Monday, 2 January 2017

The Great All Romance Ebook Heist


The Hope House stories are currently unavailable to buy in serial form. They were distributed almost exclusively via All Romance Ebooks. As of 31/12/16 the All Romance Ebook store is no more. The site closed. It’s owner, Lori James, has left authors, publishers and customers in the lurch. She is refusing to pay out thousands of dollars in owed commission for the last quarter of 2016. She has also refused to allow authors and publishers to pull their files from the site and did not give customers time to download their purchased ebooks or spend their credits. Who knows what she intends to do with the IP that does not belong to her. She’s a thoroughly dishonest woman. I hope the law brings her to account, but I won’t hold my breath.

I’m sad and disheartened by the loss of yet another outlet for indie authors, and under another ugly cloud of deceit and theft. Lori James isn’t the first to betray the trust placed in her. It makes me wonder about my future as an indie writer. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find places to sell my work. Not everyone likes buying from Smashwords, which leaves Amazon, not my favourite outlet to be honest. Amazon claims to champion indie authors, but in the end I think it will prove to be the enemy of independent authors such as myself. It wants us to virtually give our work away and seems intent on inventing ways to pay less and less commission. I’m a bit tired of being forced to offer my work for a pittance and also tired of the way Amazon allows customers to read and return ebooks for a full refund, thus leaving authors out of pocket.

The indie self-publishing revolution brought enormous diversity to the book market making available an incredible range of genres, including GLBT fiction among others. Where will all the gay lovers, vampires and shape shifters go now? What will happen to romance kinkster fiction? I fear that soon we will be in a situation where once again we can only read what the ‘big publishers’ want us to read, and that’s sad.

People like Lori James seemed to offer indie authors and publishers a wonderful platform to get our work out there and selling. The reality is very different. She, and others before her, simply saw an opportunity to fleece the writers who placed trust in them. At the moment it looks like Smashwords owner, Mark Coker, is the only one still flying a flag of honour for independent writers.

I think 2017 will see many independent writers question whether it is worth carrying on writing. I think a lot will decide to give up.

For those interested in the ARe scandal you can read more here:

No comments: