least $60,000.

Yes a classic vanity publishing scam. Used to happen a lot with poetry. Company runs ads for poetry submissions and basically includes every poem submitted, with the poet getting a "special price" of copies of the book. Exactly the same as the situation you described.


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How much for licensing a photo you've been approached for in a book?
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