Question: If a company declares bankruptcy because it cannot pay its debts and then cheats its remaining authors while committing wide-scale piracy, could there possibly be a greater sin for the publisher to commit? Well, if your answer was that the publisher could sell out to Amazon, you might be right.
The late, unlamented Dorchester Publishing is finally completely dead, and in the next few months the corpse is going to go up for auction. Right now Amazon is the only interested party, but there’s always a chance someone might outbid them.
In exchange for a payment of $3.4m to the primary debtor, Amazon will be getting sorce files, paperwork, the office furniture, metadata, and pretty much anything left laying around.
Amazon will also be getting the existing contracts for Dorchester’s backlist, but there’s a catch. If I’m reading the legal announcement correctly, Amazon (or whoever buys Dorchester) will still need to get the authors to sign off on the deal. There’s also a mention that unpaid royalties, some of which date back a couple years now, still have to be paid to the authors. And that’s the full unpaid royalties, not some negotiated underpayment.
Say what you will about Amazon, but the authors are still going to come out ahead in this deal.