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Thread: The Newer Never-Ending PublishAmerica / America Star Books Thread

  1. #3126
    Sleep. Eat. Write. Wrider's Avatar
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    Side note:
    I know a lot of PA authors are terribly confused about the way their books are being listed (or not) on Amazon etc, but I did find it very interesting when I checked on my own three this morning. (I usually avoid even looking at the listings, but for some reason, I checked today.)

    The two softcovers (that I did not buy into the "paperbacks" for) are listed at their previous price (without the latest $5 increase), and are both in stock and available to order.

    The one that IS in paperback is listed as "paperback" and no new copies are available to purchase.

    So... I paid to get my one book in "paperback" so it would be a cheaper price. And it just so "happens" that that's the very one that now isn't orderable through Amazon?

    Hmmm....

    Of course I'm not up in arms - no one can find my books there anyway, but anybody have any theories? Seems too much of a coincidence.
    "Written words are like runaway trains. They can crush a man or bring him to places he never dreamed possible."

  2. #3127
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrider View Post
    So... I paid to get my one book in "paperback" so it would be a cheaper price. And it just so "happens" that that's the very one that now isn't orderable through Amazon?
    It probably is if you buy a minimum of 9 copies with shipping and handling...

    Of course I'm not up in arms - no one can find my books there anyway, but anybody have any theories? Seems too much of a coincidence.
    My theory? PA set out to make money from the PAYperback venture by screwing the authors.

    A PA author had mentioned on her blog that her book was now $9.95 and could be ordered from the publisher. Well, the shipping charges to Canada are $12, so the book would be $22 and I asked her if there was a cheaper option.

    She suggested Amazon. Well, you guessed it. There, the book is in softcover at a minimum of $16. Oh, and there are no "buy" buttons, meaning I'd have to order from a third-party seller and I wasn't willing to do that. Especially when the book would probably have been just as expensive as the PAYperback in the end.

    So she paid for the "activation" of the new format, and if she broke even on that deal she'll be lucky.
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  3. #3128
    Expert Procrastinator Kweei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Queen of Swords View Post
    It probably is if you buy a minimum of 9 copies with shipping and handling...



    My theory? PA set out to make money from the PAYperback venture by screwing the authors.

    A PA author had mentioned on her blog that her book was now $9.95 and could be ordered from the publisher. Well, the shipping charges to Canada are $12, so the book would be $22 and I asked her if there was a cheaper option.

    She suggested Amazon. Well, you guessed it. There, the book is in softcover at a minimum of $16. Oh, and there are no "buy" buttons, meaning I'd have to order from a third-party seller and I wasn't willing to do that. Especially when the book would probably have been just as expensive as the PAYperback in the end.

    So she paid for the "activation" of the new format, and if she broke even on that deal she'll be lucky.
    I've been noticing that trend. The PAYperback is cheaper and authors paid for it, but it's only really available at the PA website that (A) not many people visit and (B) jack up the shipping which counteracts the price.

    Or you can find regualr softcovers at the inflated price at Amazon, which most browsers won't touch.

    So basically, no matter which format you chose, you're priced right out of making any kind of profit.
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  4. #3129
    Sleep. Eat. Write. Wrider's Avatar
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    I'm so curious to know what PA's underlying plan is/was with that whole thing - how they mapped it out. I'm certainly in agreement that it's all for money, but I wonder which angles were planned and why.

    It's weird because my third book (paperback) doesn't even have another higher-priced option. It's just unavailable, except from third parties.

    It all boggles my mind. Not surprising me anymore, but it's still incredibly twisted.
    "Written words are like runaway trains. They can crush a man or bring him to places he never dreamed possible."

  5. #3130
    figuring it all out Neil Larkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    They offered a contract.

    PA authors are ecstatically happy from the moment they're offered a contract. That state lasts until shortly after the book is actually published.

