skip to Main Content
Adelaide Books: A Watchdog Advisory

Adelaide Books: A Watchdog Advisory

Recently, the Watchdog Desk has received a flurry of complaints and reports about Adelaide Books, a small press located in Flushing, New York, and its owner, Stevan V. Nikolic. The Alliance of Independent Authors Watchdog has written before about the “small publisher death spiral”, and why authors should heed the warning signs of this all-too-common collapse. In this Watchdog’s opinion, Adelaide Books is exhibiting many of those signs, and its authors have cause for concern.

Self-Publishing Services Watchdog

ALLi’s Watchdog, John Doppler

Red Flags at Adelaide Books

The single most vital obligation a publisher has is to provide timely and accurate statements, and to pay those royalties without delay. Authors have consistently complained about late or missing statements from Adelaide, and in several instances, no payment was ever received. Correspondence mailed to Adelaide’s listed address — a rented maildrop in Manhattan — is met with silence. Email replies are often vague deferrals, or an inappropriately defensive response dripping with hostility.

Although the agreement with Adelaide spells out various benefits and services the publisher will provide, nearly all of the complainants stated that some of these services were of unusable quality or were not delivered. None of the authors I spoke with had received the marketing services and materials outlined in their publishing agreement.

And the complaints continue to pile up. Unfulfilled promises. Missed deadlines. Missing statements and unpaid royalties. Unprofessional, evasive, and defensive communication. We’ve seen these complaints all too often: they are the hallmarks of a publisher that’s about to implode.

An Impossible Workload

Mr. Nikolic has stated that Adelaide Books publishes more than 140 titles per year. He also operates a monthly publication, Adelaide Literary Magazine, which authors are encouraged to submit content to without compensation.

For a publisher with a large contingent of employees, this is a daunting number of titles to publish with any measure of professionalism. For a two- or three-person staff, it’s an impossibility. Unsurprisingly, many of the complaints about Adelaide have mentioned its sloppy, slapdash work, especially with regard to numerous editing errors that were not corrected until the authors stepped in to provide their own corrections.

Hidden Fees and Questionable Schemes

Adelaide Books is a hybrid publisher that claims to charge nothing for publication. In reality, it cloaks its fees by requiring that authors purchase a stack of their own books. This requirement, slyly phrased as a “token of support” in emails from the publisher, is undisclosed until authors receive the proposed terms of the contract.

The publisher also charges authors to participate in exhibitions and book signings at book fairs, an “opportunity” which requires the purchase of books and fees in excess of $1,000.00. Authors who attended these events complained that no marketing was done in preparation for the event, and as a result, they received little to no exposure.

At least one author alleges that the review copies obtained for these events were later sold as new copies, but without compensating the author for the printing costs they had already paid.

A Checkered Past

It’s easy to chalk these myriad problems up to a well-meaning but overwhelmed publisher who simply took on more than they could handle. However, a search of New York’s court system turned up more than a dozen cases involving Stevan Nikolic: evictions and unlawful detainers, unpaid obligations, liens, and more.

In light of this frightfully long string of judgements and defaults, it’s difficult to ascribe innocent motives to Adelaide’s failures to meet their contractual obligations.

You can read more about Adelaide Books in Writer Beware’s analysis from earlier this year.

Right of reply was offered to Adelaide Books and Mr. Nikolic, but a response was not received before the publication deadline.

John Doppler

From the sunny California beaches where he washed ashore in 2008, John Doppler scrawls tales of science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror -- and investigates self-publishing services as the Alliance of Independent Authors's Watchdog. John relishes helping authors turn new opportunities into their bread and butter and offers terrific resources for indie authors at Words on Words. He shares his lifelong passion for all things weird and wonderful on The John Doppler Effect.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I was walking around in a fog, feeling lost, confused and frankly, stupid about my rights as an author. Granted, I’m a newby, and that gives me some comfort, but it wasn’t enough until I communicated my problems to John Doppler that my life as an indie author began to make sense. Wow! Did he ever take charge! I’ve been a member of ALLi over the years, and I’m from Texas. My first short stories were actually published in London. Yeah, I’ve got a soft spot for the UK. I’m sorry it took so long for me to dig into the depths of what ALLi has to offer. John, Orna, all of you rock! Keep the faith, and thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top
×Close search