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I recently completed a strategy paper for a market research and publishing firm. They are planning to send me monthly statements associated with the number of copies sold. I don't know if this is strange question to ask, since this is my first time working as an author.

The question is: How do I know if they are reporting the accurate numbers and not under reporting the number of copies sold?

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Depends on your contract and the legal situation in your country.

In Germany the law gives the author the possibility to check the accounting records of the publisher. I spare you the details (I am not a lawyer anyway).

So you do not have to blindly trust them, but which tools are in your hands to check their account books depends on the law of your country (and the terms of your contract).

Read the law, read your contract, ask a lawyer. (In this order.)

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Thanks John! this is a for US. I found out that I have the right to audit the publisher through a lawyer if needed. I am hoping I won't have to do that and the publisher will start giving me official monthly statements, as per my request. – Allen Dec 31 '13 at 13:41

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