Publetariat Dispatch: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against PublishAmerica

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, Mick Rooney provides details on a class action lawsuit filed against vanity publisher PublishAmerica.

The breaking news this evening, via Victoria Strauss, is that a class action law suit has been filed against PublishAmerica in the state of Maryland. The action was filed yesterday by Darla Yoos, Edwin McCall and Kerri Levine and “others similarly situated” in a 55 page document.
From the opening pages of the lawsuit:

Defendant  PublishAmerica is a book publisher that  portrays itself as “a  traditional, royalty paying publisher.” But unlike traditional  publishers, which profit from the sale of books, defendant profits from  its own clients, i.e., the authors who submit works for publication by  defendant. Defendant lures these authors in by promising to publish  their book at no cost, and it makes false and misleading representations  that it will promote their books and support the authors’ efforts to  sell their own books. But this is not the case. Instead, once the  authors sign the contract, which gives defendant the rights to their  book for seven to ten years, defendant does nothing constructive to  promote their books, but instead offers various promotion packages on a  fee-for-service basis….

These services, which are either misrepresented  or never carried out, are not reasonably designed to promote class  members’ books…. Defendant provides very poor editing services, is  slow to respond to book orders, and it routinely overprices the books it  publishes. This is no accident. Defendant will only lower the price of  its clients’ books to a competitive rate for a $399 fee. These practices  make it difficult for even the most enterprising authors to promote  their own books. Defendant is not responsive to inquiries from its  clients, or worse it is dismissive or belligerent. Like plaintiffs,  thousands of other aspiring authors who signed up with PublishAmerica  have become demoralized because the publishing contract appears to be  little more than a pretext for selling dubious services…

These authors  also feel trapped because PublishAmerica owns the rights to their books  for seven to ten years. This presents a Hobson’s choice for the authors:  either throw good money after bad for suspect promotional services or  abandon the book that was a labor of love.

This post, by Mick Rooney, originally appeared on The Independent Publishing Magazine on 6/13/12.


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