Update: And now that firm has filed their lawsuit.
I've just been given a link toposted on the website of Giskan, Solotaroff, Anderson, & Stewart, a Manhattan-based law firm that specializes in class action and commercial litigation. The law firm:
is currently investigating the practices of Author Solutions and all of its brands (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, Inkubook, and Wordclay). Authors using Author Solutions have complained of deceptive practices, including enticing authors to purchase promotional services that are not provided or are worthless, failing to pay royalties, and spamming authors and publishing blogs/sites with promotional material.
They are seeking authors who have had negative encounters with Author Solutions. (Gee, I don't think they'll have much trouble finding them.) There's no evidence yet that the law firm intends to file suit, but given Author Solution's infamous reputation in the self-pub community I should think that a class-action lawsuit is inevitable.
This, folks, is what I had been waiting for ever since Pearson made it clear that they weren't going to reform Author Solutions. That fly-by-night firm and their various brands have a history of questionable business practices that goes back for at least a decade, with some of the brands having been in operation since the late 1990s. Pearson acquired Author Solutions in mid-2012 for $115 million and have since used it to launch new self-pub services in partnership with Penguin India (Partridge) and S&S (Archway).
That firm has always been a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen but now that it is owned by Pearson there are some very deep pockets to go after. In fact, I would bet that this is just the first of many lawsuits currently in the works. This is just one firm that posted a public notice; I would bet that the rest are quietly reaching out to disgruntled ex-ASI customers via complaint boards and forums.
In the next few months we are probably going to hear about other firms which are also working towards filing class action lawsuits against Pearson/ASI. I have to say that I am looking forward to it; the lawsuits will be entertaining and stand as a warning to any of the other major publishers that are thinking about following in Pearson's footsteps.
image by Ana Paula Hirama