When B&N launched its new author services website last November, I speculated that the over-priced packages offered on that site were actually provided by the notorious vanity press Author Solutions.
I couldn't find a clear link, and B&N wouldn't discuss the topic (even though I kept asking), but now I have proof.
David Gaughran just posted a screenshot of the agreement between B&N and
its victims writers using the service. He got it from a source with Penguin Random house, Author Solutions' parent company. Note the address in section 5.2.1:
If you can't see it, the last line says that the mailing address for Nook Press Author Services is 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.
That, folks, is the home office of Author Solutions.
Barnes & Noble hasn't publicly disclosed this connection in the press release, the publicly available ToS, or in the FAQ (I looked, and so did many other people). They also wouldn't respond when I asked back in November who was providing the new services.
But now we know.
I do see why B&N avoided telling us the truth; Author Solutions has well-deserved reputation as a scammy vanity press which sells sub-standard and over-priced services and then pressures authors into buying useless marketing packages.
ASI is so bad that it was sued in 2013 by several authors it scammed. In spite of ASI's best efforts, that lawsuit lives on and was just certified for class-action last week.
And that brings me to some other interesting news. Filings from that lawsuit confirm the business deal between B&N and Author Solutions, and they also tell us why B&N struck the deal:
That statement is based on depositions of a couple key Author Solutions managers, Keith Ogorek, Senior Vice President of Marketing, and Don Seitz, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. The depositions taken during the discovery process for the ongoing class action lawsuit, and then filed last week by the plaintiff's attorneys
Both cited individuals report directly to Author Solutions CEO Andrew Phillips.
Folks, B&N isn't just ripping authors off; they're also pimping authors out to a known scammer. And it gets worse.
- Service providers, subcontractors and agents who perform services on our behalf. We provide personal information to third party service providers, subcontractors, and agents that work under contract on our behalf to provide certain services. These third parties do not have the right to use personal information we provide to them in any way that is not authorized by Barnes & Noble. They are contractually obligated to use such information only as necessary to assist us and to maintain the confidentiality and security of such information.
Given that B&N has already gotten down in the muck with Author Solutions, do you really think they won't take the next step and sell their client list to the publishing industry's equivalent of a Nigerian prince?
If you can believe that then I have a bridge to sell you.