Is it Hard to Switch Book Publishers?

Deciding to switch publishers can be a tough call for authors to make. You’ve already put in the hard work to get a book deal and get published, so why consider moving to a different publisher? There are a variety of reasons an author may want to make a switch – perhaps you want a publisher with more marketing resources, are unhappy with sales and distribution, or feel like your old publisher wasn’t the right fit. Whichever the reason, you may be wondering – is it hard to switch book publishers?

Switching book publishers isn’t the easiest process, but if you know your rights, read your contract thoroughly, or even consider hiring an attorney, it’s possible to switch publishers and ensure that your author career is uninterrupted. This article will dive into the key questions authors should ask when debating whether to undertake the challenging but sometimes rewarding effort to change publishers for their next book.

In the meantime, it may be worthwhile to consider self-publishing. There are numerous benefits to be had when you go the self-publishing route and Print Bind Ship can help make it possible! We’re a leading book printing company and book fulfillment service helping thousands of authors and publishers throughout North America turn their books into hard copy and get them into the hands of readers. Learn more here!

How to Switch Book Publishers: 4 Steps

It might be tricky to change book publishing companies, but this guide can make it a little easier.

Step 1: Review Your Contract

Before you abruptly cut ties with your publisher, keep in mind that some contracts have early termination clauses, which means you’ll owe the publisher a certain amount of money if you want to end the contract early. 

You’ll also need to review your publisher’s rights over your intellectual property. Do they own your characters or stories? Do they have TV and film rights? Unless you’re the copyright holder for your books, this may prevent you from publishing any of your work for a certain time.

Step 2: Consider Hiring an Attorney

Don’t feel bad if you can’t comprehensively read your contract — the language is rather obtuse by design. You might want a lawyer to translate it for you, explain its implications and advise you on your next steps. You’ll also need their services if you plan on suing your publisher or if they plan on suing you.

Step 3: Research New Publishers 

If you can cut ties with your publisher, it’s important to choose the right one next time. You don’t want to go through all that work just to get caught in a similar situation — or a worse one. Look for a publisher that treats its writers well, offers flexible and negotiable contracts and has a track record of success that indicates future business continuity.

Step 4: Make Your Move

As long as your contract allows it, breaking up with your publisher may be as simple as sending them an email or letter that you want to part ways. You could also have your agent or lawyer do this step for you.

What to Know Before Signing With a Book Publisher: 6 Key Tips

Whether you’re transitioning to a different publisher or you want to make sure you don’t have to switch once you find one, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a profitable and happy relationship with your publisher:

1. Book Rights

Many authors are adamant about not signing away the rights to their books. Some publishers offer enough compensation in royalties and bonuses to make the prospect worthwhile, but it’s better to retain the rights to your intellectual property.

2. Contract Term

A copyright may last the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, but a contract should not. Publishers can go out of business, get bought out or change in ways that make them unpalatable to the author. Review the terms carefully, and make sure they’re favorable to you.

3. Competition Clause

Many authors make an income from sources other than books. Some publishers frown on this and put competition clauses in their contracts. This prevents authors from upselling their books with film adaptations, audiobooks, software and other tie-in products. You can negotiate these clauses before you sign the contract.

4. Break Clause

Once a book goes out of print, there’s no reason for a publisher to retain the rights to it. A break clause ensures your publisher doesn’t leave your book in limbo once they’re not willing to produce new copies.

5. Early Termination Clause

Publishers don’t want to let their profitable talent go, so they may have an early termination clause that disincentivizes authors from trying to leave. This way, if an author wants to leave a publisher, they will have to pay for the right to break away. 

6. Right of First Refusal Clause

Once a publisher identifies a profitable author and begins a working relationship, it doesn’t want the author to suddenly publish a book with another firm. That’s lost profit. Many publishers include a clause that states that the author has to submit new books to it before going to other publishers.

Self-Publishing vs. Working With a Traditional Publisher

Given the potential logistic issues that can arise with traditional publishers — not to mention how difficult it is to change book publisher companies — many authors choose to pursue self-publishing. 

Self-publishing grants more creative control to the author, and it allows them to run their business however they see fit. It also means that a lot of additional work falls on the author, including finding an editor, cover designer and advertising options — all of which a publishing house usually handles.

Self-Publishing Made Easy With Print Bind Ship

One of the biggest reasons authors choose not to self-publish is the issue of fulfillment. No one wants to store hundreds of books in their garage. But Print Bind Ship can offer your customers print-on-demand services, shipping globally within 24 hours of an order.

If you’re ready to cut out the middleman and enter the world of self-publishing, contact Print Bind Ship to get started! We can help with everything from book printing, bookbinding, book fulfillment, and more! With over 60 years of experience, we’re one of the top printing and fulfillment companies in North America – and employ some of the highest-quality printers out there! Learn more here.


Can I change my book publisher?

Yes, but it’s not always an easy process. Some publishing contracts have early termination clauses that charge authors money for leaving. Even then, publishers will still sometimes retain the rights to the author’s works.

Can I republish my book with another publisher?

As long as you own the rights to your book, yes. But if your current publisher owns the rights, you must reacquire them first.

Why do authors switch publishers?

Authors switch publishers for several reasons, including when the author wants to change genre, their current contract is unfavorable, they want to work with a particular team, or they want to make changes to their work that their current publisher does not approve of.

Can you publish different books with different publishers?

You can publish different books with different publishers. An author is not usually exclusive to one publisher and can choose to publish different titles across multiple publishers. However, an author would need to check if there are any exclusivity clauses or restrictions within existing publishing contracts before publishing with other publishers.

Is it difficult to get a book published?

It can be difficult to get a book published if you’re intending to work with a publisher or literary agent. Authors going this route must submit a strong book proposal that meets the publishing criteria. It’s much easier to publish a book when you’re self-publishing – there may also be some additional potential financial benefits of taking this approach. Print Bind Ship can help you turn your manuscript into a physical copy – complete with color, binding, a customized book cover, and more. Plus, we can also take on book fulfillment, making it that much easier to store, organize, and ship your books to customers as orders come through. Learn more here.