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This Week’s Self-publishing News

This Week’s Self-publishing News

IMG_7139Valerie Shanley rounds up the news in self-publishing from our ALLi partners and friends.

No Solution for Authors in  ASI Lawsuit  …Disappointing news for writers file0001727698973who paid out vast sums to Author Solutions (ASI) for self-publishing services which, in their opinion, proved “effectively worthless”. The class action lawsuit against ASI has been denied class certification by  judge Denise Cote in the US. ASI, described as a company “who make money from authors, rather than for authors”, cannot now be collectively sued by those authors who feel they got burnt by signing up to the company. This lawsuit was filed in New York in April 2013. On behalf of the plaintiffs, law firm Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart, are alleging fraud, unjust enrichment, and violation of various statutes and consumer protection acts.  Indies have been carefully monitoring developments in this story, including our own ALLi Director, Orna Ross; ALLi Watchdog, Victoria Strauss;  as well as Mike Rooney, publisher of the Independent Publishing Magazine, and author David Gaughran of the Let’s Get Digital blog. For now, Giskan Solotaroff  also have onging their second lawsuit against ASI , filed in March this year, consolidated with another lawsuit brought by two individual plaintiffs. And the fight will go on.

Still with the controversial ASI, ALLi is delighted to have been informed by Writer and Artists that ten companies (subsidiaries, brands and vanity publishers related to Author Solutions) have been removed from search results on the self-publishing section of their Bloomsbury owned website.  The W & A site says it aims to provide indies with impartial, comprehensive comparisons of self-publishing providers and their services and have come to realise that ASI’s alleged ‘services’ do not sit comfortably with such an author support site. We salute Writers & Artists, and Bloomsbury, for their move and would like to see more trade companies (Penguin, Simon & Schuster) put similar distance between themselves and similar companies.

Barnes & Noble in eBook Euro Retreat?…  The Digital Reader reports that Barnes & Noble is telling customers in Europe that they will soon be ex-customers. “B&N has reiterated the announcement they made last month when they said the Nook Windows 8 app would no longer be available internationally.” The Nook Store had been available in 40 countries, including Australia, much of Europe, Canada, the UK, and the US; on 8 August the Nook Store will only be available in the US and UK . The report concludes that with Nook revenues “having fallen to half that of the previous fiscal year ($264 million) and expected to continue declining (authors are already reporting that the malfunctioning website has killed their sales) the odds are very good that B&N is going to throw in the towel on their ebook money pit”. (Update: The Digital Reader has a new update on this story here.)

Slim Chance of Romance at Scribd ….Those who devour  romance novels will face slimmed-down fare at Scribd,  with a knock-on effect on authors and publishers who distribute through the service. The digital library will be “making some adjustments, particularly to romance, and as a result some previously available titles may no longer be available.” The  Digital Reader quotes Mark Coker who says, “The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books…Scribd and Oyster were paying what was effectively the wholesale price anytime a reader read more than 10% of a book.” The speculation is that this payout level may be proving unsustainable and has led to the decision to cull.

Best of British Luck for Indies in Book Awards … Good news for indies is that thanks to the work of Andy Bromley of Ingram Spark,  the British Book Design and Production Awards have added new entry categories  in year’s competition to include self-published authors.  The entry guidelines require that the entries must be published, designed, typeset, printed or bound by the entrant in the UK. The one exception is the Best British Book category, which can be entered only with books produced entirely in the UK. Submission for more than one category is acceptable. All books published from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2015 are eligible for entry in this years’ awards. The deadline has been extended to July 17th. Better look lively.

Troubador Adds Another Indie Service Provider To Its Bow … Troubador Publishing Ltd (UK) has acquired Brighton-based self-publishing service provider The Book Guild Ltd. According to the Independent Publishing Magazine report,  Troubador will continue to run The Book Guild Ltd as an independent company. Troubador already operates Matador, an ALLi Partner Member; this latest acquisition is viewed as a strategic move to assert itself in the author services market in the UK.

 

This self-publishing news round-up is brought to you by The Alliance of Independent Authors, a non-profit association of the world’s best indie authors and advisors. Join here.

 

 

 

 

Boni Wagner-Stafford

Boni Wagner-Stafford is a nonfiction author coach, writer, ghostwriter, editor, and co-founder of Ingenium Books. She’s an award-winning former journalist and also led public-sector teams in media relations, issues management, and strategic communications planning.
Boni has been at the controls of a helicopter, loves backcountry canoeing, once jumped from an airplane, sang on stage with Andrea Bocelli in a backup chorus, and grew up skiing Canada’s Rocky Mountains. She can be found on the South Shore of Montreal, in Mexico on her 40’ sailboat, Ingenium, or sometimes in the South of France.

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  1. Orna–Thanks very much for your reply. I hope I live to see the day when ALLi, alone or in concert with other organizations figure out how to provide indie writers with a means by which to be fairly evaluated. The traditional gatekeepers of commercial publishing have served this function–in my view badly–but no such process exists for those who self-publish. A system by which writers can compete to have their books ranked would be a great thing, but right now the key to success is driven by marketing savvy, not quality.
    Thanks again.

  2. Orna–
    Three things.
    First, the Author Solutions scam machine has been outed for so long that it’s hard to believe any writer who’s paying attention–or has a pulse–doesn’t know about it. Can you tell me how it is that such an operation continues to do business? Is there perhaps a Darwin Awards factor at work?
    Second, the British [only] Book Design and Production Awards reminds me that I recently asked you whether Alli had or was planning to have an American, or an American component in its operation. Still waiting for the “news to follow” you spoke of.
    Third; Deep North, my new suspense novel was just released on Amazon.

    1. Congratulations Barry on your new book! I look forward to checking it out. How ASI continues to do business is by having the funds to dominate the information stream, including Google adwords and search, so the new author who hasn’t been privy to the debates keys in “How do I sell publish” to Google and gets a list of ASI’s many imprints. Remember that these imprints don’t say “Author Solutions”, so people don’t associate the helpful-sounding author service with the parent company that has such a bad rep on the net. Having the backing of trade publishing names like Penguin and Simon & Schuster also helps them. And as to your third question, you will be waiting for the “news to follow” for a while longer — there are procedures and processes that need to be sorted but it is ALLi’s aim to be a fully global (English language speaking) organisation, and for that to be meaningful e.g. helping our members to publish well in territories outside their own. That plan makes the US as our next port of call. To set up properly requires time, thoughts and investment. Nothing we do happens overnight. But it happens. Stay tuned! thank you so much for your interest in ALLi.

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