Publish America is a vanity publisher that has been the subject of many complaints on Writer Beware and other author websites.
A class-action suit has been filed in Maryland on behalf of Publish America authors against the company. Here’s what the website of one of the law firms representing the authors says about the suit:
Hagens Berman has filed a lawsuit against Publish America LLLP (“Publish America) alleging that the company misleads authors, promising to publish and promote their books when the company actually profits by charging authors for promotion services that are themselves misrepresented.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, alleges that Publish America represents itself as a traditional publisher that pays royalties to authors and profits from the sale of books. However, the company actually operates more like so-called “vanity publishers,” profiting from authors to whom it sells services, according to the complaint.
Specifically, authors sign a contract in which Publish America is granted the rights to the authors’ books for between seven and 10 years, but Publish America does, according to the complaint “nothing constructive to promote their books.”
Instead, it offers authors a number of paid promotional packages. The lawsuit alleges that many of these services are fraudulent. For instance, Publish America claims that it presents books to J.K. Rowling for review, but Rowling has denied the claims, according to the complaint. Publish America also allegedly claimed to have a contract with a major Canadian bookseller, which the bookseller promptly denied.
Hagens Berman’s lawsuit alleges that Publish America’s actions entitle authors to relief under the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act as well as the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. The complaint asks the court to award damages to a class of authors currently or formerly under contract with Publish America who purchased publication, production or promotion services.
Link to the rest at Hagens Berman, including law firm contact information for authors who believe they may have been harmed by Publish America. This is the same law firm that filed a class action suit for ebook price fixing against Apple, HarperCollins, Hachett, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster.
Here’s the Complaint: