Getting Back the Rights to Your Books

Have you written a book that is now out of print? Would you like to open your book up to a wider audience, without relying on a publisher to do it for you?

Explore new ways to reach readers and scholars and gain added exposure for your work by recovering your rights from your publisher.

When you signed your publishing agreement, you likely transferred some or all of the rights in your work to your publisher. But, your agreement may contain a provision that allows you to take back your rights. This provision is known as a right to reversion.

Rights reversion allows you to make your own decisions about how to make your work available. Once you have regained your rights, you can:

  • Create a digital edition and make it openly available online, where any reader can find and access it
  • Use content from your book in a new work, such as an anthology, digital project, or audiovisual adaptation
  • Create an updated edition
  • Release an ebook edition, perhaps with additional, enriched content

How do you go about getting your rights back (rights reversion)?

At any point you may also contact us (see form below), or Authors Alliance for advice and assistance.

  1. Develop a plan for what you would like to do with your book (see p. 15-21 in the “Understanding Rights Reversion” PDF).
  2. Learn more about getting your rights back:
    1. Read Authors Alliance members’ success stories about authors who successfully regained their copyrights.
    2. Download the Authors Alliance expert guide to the rights reversion process
  3. Evaluate your publishing agreement to:
    1. Determine if you already have the rights or whether you have a right to reversion provision (pages 42-44 in the “Understanding Rights Reversion” PDF).
    2. Discover whether you can regain rights to previously published works with the Authors Alliance online Termination of Transfer tool
  4. Review the Authors Alliance guide to crafting a rights reversion letter to your publisher, and work with your publisher to maintain your rights.
  5. Send Rights Reversion Letter to your publisher
  6. What to do after Reversion: digitize or track down digital versions (read this step-by-step guide).

How can DiSc help you?

  • Consultations with referrals
  • Assistance or guidance on digitization
  • Find an appropriate digital archive such as OpenBU and Internet Archive to:
    • make your books accessible (indexed in Google Scholar)
    • help preserve them for the long-term (with a permanent URL)

Contact Us

    Check as many as are applicable.

Creative Commons License
“Getting Back the Rights to Your Books” by the BU Libraries Digital Scholarship Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.