The Audiblegate campaign has made some significant inroads, but now has reached the end of the road for persuasion. In order to continue this campaign, we need the indie author community, and other authors, to rally round and right this wrong, says ALLi Director, Orna Ross.
As you probably know, ALLi has been supporting the Audiblegate campaign run by the valiant and inspiring Susan May, aiming to right the wrongs done by Audible-ACX's user agreements and payment practices.
Already, the #audiblegate campaign has put money back in authors' pockets (see below) but Audible has made it clear that it will make no further concessions.
The company, which turns over $2.5 Billion in the US and over £100 million in the UK alone, is not willing to compensate authors for monies it admits to silently removing from their accounts. There is no appeal system and no mediation. And so no alternative to law.
We must resolve this dispute in the courts.
Authors, we need your help, whether you publish audiobooks or not. If you don't now, no doubt you eventually will (audiobook revenue is predicted to overtake ebooks this year).
And what is happening in this struggle is being closely observed by other departments at Amazon, including KDP, and other self-publishing services too.
It will affect us all.
A win here is a win for all authors. Not to mention narrators and readers.
The Audiblegate Legal Fund is now open for donations at Donor Box. (And if you are a U.S. taxpayer, your donation is tax-deductible via the not-for-profit The Equitable Rights Movement, aka TERM.)
Audiblegate.com was founded by an author, Susan May, who is not very different to you–except that she has put her previously lucrative writing and publishing business completely on hold, to fight this battle on behalf of all authors and narrators.
With the support of ALLi, May and her small team of volunteers have made real gains in putting money back in the pockets of authors and narrators.
- Authors received a 5% bonus payment on December 2020 sales.
- “Returns” after seven days are no longer charged to authors
- All returns now have to be reported by Audible-ACX
- The seven-year exclusivity term has been reduced to 90 days.
And there's more — but so much is still wrong. For a start, authors should only be liable for true returns, where less than 25% of a book is read. Seven days is still too long for authors to be subsidising Audible's Listener Guarantee. This shouldn't happen at all.
Too many terms and conditions, scattered across ACX's website, are unclear or author unfriendly.
The percentage commission that authors pay to ACX is too high, given that the company has no input into production or promotion.
And we still have no clarity about how much they deducted from authors' and publishers' accounts pre-2021.
None of this is okay and it must change.
May has succeeded in getting Kanter Law Group to create an in-depth memorandum outlining Audible’s illegal behaviors to bring to the attention of U.S. regulators.
This memo will also allow TERM, May's US nonprofit, to move forward with a class action suit to recover damages for lost revenue.
You’ll find more information about all of this at Audiblegate.com
This is our opportunity to change the abuses of one of the big-tech monopolies in publishing and its outcome will determine the behaviors not just of Audible but of all the services in our sector.
Once you've seen what's at stake, I'm sure you'll agree with the team here at ALLi that as authors, we need to come together to support this campaign, and take it all the way.
Please be generous. Reflect on how much the volunteers' hard, dedicated, intelligent and diligent work has delivered so far, and how much more there is to gain if we support each other.
Please go across now and give whatever feels right at Donor Box.
There are a number of posts you may find useful on the topic of audible gate including: