2016 has already brutally winnowed book industry blogs, and now it has claimed an ebook retailer.
All Romance eBooks has posted a notice on its site with the news that it is shutting down.
It is with a great sadness that we announce the closing of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. Despite efforts to maintain and grow our market share, sales and profits have declined. The financial forecast for 2017 isn't hopeful. We've accepted that there is not a viable path forward.
All Romance has always been a labor of love. Over the years we've developed wonderful relationships with the vendors we've worked with, the publishers whose content it's been our pleasure to sell, the authors who supported us, and the customers who it's been our honor to serve. On midnight, December 31 our sites will go dark. Between now and then, we encourage consumers finalize any transactions, download purchases, and back up libraries.
If you directly publish content for sale through our platform or All Romance has acted as your publisher via our Publishing in Partnership program, you should be in receipt of an email from us with additional information. If not, please contact us at [email protected]
Like BooksonBoard, which abruptly shut down in 2013, All Romance eBooks has collapsed under a ton of debt.
There are several reports over at The Passive Voice (where I first learned of the closure) that ARE is offering authors and publishers ten cents on the dollar for their overdue royalty payments.
And unfortunately for me, they owe me money.
They’re asking for a settlement of .10 on the dollar for money owed. I’m not taking it, because of the amount of money they owe me. I’m also concerned that the settlement could count as preferential payments that’ll be at risk of being clawed back if they do end up in bankruptcy.
Edit: And there are reports on KBoards that ARE is giving customers only four days to download their books before the servers are turned off. That might be a little difficult given that the site has slashdotted itself and is no longer accessible.
Edit: The Romance Writers of America (RWA) has commented on the closure, saying that the "RWA finds it unconscionable for the owner of ARe to withhold information so long and to continue selling books through the end of the month when the company cannot pay commissions. RWA contacted ARe but has not yet received a response."
Edit: And it gets worse. ARE was pre-selling adverts for 2017 only days before announcing the shutdown. They were asking for thousands of dollars for a single ad. Hopefully ARE's victims will be able to use their credit cards to get the money back.
Edit: Authors published by ARE won't be so lucky. They're getting bupkis for their unpaid royalties. They've been offered rights reversion on condition that they consider this "a negotiated settlement of your account to be paid in full".
This is a mess all around.
image by cowbite