Home » Romance, Self-Publishing » It is with a great sadness that we announce the closing of All Romance eBooks

It is with a great sadness that we announce the closing of All Romance eBooks

28 December 2016

From All Romance Ebooks:

It is with a great sadness that we announce the closing of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. Despite efforts to maintain and grow our market share, sales and profits have declined. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful. We’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward.

All Romance has always been a labor of love. Over the years we’ve developed wonderful relationships with the vendors we’ve worked with, the publishers whose content it’s been our pleasure to sell, the authors who supported us, and the customers who it’s been our honor to serve. On midnight, December 31 our sites will go dark. Between now and then, we encourage consumers finalize any transactions, download purchases, and back up libraries.

If you directly publish content for sale through our platform or All Romance has acted as your publisher via our Publishing in Partnership program, you should be in receipt of an email from us with additional information. If not, please contact us at info@allromanceebooks.com.

Link to the rest at All Romance Ebooks and thanks to Jacqueline for the tip.

Romance, Self-Publishing

44 Comments to “It is with a great sadness that we announce the closing of All Romance eBooks”

  1. And unfortunately for me, they owe me money.

    They’re asking for a settlement of .10 on the dollar for money owed. I’m not taking it, because of the amount of money they owe me. I’m also concerned that the settlement could count as preferential payments that’ll be at risk of being clawed back if they do end up in bankruptcy.

    Does anyone know if that’s a possibility? I know just enough to get into trouble here.

  2. “All Romance has always been a labor of love.”

    “Labors of Love” are usually poor business strategies, at least where for-profit businesses are concerned.

  3. ARe was a high volume bookseller for authors of erotica. Amazon tended to bury those sorts of books. This leaves Bookstrand and the indie publishers themselves to pick up the slack. I haven’t had a new release in a while but my publisher, Evernight Publishing, did a big chunk of its sales at ARe. Plus this comes right after a push to sell 2017 advertising. Most likely 0 cents on those dollars. 3 days notice and 10 cents rots.

  4. Like Lynn, they owe me money, not a lot. ARe was my second best sales venue for a long time, and some months, my best. Lately–not on the radar, although a small press title that came out earlier this month is likely to get clobbered.

    They were sending out emails requesting bookings for ads in 2017 just a few days ago.

  5. Yep, they owe me money, too.
    They’ve been a pretty steady 10% of my income for the last three years.

  6. Well, darn it. I hate to see any e-book retailer bite the dust.

  7. All my small press books are still up. I’m assuming the publisher will claw them out in the next two days. However, that’s a lot of work with very little notice, and apparently the publisher has no choice — take the 10% or nothing at all on pending payments.

    This stinks to high heaven. The least they could’ve done is give the publishers who used them as an aggregator, a little time to respond. And yet another set of authors get stiffed on their payments, which are the first thing that should be paid, not the last. ArE, join Torquere and EC as fellows in the Author Shafting Oscars.

    • And yet another set of authors get stiffed on their payments, which are the first thing that should be paid, not the last.

      The landlord, electric company, and internet provider feel the same about what they are owed.

      • Indeed, though I’d wager they’re not being offered ten cents on the dollar to settle those accounts.

      • If a company that sells books has no books–then they have no company.

        If a company that sells books has no lights–then they are a book selling company that has no lights.

      • Terrence, tcomparison doesn’t work at all. Authors’ money should never be touched by the publisher for any reason. It doesn’t matter what trouble the pub is in with various providers or loaners of what have you–authors’ money belongs to the authors, and is supposed to be briefly held in trust while royalties are figured out. Those payments should be honoured above all else.

        Not to mention ARe can’t have very much overhead to begin with.

        • The bookseller doesn’t have a fiduciary relationship with authors. (I wish they did–ditto for recording companies and musicians.) The relationship is merely contractual. A failure to pay royalties leaves the author with a breach of contract lawsuit or an arbitration.

      • Sorry, *that comparison. Not sure what happened there.

  8. My sympathy to those who’re losing a lot of money. My not-at-all erotic romances earned some modest money on ARe at first but recently, very little.

    I got caught up in a bankruptcy once, which was much worse, because it involved a publisher (Triskelion) and the court held one of my manuscripts hostage even though I’d received no money for it. Eventually, I got it back, thank goodness. Losing control of a whole book is even worse than losing earned income.

    This is hard on authors. I suspect it’s hard on the people running ARe, too. Not sure if this applies, but often small business people push forward to the bitter end, powered by the hope that somehow sales will enable them to continue. When that doesn’t happen, everything goes to pieces quickly.

    Very unfortunate.

  9. This is a comment from Antares when the EC stuff was happening. It may have some relevance:

    Bankruptcy clauses in publishing contracts:
    First, the clause is void as a matter of law. Not voidable. Void. It ain’t worth the ink it took to print it.
    Second, any lawyer ignorant enough to include such a clause probably missed something else, and I’m gonna clean his clock.

    Look, in an earlier comment I wrote that I would file a suit against the publisher immediately. Why?
    To get my rights back? No.
    Then why?
    To improve my position against the other creditors.
    Once the publisher files for bankruptcy protection — and the minute a business owner uses the B word I know he’s gonna file, it’s just a question of when — the writers no longer have rights. Yeah, you got the copyrights, but you licensed some of those rights to the publisher. Those licensed rights are now assets of the estate. The court’s duty is to equitably divide the assets among the creditors. If you are due royalties, you are an unsecured creditor. Maybe there is some entity in the bankruptcy food chain lower than an unsecured creditor, but I never saw such.
    My suit leaves me still in the unsecured creditor category, but, as Orwell said, some animals are more equal than others.
    I know of bankruptcies that paid a hundred cents on the dollar. Never had one myself. I also know of other suits that paid a hundred cents on the dollar to, say, eleven of twelve members of the creditors committee and screwed the twelfth with a 2¢ on the dollar payout.
    As for filing bankruptcy only when you are insolvent . . . no. That’s the worst time to file.
    Bankruptcy is a tool. You can use it to break contracts. To me, it is the start of negotiations.
    If you 1) have a contract with EC, 2) are owed money by EC, 3) know two other writers whom EC owes money, and 4) want to get really nasty with EC, ask a bankruptcy attorney about an involuntary bankruptcy.

  10. PG is reminded of a Hemingway quote in The Sun Also Rises:

    “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

    “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

  11. FeelingScrewedOver

    Look, they took the money from readers for my books. They keep 35% of that off the top. What did they do with the rest of the cash? I want my money. I want to be paid, and not a measly ten percent. That’s unfair…and so it this lack of warning, “sorry, we’re closing down in a couple of days” b*******.

    The author should be paid FIRST not “oops no money left over srry bout that.”

    Not. Good. Enough.

    This WAS a good vendor, a reputable vendor (I thought), and my second best sales avenue. Not cool. I call b*******. Who skimmed the pot that they suddenly can’t pay?

    • Amazon, most likely.
      There are hints of possible malice (a 3 day notice, really?) but wishful thinking could be in the mix.
      Maybe they really thought it was the election.

    • The author will never be paid first. The publisher will surely pay themselves first. And once a business is going downhill, yeah, they’re gonna pay their bills and their salaries (at the least the top people’s salaries while editors and graphic and other people get delayed or stiffed).

      I hope the authors are able to work fast to request their rights back and, I hope, get them.

    • It’s pretty common for businesses to get caught up in a shell game, using advances to pay past bills, and hoping for new money to get them caught up. Mingling business accounts with private money is also all too common. That fact that they’re closing Dec 31, at the end of the most profitable cycle tells me they knew they wouldn’t have enough to survive the January/February bills.

      If they have employees, I’d also wonder if they had been making their payroll taxes. That’s a common one for sinking businesses to (foolishly) try to skip. But, the IRS is the only creditor that can send you to jail, so sometimes businesses will burn the last of their cash trying to get caught up on this.

      If you don’t need the money right away, a separate lawsuit might not be a bad idea to move yourself up the list of creditors, but sometimes walking away and doing without the stress is a better deal.

      • I also got the impression from the statement that the books and accounts for the retail business and publishing business were mixed together, either by design or by practice.

  12. RWA has a notice:

    https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=1721

    ——

    RWA was notified today that All Romance eBooks (ARe) is closing effective 12/31/2016. The notice states:

    All Romance eBooks is unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions and is proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar for sales through 12/27/2016.
    By accepting, authors consider the settlement as “paid in full” and they agree not to take legal action against All Romance eBooks.
    There is no offer to pay commissions on sales after 12/27, even though the site will remain open through midnight on 12/31/2016.
    Companies or individuals wishing to deactivate their accounts before 12/31 can do so by logging into the publisher portal.
    RWA finds it unconscionable for the owner of ARe to withhold information so long and to continue selling books through the end of the month when the company cannot pay commissions.

  13. agreed

    “RWA finds it unconscionable for the owner of ARe to withhold information so long and to continue selling books through the end of the month when the company cannot pay commissions.”

  14. Has anyone told Victora stross at the writer beware blog.
    She’s usually pretty good at finding out About publishers and commenting on the ortho rightx reversions

  15. Have you got an opinion on any of this, PG? I’d be interested to hear it.

  16. Please keep in mind that ARe is a retailer, and that this fight is primarily about money. Rights reversions are not a factor for 99% of the people getting shafted here.

    They do have a Montlake-wanna-be imprint, and those few authors are being asked to forgive 100% of royalties in order to get their rights back. But this is not the great majority of authors who’ve sold books through the portal. The imprint authors were being solicited for audio rights as late as last week.

    Not that I forgive one d*** thing they’ve done, but I do wonder if VAT issues played any kind of role here. ARE had a huge overseas business.

    OTOH, the ARE owners also played this sort of last minute surprise game when they sold Linden Bay to Samhain. In light of the 45 minute window they offered then, 3 days notice seems downright generous.

  17. I have a couple of books there, but they don’t owe me much money. It wasn’t an income stream for me.

    What’s the deal with the comments about ‘rights’? ARe was a bookseller not a publisher. They have no rights to my work in any way. They either sell my books for a commission or they don’t, depending on if I allow them to or not.

    • They dabbled in publishing, too.

      • Ah, nothing for me to worry about then. I added a clause to my agreement because there weren’t enough royalties to fight over in my case, but I was concerned about the rights situation.

        I (my name here) accept the terms of the attached proposed settlement on this date under the condition that (my name here) retains all the rights to the files and content of the works (works named here). Any rights of All Romance Ebooks LLC to distribute or use the files or content of the works (works named here) are revoked in full.

        • Did you get back a signed copy of the agreement?
          Notarized, perhaps?

          • I don’t know. This is why I question the legality of the agreement. You get an email, and you send back the email with your electronic signature (basically writing your name).

            In my case, I added a clause, but none of it is notarized, and I don’t know if I’ll get a response.

            To my knowledge, I’ve never signed a contract that gives ARe any rights to my work, so I reckon my rights are safe. As for the money, I don’t really care if I see it. It’s a very small amount.

            My only concern is if they attempt to distribute my work without my permission. So I made it as clear as possible that they don’t have my permission.

  18. And they were still sending those “Hey, give us money so you can do a promo with us!” emails very recently. Hope there weren’t people who “donated” money to them for that, because it’s buh-bye.

    Also, I heard from one of my FB groups that they also are NOT going to honor or refund money that people have paid for any pre-orders.

    That and the “we’ll give you 10% of money owed” is just straight-up crap.

  19. Right now there must be hundreds if not a lot more authors who a) feel cheated out of their royalties and b) who suddenly see what may be a huge drop in their earnings – and just after Christmas too. It’s diabolical. We are a smallish publisher in the UK and have been for over a decade. I’ve seen this thing happen to a number of publishers since we started and it is always the authors who get ignored. Well, not with us. We always pay our authors first, we even offer options to pay them weekly via PayPal. We offer this to self-publishers, other publishers and to authors who want us to act as their publisher. We publish authors without any contract periods (we ask for 12 months if we put their books into print) and we have hundreds of authors and other publishers on our sites. Any author who has been hit by this is welcome to contact me over the next few days. We’ll do what we can to help you get your books back on sale as quickly as possible.

  20. This blog provides a lot of info on the nuts-and-bolts of the owner (who is also an author, and immediately on my never-buy list) and where the “offices” are. Mostly a PO box and a UPS store in Florida, even though the owner lives in San Diego and has another vacation home in California. Why the business in Florida then?

    http://blogcritics.org/publisher-all-romance-ebooks-closing-hits-new-low-in-stealing-from-authors/

  21. I am confused. If they are primarily a retailer, then, mostly they do not owe “royalties” – they owe wholesale cost of goods supplied.

    • They are primarily a digital distributor and in the digital publishing world these days it has become common among authors, publishers, and pundits to refer to remitances from distributors as “royalties”.

      Totally inaccurate but it does allow net dollar comparisons between tradpub and IndiePub since both reflect what the author sees rather than what the reader pays.

      The language evolves in its own ways.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.