It’s the kind of skulduggery that, a hundred and fifty years ago, would have ended with somebody getting stabbed during a dinner party. I’m not entirely joking. Writers can get really intense over getting screwed over their publication rights:
On Wednesday, December 28, All Romance eBooks–a romance-specific ebook distributor and publisher that also distributes general fiction and nonfiction through its OmniLit imprint–dropped a bombshell. In mass emails to customers and authors, ARe’s owner, Lori James, revealed that her company was closing, and that in lieu of full payment, authors and publishers would be offered a fraction of what they were owed.
The deadline for customers for spending their credits/downloading purchases, and the one for authors to decide whether or not to agree to get back their publishing rights revert, in lieu of settling outstanding debts? …Tonight, at midnight Eastern Time. As you can imagine, there’s been a steady amount of screaming over this, particularly since apparently ARe is still selling books, but won’t pay any commissions on books bought between this announcement and the store’s closure.
I’ve been waiting to see if there’s another side to this story – there often is – but if there has been one it’s no immediately obvious. ARe is – well, was – one of the big names in romance ebook publishing, so the stink on this is going to linger for a while. Welcome to the wild and woolly world of commercial publishing, folks.