Friday Midday Links: Dorchester reportedly selling books it doesn’t own
Briane Keene wrote a blog post yesterday highlighting some disturbing news about Dorchester. Brian Keene requested that his rights be reverted to him in exchange for a write off of the debt (royalties) that Dorchester owed him.
I negotiated a deal with Dorchester that allowed for: 1. The immediate reversion of all of my print rights, and 2. The reversion of all of my digital rights as of 11:59pm 12/31/10.
This means that only Brian, not Dorchester, would have the right to distribute and sell those books going forward. However, Dorchester appears not to have been abiding by this agreement, but instead putting Keene’s books up for sale on digital retailing sites.
Except that it wasn't, because since then, Dorchester has repeatedly violated that agreement. Since January of this year, unauthorized digital editions of my work have been sold via Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Sony. These digital editions were not made available for sale until well after the rights had reverted back to me. Dorchester's response, in each case, has been to blame someone else and assure me that "they are looking into it" and that I would be "financially compensated" and that "it wouldn't happen again". Except that I haven't been financially compensated and it keeps happening again. In the most recent case (iBooks), Dorchester blamed their vendor, Libre Digital, but provided no documentation verifying this. An employee at Apple cast doubt on this explanation. In the case of Kindle, they blamed Amazon.com. Again, an employee at Amazon cast doubt on this. The ebooks were sold under the Dorchester brand. They were sold even though Dorchester does not have the rights to them. And it is Dorchester, rather than their vendors or booksellers, who are ultimately responsible. I have been patient. I have been understanding. The first time, I allowed that it could indeed be a mistake. Four times later? It is no longer a "mistake". It is theft, or at the very least, staggering incompetence. And as of this writing, I have not seen financial restitution for these unauthorized sales, nor have I received a valid explanation of how they occurred, nor have I heard what steps the company will take to prevent it from happening again.
Brian doesn’t have the means to sue Dorchester for this action and frankly even if he did, I doubt Dorchester would even pay the judgment. Dorchester’s response to Brian has been evasive and then silent. Dorchester’s response to fans has been to disable comments on their facebook page. Brian is calling for a boycott of Dorchester books.
Jessica Verday has a follow up to the debacle with Running Press and the editor of Wicked Pretty Things, Trisha Telep. Even though Running Press invited Verday to resubmit her m/m short for inclusion in the anthology, Verday has declined because she doesn’t feel comfortable supporting any royalties going to Trisha Telep for this project. Telep, if you recall, stated this in response to Verday’s going public about Telep’s request to make the m/m story into a m/f story.
The good news is that Connie Brockway is finally going to be publishing Giles Strand’s romance story. The bad news, for some readers, is that this will be digital only. Brockway announced the news via the All About Romance blog that she was taking the self publishing route. Brockway left the historical field to write a couple of contemporaries and then returned with at least one historical from Signet. The current contractual terms offered made it easy for Brockway to decide to self publish. Hopefully a return to her romance origins will revitalize the career of a favorite of many romance readers.
Paul Biba from Teleread posted his notes from #pubtip (a mini conference) which was really just a conversation between Michael Healy (currently the registrar for the registry created by the now rejected google book settlement) and Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon & Schuster. I thought Reidy’s comments were interesting because she believes that the focus on publishers should be proving themselves to authors, not really developing relationships with consumers.
Biggest challenge is for publishers to prove they have a value to authors, not to become a B to C business. Have always been a B to C business – they always did this but now they are more directly involved.
Other notes include that S&S doesn’t sell to libraries because there they “haven't found a business model that they are happy with” and sales for books are half digital in the early selling periods.