Just when you thought publishing couldn't get any stranger...
Galleycat (via e Fine Books & Collections blog) today carries the story of Scribners publishing taking a new look at the ARC s(galleys) it sends out to reviewers:
...the parent company Simon & Schuster "reserves the right to cancel the loan and recall possession of the proof at any time."
The assumption being that galleys are "loaned" for promotional purposes.
"Scribner didn't say on the outside of the package—which was left on our doorstep by the delivery company—that accepting the package bound us to these terms. They didn't provide a way for us to return the book at Scribner's expense. In short, they are attempting to saddle us with a book we don't want and are hinting that legal action might follow if we dispose of it or sell it."
As the blog goes on to note, many ARCs tend to be sent to reviewers unsolicited, and that makes them gifts in the eyes of federal law, gifts which the recipient "has the right to retain, use, discard, or dispose of it in any manner he sees fit without any obligation whatsoever to the sender." So let's put it to the lawyers in the readership: Is Scribner's effort to prevent the sale of ARCs on the used-book market by binding recipients to its imposed terms legal?