Why My First Book Will Soon Be Hard to Find

I've kept some news under wraps for awhile. 

It concerns my first book, Service Failure. I didn't want to distract from the launch of my latest book, The Service Culture Handbook, so I've kept it quiet for a bit.

Now I'm ready to share.

Service Failure has gone out of print and I've reacquired the rights from the publisher, AMACOM. Frankly, I'm ecstatic! 

Here's what it means, why I'm so happy, and how this might benefit you.


What It Means

Out of print means that the publisher won't be printing any more copies of the book. AMACOM has also taken down the e-book from websites like Amazon's Kindle Store.

This means the only copies still available are new paperback copies that are still in inventory at retailers like Amazon plus used copies that are sold through various channels. You can also get the book on Audible.

Reacquiring the rights means I now own the rights to publish the book.

People don't realize this, but when you get a book deal like I did with a publisher, you sign over the rights to publish the book. This is the publisher's way of protecting their investment so you don't try to publish the same book somewhere else and introduce a competing product. In return, the publisher helps turn the manuscript into a finished product, secures distribution, and pays the author a royalty on sales.

Now that I own the rights, I can republish the book.


Why I'm Happy

AMACOM knowingly allowed Service Failure to become an interactive experience. 

The book was set to be released in November, 2012. Six weeks earlier, I received my advance shipment of author's copies and discovered a binding problem that caused the pages to fall out. 

AMACOM had the printer fix the issue and reprint the book, but the horse was already out of the barn. It had already shipped copies of the defective books to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Even worse, AMACOM refused to make any effort to get the defective books back and replace them. The official explanation was it was cost-prohibitive.

This put me in a difficult position.

My name was on the book. It was my reputation on the line. And, because AMACOM owned the publishing rights, there was very little I could do about it.

Fast forward to 2016, four years after the book was published, and Amazon was still fulfilling orders with defective books. In fact, the defect rate was increasing to as high as 50 percent!

I finally had the leverage I needed to take action. After a brief negotiation through my agent, AMACOM agreed to give back the book rights.


How This Can Benefit You

Now that the book is mine again, I get a do-over.

That means I can republish the book with some new research and updated examples. If you own a copy of Service Failure, I'm going to get you a copy of the new book when if and when it comes out. (Details to be worked out...)

I can also give the book a new title.

Service Failure has a negative connotation. It might appeal to an individual buyer, but it's not the kind of book you buy and hand out to your management team because that would send a poor message. That clearly hurt sales.

A new title will make the book much easier to share.

So I have a question for you now. The original title was: Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It.

What do you think the new title should be?