Q – The publisher who published my book has just been acquired by another publisher, so what does that mean for me and my book? Does the contract just automatically transfer to the new company, or do I need to do something? Would it be possible to negotiate a new contract with the new publisher—or is that advisable?
A – Your first response should be to carefully read the contract you have with the original publisher. Many contracts will address this situation specifically. If yours does, then that should be your guide as far as what steps, if any, you need to take. Typically, the contract will say whether either of you can assign the rights to your book to someone else. In some cases, a contract will prohibit against making such an assignment, because they don't want you assigning your contract to your brother-in-law.
In other cases, the contract may state that any such assignment would require the written permission of both parties. If your contract strictly prohibits either of you assigning the rights to anyone else, then your contract becomes null and void, and it would require you negotiating a new contract with the new publisher. Actually, if your contract requires consent from both you and the old publisher, you could actually refuse to give that consent and ask for a new contract instead. I would think that a publisher would let their authors know what they needed to do, if anything, during this transition, but if they don't, let the contract be your guide.