    For that brief, happy, time, the author thinks that someone read their book and loved it as much as they do.
    This is, in sum, how it happened to everyone who went with PEE-YAY. Me, Don, Marihiatt -- all of us.
    Reflecting on this has led me to believe that the most powerful words in marketing today are "you deserve a chance" or some variation thereof. PEE-YAY says your book "deserves" a "chance" and has roped in 50,000 or so suckers. The banking/realty/housing industry told Americans that no matter their circumstances, they deserved a chance to be home owners and roped in millions who had no business being such, or at least not in that way. Think about it.
    On a related topic, some fuzzy math has told me this: In order for PEE-YAY to do what a "traditional" publisher usually does for free for all their authors, a PEE-YAY author would have had to buy somewhere between 350 and 500 copies of their own books in the last year. An average of two "offers" a week, with a buy requirement of one to nine copies for them to fulfill on those offers could result in a lot of books getting sold to suckers hoping PEE-YAY would do at they promised. All of this with the continually stated "no author is ever required to buy" any of his or her own books. Well, no, not to get the promise from PEE-YAY that they will publish your book. But to get them to promise to promote it in some fashion...that's a different story. You damn well better pay them. Oh, wait...You're still not paying them. You're buying books you need. Weasels.
    Neil
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  6. #3131
    Theophilus Don Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    They offered a contract.

    PA authors are ecstatically happy from the moment they're offered a contract. That state lasts until shortly after the book is actually published.

    For that brief, happy, time, the author thinks that someone read their book and loved it as much as they do.
    Yes, and that is what makes PA such a dream-crusher. It's like falling in love and then finding out that the other person is really only interested in you for your money. It's deception, pure and simple. And it's cruel.
    May God bless,
    Don

    Don't give your book, or your money, to America Star Books (formerly PublishAmerica) until you know the truth. Follow this link to read actual documents written by America Star Books/PublishAmerica that show conclusively what they are, and what they are not: http://christianityforthinkers.com/PublishAmerica.html.

  7. #3132
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HistorySleuth View Post
    Victoria Strauss just tweeted this link. So if the Indiana DA can investigate this publisher under consumer protection laws in regards to their authors, why not for PAs? Is the tide turning?
    I also blogged about this deadbeat publisher.

    Others have pointed out that consumer protection laws vary from state to state, which certainly makes a difference. Also different from PA: the New Century authors paid for publishing services that weren't rendered. When various people were trying to get the Maryland Attorney General's office to take action on complaints about PA, they made it very clear that because PA authors hadn't bought any services, it wasn't a consumer issue, and they couldn't deal with it.

    Also significant: New Century's owner, David Caswell, has a rap sheet. He did prison time for income tax fraud, and the Indiana Attorney General sued him twice for failing to provide paid-for services to customers of his job placement business. Because they were already familiar with him, I think the AG's office may have paid more attention when they got complaints from authors. There's also the fact that one of the complainants is a former US Representative.

    So...different laws, different situation, and recidivism by a known bad actor. It all adds up to a very different sort of case.

    Not that the Indiana AG has been especially effective. Its two suits against Caswell resulted in judgments and fines of nearly $100,000...of which he has paid just $600. One of the judgments isn't even recent--it was handed down in 1990.

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  8. #3133
    Christine Tripp ctripp's Avatar
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    Just got information from my publisher that the director of Barnes and Noble wants my book in their bookstores. Also, my book can be bought online and it will also be available on the Nook. This summer has been great from the beginning.
    The above is not from PAMB but from the writers facebook page. PA plants a small seed of hope via a mass email and the writers react just as PA knows they will.... they see dollars and fame. While this is par for the course with PA, I'm wondering about the solicitation of PA's writers to write their memoirs, or biography's, as the whole world would love to buy and read a book about a "Published Author" such as themselves.
    Legally, wouldn't this be very different then a writer coming to PA with a manuscript or would this still be seen as business to business?

