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Saturday, December 31, 2016

All Romance eBooks is Closing Download Your Library Now!

I'm not sure how many of you have heard, but the vendor All Romance eBooks is closing. The CEO Lori James gave us authors about 4 days' warning to get everything in order and...wait for it...not be paid for the fourth quarter.

Right?!

Well, technically, we'll be paid $.10 on the dollar, if we agree to their terms. I haven't yet. And guess what? I magically have no sales this quarter! I've got 30 sales of my free book listed, though. I don't make a ton of money from ARe, in fact, my self published books probably bring in about $5-$10 a quarter. BUT there are always sales. Now, there are none. I'm hearing from other authors, that in the space of just days, their sales have been dropping. So when I log in, I see a table that shows me which book, how many downloads, etc. People are seeing their books that have already been sold dropping. Shady, shady, shady.

A friend had $59 two days ago. Today it shows $57. It might not be much, but she isn't even getting what she's earned, now it's dropping? That's BS. I'm getting $0 instead of my normal $5-10, or I guess, my $.50 that they want to pay me instead. Thanks a lot. The Ellora's Cave lawsuit of Dear Author really set a crappy precedent for all of us watching. We now know how expensive and time consuming it is to deal with a lawsuit, so it's definitely not worth $70K+ to sue for my $5.

As a reader, how does this affect you? If you have bought any books at ARe ever, you will lose your entire library at midnight tonight. They didn't even tell their readers, or give them any time to download hundreds of books. The site will go dark, the email links will die, and instead of giving everyone a fighting chance by leaving the site up for a few months, the entire place is going dark. I've even heard reports of readers losing books out of their library when they go to download. I repeat, shady.

Writer Beware has a really good summary of the email we were sent, if you want to read the full post.

I'll clip the part that's from the email, because I think it's important you guys see it.

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 exact why of the ARe closing remains a mystery (the emails make generic references to losses and poor financial forecasts, but provide no specifics). As to the what, here's what we know so far.

- The ARe website is going dark at midnight on December 31, 2016. Customers were given just four days to use their credits, download their purchases, and backup their libraries. Authors were given just four days to decide whether to accept ARe's offers of "settlement".

- ARe is offering just 10 cents on the dollar to authors whose books it distributed. Per the email, "We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016."

- ARe is offering no payment at all--zip, zero--to authors whose books it published. In a different email, published authors are offered rights reversion on condition that they consider this "a negotiated settlement of your account to be 'paid in full'.

- In order to receive these settlements, ARe is requiring authors to waive their right to pursue legal redress. They must agree that "no further legal action be taken with regards to the above referenced commissions owed."

- ARe is staying open until December 31, but is offering settlement only on payments received through December 27. Romance Writers of America, in a statement on the closing, calls this four-day no-payment zone "unconscionable."

- ARe is saying nothing--publicly at least--about reimbursing 2017 advertising purchases. Just days before the closure announcement, ARe sent out an email soliciting ad buys. Many authors took advantage, or had already bought ads.

- ARe is doing all of this because, it claims, it wants to avoid filing for bankruptcy. "It is [our] sincere hope that we will be able to settle this account and avoid filing for bankruptcy, which would undoubtedly be a prolonged and costly process." Yes, it would--and it would also make ARe accountable to its creditors.





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