The All Romance Ebooks Meltdown for The Readers
If you read romance novels with any regularity you’re probably aware of the shutdown of All Romance Ebooks. If you’re not here’s a quick summary. One of the largest retailers of romance ebooks outside of Amazon went dark on December 31 giving only three days notice.
For authors and publishers this has been, what can only be described as, a cluster fuck. A letter went out to all the independent authors saying they would only get paid 10 cents on the dollar for the Q4 royalties and only if they promised no legal action. As I’m sure you can imagine the lawyers have descended. In the last 12 days, all kinds of ugly has been dug up. There are reports that Lori James (who writes as Samantha Sommersby and as part of a pair under the name S.J Harper), may have used some really nasty tactics to push out her partner in 2014. There are questions as to the accuracy of accounts since then. There is speculation she might be behind some copywrite claim jumping on Amazon. And authors are being encouraged to make complaints to the Florida AG and even the DoJ. I’ll put the links to all this stuff at the bottom of the post because everyone needs one more thing to be angry about.
While writers, some of whom are out thousands of dollars, and publishers out hundreds of thousands, have circled the wagons I know readers have been asking questions and feeling a bit screwed over as well. Readers were only given three days to download their libraries, some of them containing thousands of books (bless you), while the site was crashing and publishers were yanking their books down. As a reader as well I know nothing hurts like losing a book. If you bought one of mine (thank you so much) and weren’t able to save it Dreamspinner Press is replacing lost books and honouring presales of their works if you send them proof of purchase. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give them a bit of time to get back. They’re a little swamped. I’ve heard Less Than Three, Riptide, and a lot of the other smaller presses are doing something similar so it won’t hurt to ask.
In the more long-term I’ve heard ‘Where shall we buy our books now I don’t want to but from Amazon?’
I get that. I really do. I feel guilty every time I click that little button, unfortunately I live in New Zealand where bookselling is a sad business and I sort of have to go where I can get the best shipping deals. There is also google books, kobo, and ibooks, but again these are the Big Guys.
Now I know money is tight for a lot of people. Oh god do I know this. There are maybe a dozen writers on Earth who don’t worry about money. And we all appreciate that some money is better than none (unless we’re getting offered ten cents on the dollar), but if and only if you believe you can afford it please consider just buying direct from the publishers. I know it’s not nearly as convenient, but even when you’re buying a sale item more money is going to get to the author which will get them closer to quitting their day job so they can write more books for you.
Most publishers have a mailing list of some sort as well as social media accounts that will keep you updated as to sales, pre-orders, and special deals. Dreamspinner gives you a free ecopy of any book you buy in paperback. If an author you like has a mailing list that can also be a good way to know when their new stuff is coming up.
The ARe fiasco has given the entire romance writing community a nasty kick, financially and emotionally. We are hurt, angry, and hell hath no fury like a writer screwed out of royalties. If you are a reader of any kind of romance we thank you. It’s often mocked and not considered socially acceptable in many places. In the past there have been conflicts over the lines between writers and readers but this is the point when we all need to band together. Even if you can’t afford to buy books any place but the bargain bin please take a couple of minutes to leave ratings and reviews. Those little stars on Amazon and Goodreads can actually have a solid impact on our bank accounts. Recommend authors you like to your friends. If your local library doesn’t carry them suggest that they do. And when people make fun your reading choice stand up for it. Those assholes probably don’t read anyway.