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[ePub] PaperBox Books

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TechieMoe

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I signed a contract with an e-Publisher two years ago for one of my books, and to make a long story short I'm not happy with the way they're handling it. It has sat languishing in the 3 million+ and lower rankings on Amazon with no active promotion save the initial announcement on their less-than-well-trafficked blog. I've tried to talk to them about marketing it better and even releasing me from my contract all together but nothing has improved in 2 years.

The company was originally run by 2 people, and one of them left. That should have been my first clue that something was wrong, but I digress. Their website hasn't been updated since July, and the last email I received was September. Now I'm stuck with a contract for another year on two of my books and 2 years on a third, and they've stopped answering my emails completely.

I don't have a physical address for the company to send them a certified letter, or a phone number to call. The company is based in Vancouver, and I'm in Texas. Does anyone have an idea on what I can do?
 

CaoPaux

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Moved from E-Publishing to BR&BC.
 

TechieMoe

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TechieMoe

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What are the details in your contract about terminating the agreement and so forth?

Have you received regular royalty payments, etc.?

I have received some royalty payments, but I wouldn't call them regular. My contract has a minimum sales clause for getting out (less than 50 in a year) but it doesn't kick in until the initial term of 3 years is up. I honestly have no idea how many copies of the books have been sold because my sales reports are incomplete and just as sporadic as the payments.

I can also choose to terminate, but again only after the initial 3 years, and only on 6 months advance notice. I have that covered, considering I'm more than a year out before the first term lapses.

The kicker is that when I did talk to Sue she was very nice and seemed to be trying to make things work, but she's just dropped off the face of the earth lately. I think if I could get her to talk to me we could work out an amicable separation. Geez, this sounds like a divorce.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Their blog only has a few posts and has garnered no comments.

Her last tweet (other than one re-tweet early this year) was from May of 2011, saying, "RT @S_NelsonBuckley: anyone know of a 2 bedroom apt or condo near BC Children's that can be rented for August? Pls let me know."

BC Children's is a hospital. This suggests health problems in the family about the time she dropped off the face of the earth. And that brings us back to the problem of dealing with a publisher that's basically a one-man show. If anything happens to that one person all the authors are out of luck.
 

TechieMoe

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Their blog only has a few posts and has garnered no comments.

Her last tweet (other than one re-tweet early this year) was from May of 2011, saying, "RT @S_NelsonBuckley: anyone know of a 2 bedroom apt or condo near BC Children's that can be rented for August? Pls let me know."

BC Children's is a hospital. This suggests health problems in the family about the time she dropped off the face of the earth. And that brings us back to the problem of dealing with a publisher that's basically a one-man show. If anything happens to that one person all the authors are out of luck.

...Aaaaand I feel like a horrible person for getting mad at her now.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Don't. It's a business. Businesses need to be businesslike, regardless of what's going on in the employees' lives.

If she was going to have to choose between the business and family, she needed to release all the rights back to the authors rather than vanish. Communication is a good thing. "Here's what's going on...." and a lot of uncertainty would have been erased.
 

Letter Kyew

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I live about 40 minutes from Vancouver and I've not heard of them, so even locally they don't leave much of an impression. On the other hand, I don't get out much and am horribly unobservant.
 

frimble3

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I live about 40 minutes from Vancouver and I've not heard of them, so even locally they don't leave much of an impression. On the other hand, I don't get out much and am horribly unobservant.

Also living near Vancouver, used to live in New Westminster, and also never heard of them. What's interesting though, (because I also don't get out much) is that the website apparently doesn't want us to find them, Google-map them, etc. There's not even a P.O. Box, if she's shy about posting her actual business location (which she would be, if she's working out of her home, for instance). The only mention of anything identifiable is that she's done social media seminars at Douglas College, a community college in New Westminster. In 2010.

But, yeah, perils of the one-man show.
 

TechieMoe

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Thanks everyone for your help. I called the number for Sue's consulting company and left a voicemail with my contact information. I'll post back when something happens.
 

TechieMoe

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Things aren't looking good this week. Emails and voicemail are still unanswered. I'm seriously looking at damage control now.

Regarding the books I have on Amazon - Paperbox was only responsible for the ebooks, not the paperbacks (I handle those myself through CreateSpace). If I call up Amazon and tell them there's a dispute over rights for the ebooks, will they knee-jerk and pull my paperbacks as well? I'd like to avoid that if possible. Will Amazon even do anything with the ebooks since I'm not the publisher?

You've all been very helpful so far. Hopefully someone has a bit more information for me. Thanks in advance!
 
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TechieMoe

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I'm answering my own post, but this information might be useful to someone else in the future. I called Amazon Author Central and they said the listing for the ebook and the listing for the paperbacks are treated as separate entities in their system, so even if the ebooks were taken down or put out of print it wouldn't affect my paperbacks. That's a relief.

Sadly they couldn't offer much advice on the rights situation for the ebooks themselves. I'm not surprised - it's not really their business. Anyway, just FYI for everyone.
 

TechieMoe

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I got Sue Buckley on the phone today, and she's officially shutting down Paperbox Books. She apologized for everything and assured me a written rights reversion is coming. She's going to take down the KDP account tonight and switch over control of the Smashwords account to me.

It looks like this may be all over soon. I'll keep you all posted.
 
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TechieMoe

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It's over. I got my official "Paperbox is closed, here's your rights back" document signed by Sue. This has been a learning experience. Thanks everyone for your help. This thread can be closed now.
 

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