  9. #3134
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctripp View Post
    . . . Legally, wouldn't this be very different then a writer coming to PA with a manuscript or would this still be seen as business to business?
    It is the contract between PA and an author that makes it "business to business." The author, as author, is a business. Yes, yes, it is a deceptive relationship, but still, that is what it is. But if John Smith orders a copy of Jane Q. Doe's PA-printed book, THAT is a consumer transaction between John and PA (or between John and whatever seller he has ordered the book from).

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  10. #3135
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Just got information from my publisher that the director of Barnes and Noble wants my book in their bookstores. Also, my book can be bought online and it will also be available on the Nook. This summer has been great from the beginning.
    Honestly, I don't know whether to be heartbroken or amused that that person can't tell the difference between personal correspondence and a mass e-mailing. Probably a little of both.
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  11. #3136
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Just saw a FaceBook notice. The writer thinks his 9.95 PA book is a "recession-option."

    The poor writer thinks his book will be in Walmart, KMart, and other stores.

    The poor writer thinks that PA will print copies in the thousands to supply to those outlets.

    The poor writer is due for a nasty shock.

    Get this, PA lurkers: PA only prints a book when it is ordered.

    No one can order a book unless they know it exists.

    No one from Walmart to the Circle K up the road will have your book on the shelves because PA has no distribution whatever its price.

    Test this. Go into your local Walmart and TRY to order a PA book. I guarantee you they won't do it. They have specific suppliers.

    You might as well ask their clothing department to order you the latest Armani or Dior. It just ain't gonna happen.

    Available AT (and "to") stores doesn't mean available IN!

    PA is just yanking you around to get you to buy more books. YOU are their best and likely ONLY customer for your work.

  12. #3137
    figuring it all out Neil Larkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    Honestly, I don't know whether to be heartbroken or amused that that person can't tell the difference between personal correspondence and a mass e-mailing. Probably a little of both.
    Definitely a mass e-mailing. Yesterday (Aug. 11) the first announcement of this so-called news and how to activate it - just buy 4 of your softcovers - and today (Aug. 12) of a "low-barrier" (read: you only have to buy 2 softcover books) activation. [Note: I don't know how to paste the original emails into this reply and I don't have the time to rewrite them. Anyone who has gotten these and is willing to post them here is appreciated.]
    I would be interested in who this "Barnes and Noble director Marcella Smith" really is. What does she actually direct? Yesterdays announcement just said she was "a director in their headquarters". Whatever, she was "all excited" - an exact quote, according to PA's post - about the prospects of getting availability to PA's books and placing them on their e-reader fee-free Nook for "this summer". [Seems a little odd that B&N would still be in the acquisition stage for a release "this summer" when this summer is almost over.]
    What I have also been interested in is a statement that has been made at the end of each announcement these past several weeks. This statement always pertains to the softcovers. It says that if you are required to buy softcovers on a particular promoton, but don't have a softcover and place an order anyway, that you will be "wasting" or "losing" your money. This tells me that they won't reject the payment on the purchase, but definitely will take your money and not send you anything. So be forewarned, author, PA says: We're openly declaring that we will rob you IF YOU DON'T WATCH OUT. Hmm.
    Neil
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  13. #3138
    figuring it all out Neil Larkins's Avatar
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    Oh, one thing I meant to add: There is no mention - none - in either of these PA mailings as to what the selling price will be on those B&N Nooks (if indeed it acually happens). E-books are going to sell - have been selling - much, much cheaper than the paper versions, even the best-selling author. What will all the PA unknowns sell for, a buck, two? If the royalty stands at the current percentage, that would mean only pennies per book to the author. But in the absence of any information on this subject the author is, at this point, totally in the dark as to what sort of royalty he/she will receive.
    Neil
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  14. #3139
    practical experience, FTW AudioGenius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Larkins View Post
    I would be interested in who this "Barnes and Noble director Marcella Smith" really is. What does she actually direct? Yesterdays announcement just said she was "a director in their headquarters". Whatever, she was "all excited" - an exact quote, according to PA's post - about the prospects of getting availability to PA's books and placing them on their e-reader fee-free Nook for "this summer".
    Ms. Smith appears to be the Director of Small Press Relations for B&N. Here is an article (dated 2004), but the info may still apply for the most part.
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  15. #3140
    Sleep. Eat. Write. Wrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Larkins View Post
    [Note: I don't know how to paste the original emails into this reply and I don't have the time to rewrite them. Anyone who has gotten these and is willing to post them here is appreciated.]
    I copied and pasted the B&N eBook emails over in the Rotating Emails thread, but here they are again in case someone is only browsing this thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by email #1
    Dear author:

