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All Romance eBooks is closing

Update below the fold

See further update at end

Here’s the full email to customers:

December 28, 2016

It is with great sadness that I announce our intent to wind down the operations of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful and we’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward. 

We realize that you have choices when it comes to shopping via the Internet. We appreciate those of you who have chosen to shop at All Romance and will miss your patronage. We’re grateful for the years we’ve been able to serve you. The site(s) will be closing down on December 31, 2016 at Midnight (Central/US) and you will no longer have access or be able to make purchases. 

Please take this opportunity to finalize any transactions, download your purchases, and back up your library.

Sincerely,

Lori James

All Romance Ebooks, LLC

I have no idea whether there were any rumbles about this before now, but I confess my surprise, and my dismay. I don’t think giving customers (readers and authors/publishers) a mere three days to get everything straightened out is all that considerate. Perhaps it means it was a relatively sudden decision? If anyone knows, I’d appreciate the input.

~ * ~

Apparently, here’s what they sent authors/publishers (self published authors? I dunno):

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS, LLC
6252 Commercial Way #145, Weeki Wachee, FL 34613

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great sadness I announce that we are winding down the operations of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful and we’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you. On midnight, December 31, our sites will go dark and your content will cease to be available for sale through our platforms. This includes any content you are having us distribute to Apple. If you wish to inactivate your content sooner, you can do so by logging into your publisher portal.

We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016. We also request the following conditions:

1. That you consider this negotiated settlement to be “paid in full”.
2. That no further legal action be taken with regards to the above referenced commissions owed.

If you are willing to accept the offered amount and the terms proposed, please hit the reply on this email keeping the history intact. Change the subject to “Publisher Settlement Acceptance” and copy/paste the acceptance statement below into your email, filling in the fields.

Upon receipt of the signed agreement, I will authorize payment of the settlement amount in full by 28 February 2016 via the method stipulated in your publisher account.

It is my sincere hope that we will be able to settle this account and avoid filing for bankruptcy, which would undoubtedly be a prolonged and costl y process.

I appreciate that you may have questions. Unfortunately, we will be operating with limited staff as we prepare for closure. We will do our best to respond to the extent possible and will do so in the order received. Our priority over the next few weeks will be processing settlement requests. At this time, there is no additional information to share.

I thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,
Lori James
All Romance Ebooks, LLC

Acceptance of Agreement:
I accept the terms of the attached proposed settlement on this date.

Signature:

Electronic Signature
The author’s sub mission of the information entered by selection of the submit button below shall constitute author’s signature signifying acceptance of this Agreement with the intent that it be valid for all purposes and in compliance with the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 and the laws of any other applicable jurisdiction.

Please note: This message is intended for use by the person or entity to which it is addressed. Please do not disseminate, distribute or copy. If you have received this message by error, please notify us immediately and destroy the related message. Re-disclosure without appropriate consent is prohibited.

For those concerned about the ‘prohibition to share’ bit there at the end, you may want check out what Mark O Randazza has to say about this (you are so very welcome):

The correct legal response is “suck my ass” or whatever you want to say. Ok, fine, how about “your point is invalid”. Let’s go with that. It is nicer, after all. And I’m all about being nice.

Now here’s one thing you can rest assured of: If someone puts that foolishness on their letter, it is because they’re afraid of that letter getting out there. They can’t possibly have confidence in what’s in it. Look, I write a letter, I expect that it might wind up getting slapped on Simple Justice, with Greenfield making fun of it. Even then, I can’t seem to catch every typo. But you know what? If my name is on it, you can bet your ass that I’ll own it.

(Go on, read the whole thing. It’s educational and sarcastic and funny.)

~ * ~

Writer Beware is asking authors who are being screwed by ARe to contact them:

(You can click on the tweet to see the thread)

I’m still trying to understand what the fuck was/is going through the minds of the people behind ARe.

So authors should take it, and like it, signing away monies owed (à la Ellora’s Cave), while ARe keeps whatever monies they have made this past quarter? Authors should help these people avoid bankruptcy…why, exactly? What courtesy do authors owe fuckers who do this?

24 Comments »

  • On Dec. 23, 5 days ago, they sent out marketing letters to get advertising for January on. So people spent money on ads with them even though they knew they were going out of business.

    There’s bumfuckery in them thar hills.

    ReplyReply

  • @Lori: I certainly hope that ANYONE, big or small, who bought any advertising with them for 2017, disputes the charges.

