Microstock Too Expensive for Book Publishers

Posted on 1/4/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Microstock sites seem ideal for book publishers -- until one looks closer at the license agreements. Repeat usage prices soar.

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Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 9, 2008
    Serban Enache, CEO of Dreamstime points out that they sell an extended license called I-EL that allows the customer to print up to 2,500,000 copies of any picture they get from Dreamstime. The price for this license is 50 credits (as low as $40 if the customer buys lots of credits). If the publisher exceeds the 2,500,000 it may purchase another I-EL license which allows it to publish another 2,500,000 copies of the image. The Dreamstime license also includes a price-per-copy provision for exceeding the amount authorized by the regular license, but Enache says this is “usually used for small surplus or applying penalties for such surplus.”

    This points up the fact that virtually all of the companies we tend to refer to as “microstock” have different terms and conditions for the licensing and use of their images. Thus, it should be noted that it is difficult to find any term that clearly defines all the players in this space.

    I asked Enache if he could help me define the common characteristics or all "microstock" companies. He responded, “In regards to the term micropayment, we don’t really use it. We consider ourselves stock agencies that are deeply involved into communities and web 2.0. We are working solely with online platforms and add the benefits of a traditional collection with those of a traditional distributor. The name was given for low price. It doesn’t really depict us, especially as the price has significantly grown in the last years (as high as 20 times in some cases). I would say that we are a community-based agency and am certain that my perspective is shared by most of our direct competitors, if not all.”

    Those in the traditional stock world have used the term “microstock” to refer to a number of companies that tend to charge lower license fees than the traditional sellers. However, it seems clear that there is no commonality in the strategies these companies use for licensing images, or the actual prices they charge for various uses.

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