    The news from Barnes and Noble is getting better and better. We just got off the phone with a director in their headquarters.


    Now they want your book and make it available as a Barnes and Noble e-book this summer.



    Here's the beauty of Barnes and Noble: they don't just passively put an e-book on the internet. They actively carry it in each of their many bookstores. What this means is that your e-book will be stocked and immediately available in every single Barnes and Noble store.


    They are totally relying for their future profitability on e-book related sales. Barnes and Noble has invested enormous amounts in upgrading its digital world, and they report top sales for their Nook e-reader. If you have visited a Barnes and Noble store lately, you must have seen their Nook corner. PublishAmerica is willing to partner with them on e-books as long as they charge no fee.


    Do you want your book made available as a Barnes and Noble e-book, both online and in their bookstores? Barnes and Noble will carry your book in all of their many hundreds of superstores.


    To qualify, go to
    www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: EBarnes40 . Minimum order volume is 4 copies. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under the EBarnes40 coupon will not be processed, so you'll be losing your money if you try.
    We'll see you in a Barnes and Noble store near you!
    --PublishAmerica Author Support Team
    Quote Originally Posted by email #2
    Dear author:

    Follow-up for those of you who couldn't or wouldn't activate their Barnes and Noble e-book yesterday. There is now also a low-barrier activation.

    Remember, after we talked to Barnes and Noble director Marcella Smith who was all excited, in her own words: "about the progress we're making on getting access through [wholesaler] Baker and Taylor to the PublishAmerica titles for our [Barnes and Noble's] customers", this was the big news:

    They want your book and make it available as a Barnes and Noble e-book this summer.

    Barnes and Noble actively carries its e-books not only online but in each of their many hundreds of bookstores. What this means is that your e-book will be stocked and immediately available in every single Barnes and Noble store. PublishAmerica has said that it is willing to partner with them on e-books as long as they charge no fee.
    Here's the low-barrier option: go to www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon:
    EBarnes25. Minimum order volume is only 2 copies. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under any EBarnes coupon will not be processed, so you'll be losing your money if you try.
    The
    EBarnes40 coupon remains valid also. It gives you the better discount, and priority conversion as soon as Barnes and Noble opens their fee-free program this summer; minimum volume is 4 copies.

    We'll see you in a Barnes and Noble store near you!
    --PublishAmerica Author Support Team
    Also, it's been speculated that perhaps if an author orders something other than softcover, that they will receive whatever they ordered, but not at discount or attached to any deals. Could be wrong though.
    "Written words are like runaway trains. They can crush a man or bring him to places he never dreamed possible."

  16. #3141
    figuring it all out Neil Larkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AudioGenius View Post
    Ms. Smith appears to be the Director of Small Press Relations for B&N. Here is an article (dated 2004), but the info may still apply for the most part.
    This still seems to be the case. [Look, Ma. I can Google with one finger.] One source gives Ms. Smith's title as Director of Small Press and Vendor Relations at B&N. Interesting that PA would not use the terms "small press" or "vendor" in referring to her or mention her title at all. They just said she is "a director." Still, since PA is yet the publisher of my book, don't I have the right to be informed of the terms of this new relationship with B&N, that is, what they will pay for my book?