    And I just saw that RWA also chimed in–not that it makes much of a difference at this point.

    ReplyReply


  • Crimson Rose
    December 29
    7:50 am

    I for one will not sit idly by while they attempt to rip us authors off. I’ve only been selling with them for about two years, and I don’t make a whole lot (under $500 a quarter), but that’s money I earned and I expect payment in full and told them as much.

    ReplyReply

  • @Crimson Rose: Frankly, I hope ALL their authors band together and sue their asses.

    Mind you, I have no dog in this fight, in the sense that I don’t write, and I’m not involved in publishing in any way, but I’m a reader, and it pisses me off no end to see assholes scamming writers AND readers like this.

    How is it NOT obvious to publishers and distributors, that royalties are NOT operating money? That royalties do NOT belong to them to use to pay their own bills or staff, or whatever? That using royalties’ percentage in any way but to pay authors, is stealing, plain and simple?

    And then, to have the chutzpah to ask authors to bend over and smile, so that the assholes who STOLE from them, don’t have to declare bankruptcy?

    Seriously now.

    ReplyReply


  • Crimson Rose
    December 29
    8:17 am

    @AztecLady I sent them an email telling them if I am not paid in full then I will look into starting a class action lawsuit against them. I may not have made much money with them, but it’s my money and I deserve every penny of it as does everyone else they are trying to rip off to avoid bankruptcy fees.

    Unfortunately, in my time writing eBooks I’ve seen a number of sites close, but this is the first one to so blatantly try stealing my money. As I told them in the email, there’s no way they made this decision so suddenly. They knew this was coming for a long time now and held off for as long as possible to milk as much money out of us as possible.

    ReplyReply

  • I’m not replying to ARe’s mic-drop email and giving up my right to sue. Fuck to the fucking no on that.

    Also, I’m getting really, really, really stupidly tired of women fucking over women in this industry. Noble. EC. Torquere. A whole bunch of others scattered in between those ones. Just sayin’.

    ReplyReply

  • @Mercedes Vox: I see where you are coming from, but, from where I sit? it’s people fucking people over. Just check Writer Beware’s blog/site, or Absolute Write’s forums, and you’ll see that men outnumber women in the ‘we are cheating assholes out to fuck you over for a quick buck” field.

    ReplyReply


  • CaliGrl32
    December 29
    7:43 pm

    Bummer. I found so many new, interesting authors using that site. And it was a total pain spending hours downloading my library to my computer last night(I usually just send to Kindle). I feel like I’m going to miss out on a lot of good authors and titles now. Amazon is great once you’ve identified an author you like, but sifting through the crap to find new authors/good stuff there was much easier at ARe. I feel bad for the authors getting screwed. That 3 days notice is BS.

    ReplyReply

  • @CaliGrl32: Particularly when you consider that, just five days before, they were asking publishers AND authors to spend money on advertising on the site.

    ReplyReply

  • I created a simple form to gather data about what ARe owes authors & publishers. The figures are staggering. https://t.co/bvgaiIAftU

    ReplyReply

  • There’s a Facebook group for authors and publishers trying to band together to file a suit.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/212976702443743/

    ReplyReply

  • […] wrote about this retailer sudden and (so far) unexplained closure at Karen Scott’s blog, but I’ve been keeping an eye out for more […]



  • Anon
    December 31
    11:52 am

    What are the odds that they will pop up again in the New Year, claiming all of this was just a misunderstanding.

    ReplyReply

  • @Anon: Huh.

    Funny, that one didn’t occur to me about this particular outfit–probably because of the utter arrogance of that email to authors, coupled with the suddenness of the whole thing.

    Added to that, even if they had considered doing so, after this outcry, and what they have already done…

    No, I don’t see that happening.

    However, if they/Lori James tried to do that, after what has already been made public, and after how quickly authors and smaller publishers have banded together to look for legal alternatives… If I were the Attorney General or someone from the Department of Justice, I would look at that as further compounding an already solid case of criminal intent to defraud. (I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, yadda yadda.))

    ReplyReply


  • CaliGrl32
    December 31
    10:09 pm

    Interesting articles at Blogcritics about what may have been going on behind the scenes at ARe. Ugh.

    http://blogcritics.org/court-documents-regarding-all-romance-e-books-disturbing-business-practices-surface/

    ReplyReply


  • Anna Cuva
    January 2
    5:20 pm

    I didn’t realize authors were getting screwed so thoroughly by ARe, and I am sorry to hear that. I’m a ptivate duty nurse and work nights, have been buying from this site for years. I didn’t find out that Are was closing until 12/28, right after I placed another order. I had 103 fucking PAGES of books to download and the site kept crapping out. I don’t have access to the internet at work and wasn’t able to complete the download. I see there are class action law suits being gathered against them, and I hope the company chokes on the legal BS about to go down. I have spent about half my salary at Are and feel that little to nothing made it to the authors, which really sucks

    ReplyReply

  • @Anna Cuva: I am very sorry, Anna, that you got screwed this badly.

    If you happen to have any receipts of books you couldn’t download, you may want to contact the Attorney General’s office in Florida, and place a complaint with them. The more readers who do this, the more likely it is that the authorities become involved.

    You also may want to contact your credit card company, if you couldn’t download the books you just ordered, and dispute the charge (particularly for pre-orders).

    Finally, a number of authors and presses have said that they would honor past purchases, as well as pre-orders–though this, again, depends on having receipts.

    It’s not much, but I hope you at least get some books and/or money back.

    ReplyReply


  • Kevin
    January 3
    11:46 pm

    This was all news to me on 1/3/17. I’ve spent at least a few hundred or more (likely several hundred) over that last year’s but I’m lucky in that I had not bought any books that were future releases. All that I’m out is the free book I was due after buying 10. I’m thankful I’ve gotten my $ worth and have all my content intact.

    Never saw the email claimed to have been sent out. I feel badly for any that are victims of this situation. Smells like Silver Publishing from just a couple of years ago…

    Hear is to a happier 2017 and hope that anyone owed $ by the people behind ARe able to go after them and make them sorry for what they’ve pulled…

    ReplyReply


  • Denise
    January 4
    5:01 pm

    Wow. Just found out that ARe had shut down. Read the article at blogcritic and Ms James should be tarred and feathered. So I’m curious as to why in December 2016, the website was offerring free copies of books each day and advertising future releases? Thank goodness that I always downloaded everything I bought at the website immediately so I have my library. I hope all the authors band together on Facebook and sue her butt off. She’s a crook of the worst kind.

    ReplyReply


  • jlc
    January 5
    11:22 pm

    As author & CEO of a company with 4 businesses under my belt I can saw this is poor business practices on ARe’s part not to mention unprofessional. First they should be reported to the Better Business Bureau online so if they do start up another company it’s on file that they owe all that money. Second, I did some digging on them. Apparently the owners were having issues among themselves and the company funds were starting to slip. However with such a large clientele they are by law, and this comes from one who has been the sole proprietary owner running 4 businesses for the last three years straight successfully, they are indebted to their clients and own them at least 2 2weeks notice in writing prior to announcing their closing and they should legally be bound by law to settle any debts incurred during the time of their functioning LLC agreement with their authors. They should not be allowed to dissolve their partnership and file under a new name because they have existing debts. The authors that got stiffed need to take their signed agreements to a lawyer. I know my LLC paperwork states these things.

    ReplyReply


  • Anon
    January 6
    5:56 pm

    It gets even worse.
    This author believes that ARE is sending take down notices to Amazon for her novel.
    http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com/2017/01/defending-copyright-on-a-summer-fling-part-2/

    ReplyReply

  • @Anon: It’s more that it could be that ARe is claiming that this author’s work is ARe’s intellectual property, and amazon, as a third party, is not getting involved.

    Now, whether ARe is indeed behind this or not, I cannot say for certain.

    HOWever…I’ll say that I would not be surprised, if this author didn’t sign ARe’s blackmail “no royalties or we’ll tie your rights forever and a day through bankruptcy” letter, ARe may have decided to take the story down.

    OR, perhaps, if this work was distributed through ARe, this is part of ARe’s closing down debacle, only done badly (with or without malice…again, not putting anything past the person behind this mess).

    Either way, it really is not amazon place to decide who’s right when it comes to an intellectual property dispute–that’s what the courts are for.

    ReplyReply


  • Tawnya Wilson
    January 12
    7:51 am

    I didn’t find out they were closing til today. I have over 60 pages of books. How do I get them?

    ReplyReply

  • @Tawnya Wilson: I am sorry you just learned about this, but I am not sure why you think that I would know anything more than what has already been posted in the original piece and the comments.

    To be clear: I don’t know that you can get anything from ARe now that they have closed, let alone how you would go about it.

    ReplyReply

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