The Author's Guild has extended, for another three years, its contract for iUniverse to provide print-on-demand publishing services for Backinprint, a site through which Guild members can sell their previously out-of-print books.

With the new agreement, an author's royalties fall from 25% of net sales (30% after the first 100 copies sold) to 20%. The reduction in royalty rates will allow book prices to be lowered to bring them more in line with market standards. For example, a 350-page trade paperback that would have been priced at $19.95 to $22.95 under the old scale would now list at $15.95 to $17.95. The hope is that authors will now be able to sell more copies per title.

John Merchant, Author's Guild director of Web services, said the old, higher prices were a barrier to people buying midlist novels and other nonessential books. "The idea is the end purchaser of the books will not have any pause that it's a print-on-demand book," said Merchant. The terms of the new agreement will not apply to books already listed on the site, unless authors choose to adopt the new pricing and royalty scale, Merchant said.

In addition to about 1,000 POD titles, also carries about 1,000 books for which the authors are selling their existing stock. The service is free to members of the Guild, which takes a 10% cut on sales made through iUniverse to help offset the costs of the program. Despite the high price tags on the books, Guild executive director Paul Aiken said the program is a success. In the past two years alone, authors have collected more than $200,000 in royalties from books printed by iUniverse. Said Aiken, "The operation is going very smoothly and people love having their books back in print."