    ObviousMan says: "You used the word 'right' and PA in the same sentence. You should know the answer to your question."

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  17. #3142
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    "As long as they charge no fee."

    We've seen that twice now, and I'm starting to wonder:

    Does B&N charge publishers a fee to be allowed to join this program? That is, will PA take their authors' money, then say, "B&N charges a fee! No deal! No way! We told you we wouldn't do it if they charged a fee!"

  18. #3143
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    That was my first thought. I'm also thinking they're talking about a mass upload to B&N's new PubIt! system (but of course leading PAuthors to believe it's the Nook program(s)).
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  19. #3144
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillhoughly View Post
    Just saw a FaceBook notice. The writer thinks his 9.95 PA book is a "recession-option.". . . .
    Real recession options include borrowing books from library, buying dirt-cheap used books at library sales and similar used-book sales, and buying from used book stores (where books can also be turned in for credit toward future purchases). The competition is fierce for the reader's dollar (and attention).

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  20. #3145
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    That was my first thought. I'm also thinking they're talking about a mass upload to B&N's new PubIt! system (but of course leading PAuthors to believe it's the Nook program(s)).
    As well as leading the authors to believe it's something special, rather than something that anybody with a digital file could do with the push of a button.

    Folks, I think I'll make sure Atlanta Nights is available by PubIt.

  21. #3146
    practical experience, FTW AudioGenius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    As well as leading the authors to believe it's something special, rather than something that anybody with a digital file could do with the push of a button.

    Folks, I think I'll make sure Atlanta Nights is available by PubIt.
    *sigh* That book is truly a phenomenal example of what a group of skilled writers can do when they put their minds together.
    <Insert clever remark here>

  22. #3147
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Folks, lemme tell ya something.

    I've got a nook.

    I download e-books from Barnes & Noble online all the time (come on, Free Friday!)

    The trouble is, e-books ARE just "passively" uploaded to the net.

    Yeah, you'll be able to "actively" find a PA e-book in a bricks-'n'-mortar B&N.

    Technically.

    But you know what?

    E-books aren't physically available. Anywhere. Ever. At. All.

    But you already knew that.

    If you're in a bricks-'n'-mortar B&N store, you'll have to use a wi-fi enabled device such as a laptop or a B&N nook to get online so you can find these e-books.

    You probably already knew that, too.

    You'll also have to know which PA book you're looking for.

    But chances are slim you will.

    Surprised?

    Thought not.
    Last edited by BenPanced; 08-13-2010 at 07:42 AM.
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  23. #3148
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    "As long as they charge no fee."

    We've seen that twice now, and I'm starting to wonder:

    Does B&N charge publishers a fee to be allowed to join this program? That is, will PA take their authors' money, then say, "B&N charges a fee! No deal! No way! We told you we wouldn't do it if they charged a fee!"

    I noticed that too and you beat me to the same observation.

    Yours is better written, though!

    I'm laying down a 1-dollar bet--it's *symbolic!!*--that PA finds a way to

    a) get writers to buy their books as a condition to get in on this "deal"

    b) declare that B&N wants a whacking great fee, thus giving PA an easy out

    c) PA keeps the money

    d) the writers wonder WTF just happened

    Miranda, Larry-- you're too predictable. Next time surprise us. Return all the contracts to the writers and take off for Dubai. Willie can give you a lift in the Hellocopter II unless he's hiding out from the IRS in Amsterdam.

  24. #3149
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    I'd like to echo BenPanced. I think that part of the purpose of this is to counter PA "naysayers" who point to the lack of store availability as part of PA's deceptive practices. The email is their attempt to say that if you go down the eBook route then of course your book will be available in stores.

    The fact that it won't be there physically is just a trivial detail.

    MM

  25. #3150
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    I went over to B&N's Pubit site and they haven't officially launched yet. They're collecting information from those who are interested in the service, however, and they'll be contacted after it goes live. Nothing about any fees, though.
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.



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