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Ok, so this may seem like a weird question, but I had a debate with a friends that seems to have no real answer that we can find out easily. 
So, I was wondering it any of you knew: Do/Did Cathy Hapka or Greg Farshtey get royalties (money) from the Bionicle books they wrote? My friend thinks that they sold the book to Lego and Scholastic, which means they got no royalty checks from it. I'm inclined to believe this, but I'm trying to find proof, or something. So does anyone know? 

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I don't know that anyone knows that, it's probably something you'd have to ask Greg yourself (assuming he's comfortable answering).

 

I do recall that in the past Greg voiced frustration with people who don't buy books or who only read them in the store, leading one to conclude that he makes some profit off of book sales, but you're probably better to ask him directly.

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I'd be frustrated with people who only read the books in the store too -- I mean, come on, it's five dollars. They were probably the cheapest items available in the entirety of my local Barnes & Noble

 

(granted, I bought the books more consistently than I bought the sets so idk maybe other people just budgeted differently? still though, it's only five dollars)

 

(or 7 in Canada

 

shamefully, I don't know the prices anywhere else)

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I don't know that anyone knows that, it's probably something you'd have to ask Greg yourself (assuming he's comfortable answering).

 

I do recall that in the past Greg voiced frustration with people who don't buy books or who only read them in the store, leading one to conclude that he makes some profit off of book sales, but you're probably better to ask him directly.

Okay, I asked on the Lego Forum. I'll await a response, and get back to everyone. 

 

I'd imagine that they would get some money for the books? I mean, obviously being paid for the work itself, but it's a tricky area due to the property being Lego's

 

There are multiple ways that the whole publishing thing works. Sometimes you sell your writing to a place for a lump-sum of money, and sometimes they sort of act as your agent, getting a cut of the overall sales while you get some as well. But it being a property of Lego...well, I'm not sure how it all worked out, which is what I am interested in. 

-SK

Edited by SkullKid

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I do recall that in the past Greg voiced frustration with people who don't buy books or who only read them in the store, leading one to conclude that he makes some profit off of book sales, but you're probably better to ask him directly.

*goes to library*

 

*checks out all the Bionicle books*

 

*reads them*

 

(no, seriously, I was poor when I was a kid. Don't judge me. Although technically I ended up buying them all much later, but that's not either here nor there...)

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I do recall that in the past Greg voiced frustration with people who don't buy books or who only read them in the store, leading one to conclude that he makes some profit off of book sales, but you're probably better to ask him directly.

*goes to library*

 

*checks out all the Bionicle books*

 

*reads them*

 

(no, seriously, I was poor when I was a kid. Don't judge me. Although technically I ended up buying them all much later, but that's not either here nor there...)

 

There's nothing shameful about using a library. It's what they're there for.

 

Frankly, there's a much better explanation for why Greg would be upset about people going into stores and not buying the books than assuming he was paid royalties—the books were never particularly profitable and as a result Scholastic was constantly scaling down the series until eventually cancelling it outright. Obviously Greg, as writer of the series, would have an interest in them selling even if he was paid a lump sum for each book, because with fewer books he'd get less money and less opportunity to write a series he loved.

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I don't know for sure, but I bet Greg was paid a flat fee for every book he wrote, since the Bionicle books were technically work-for-hire, as Greg is an employee of LEGO and therefore is not entitled to royalties or anything like that.

 

Of course, I don't know the full innerworkings of Greg's dealing with LEGO, so maybe they had a different arrangement, but that seems unlikely to me.

 

-TNTOS-

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Okay, we have an answer! Straight from the man himself. 

 

prague1 wrote:

Hey Greg,

Ok, so this may seem like a weird question, but I had a debate with a friends that seems to have no real answer that we can find out easily. Also, if you don't feel comfortable sharing this information that is totally cool. 

I was wondering if you got/get royalties from the Bionicle Books that were sold, or if you sold the book to Scholastic and did/do not receive royalties. 

Thanks!

-P1

Hi P1,

No, I did not. The books were strictly "work for hire" -- I was paid a flat fee. Royalties are great, but most publishers I have dealt with don't offer them at all. (I have friends who have written books for big publishers, that sold a LOT more copies than anything I did, and they didn't get royalties either.)

 

So now that the answer is clear, I think it is okay to close this topic.

-SK

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