From Dean Wesley Smith:
But one thing, traditionally published writers need to pay attention to. It is something I noticed on a recent royalty report. There is an interesting new scam publishers are pulling.
On a previous royalty report, the total numbers of books sold were there, including a few thousand copies held as a reserve against returns. (Book had been in print for a decade, but returns were still being held. And the return amount had remained consistent for years.)
On the next royalty statement for the same book, the ISBN had changed, all previous sales had vanished, and all reserves held had vanished as well. A book that had sold over two hundred thousand copies in its life now showed only a few thousand sold.
A couple thousand books held out of my royalty report had just gone “poof.” If I didn’t watch royalty reports, I would have never noticed.
I just laughed and shook my head. I didn’t care since the book I noticed it on was a long distance from earning out because my advance had been so high, but it dawned on me that with all the redoing covers, electronic book editions and such, and all changing ISBNs, the sudden vanishment of reserves against returns that were being held against a certain ISBN would be a very nice way to make money for a traditional publisher.
And 99.9% of all writers and their idiot agents would never notice.
The scams to screw writers that traditional publishers keep coming up with amaze me.
Link to the rest at Dean Wesley Smith
PG says most traditionally-published authors never imagine that their publishers may be playing games with their royalties.