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With the overwhelming success of Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle (the device and the “app”), it is clear that e-books are here to stay. But as the brief controversy last year between Amazon and the Authors Guild about the text-to-speech feature in the Kindle 2 showed, authors and their representatives—agents and lawyers—must be extremely careful about the electronic rights that authors grant to traditional publishers in publishing contracts. Contractual language in contracts from the pre-electronic era no longer suffices. The changes that most publishers made in their “standard form” contracts were, not surprisingly, written with the publishers’ interests more in mind than the authors’ interests.

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