Scammers Break The Kindle Store

Found this through Ilona Andrews blog post on the subject.

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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Beware of Sharks in Publisher’s Clothing

DO you read The Book Designer? If not, then you should and here is one excellent post why.

 

Tate Publishing bit the dust and formally closed its doors on January 24, 2017. There are millions of dollars in lawsuits including one from Lightning Source (that’s Ingram) for over $1.8 million. In February, a default judgment was entered against Tate when its owners did a no-show in court. I can’t even imagine the number of authors and books who have been damaged.

Why another column on what I call the Publishing Predators?

  1. The self-publishing / indie publishing avenues now publish far more books than the traditional publishing stream from New York.
  2. Whenever there is growth, it identifies opportunity.
  3. Opportunity encourages darker forces to surface. The floodgates opened for self-publishing went into high drive when Amazon introduced BookSurge, the predecessor of CreateSpace in 2007. Scammers paid attention.
  4. In other words, scammers, publishing cons and publishing predators are breeding.

 

Continue reading here.

The Return of the Prodigal Publisher (Engler/Black)

It’s been too long, dear readers, since I’ve posted about any sort of bad behavior in the book community. But before we commence, the 28th is rapidly approaching and you all need to download any books purchased from Samhain because they are closing for real on that date.

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Now, let’s talk about another ebook publisher, namely EC for Books, previously known as Ellora’s Cave. It is now dead and gone but still causing problems for authors as I wrote here, but then it seems that there is also:

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And this:

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Somebody asks the pertinent question:

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So, EC is/isn’t sending 1099s to authors that may or may not have received the royalties claimed in the 1099. It also sounds like Torquere isn’t bothering to send any at all. Ah, the glamorous life of the author. Now, I’ve been wondering what Tina Engler/Jaid Black would come up with next because those ill-gotten royalties aren’t going to last forever.

Yesterday:

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Yes, she’s back and selling not one but five ebooks on Amazon, the business she (tried to) blame for her company’s financial woes. Let’s take a look. (Since I started this post she has added three more.)

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Now, do you notice anything? Look closer. Closer.

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Valentina Antonia? Who? What?

 

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Well that’s really not helpful. And Riley Park? I looked up Riley and this popped up:

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Looks like Engler/Black has hidden herself or is trying to hide herself behind a registered agent service. Notice the filing date. Don’t you just love a woman who plans ahead?

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“When you create a Wyoming corporation or Wyoming LLC, you are forming a legal entity that does not have the ability to communicate on its own.” Engler/Black has never had any problem not communicating before. “If your business is ever sued…” Uh, we all know she’s more likely to sue than be sued but there is always a second time (the first being Chris Brashears). Add to that no taxes and the anonymity of not having any member names listed anywhere and it does seem that E/B has found her idea of consequence free heaven.

Engler/Black and her mother, Patty Marks, left quite a mess behind them and now it seems that E/B is trying to shake off the consequences of her own actions and start over with a clean slate while the authors she cheated are still trying to recoup their financial losses, republish their books, and maybe deal with a 1099 for money they never collected.

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Posted from Galit.

 

“We did our part…”

Let’s file this under “bitch, please”.

On January 2 Jaid Black posted this on her FB page:

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This was the first time in, well, quite  a while that she has mentioned EC. And when someone posted their regrets for the closing she had this to say:

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“No longer worth it”? Not enough authors left that she wanted to not pay royalties to, I guess. And on a post about the sudden closing of All Romance Ebooks she offered up another excuse:

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The “Amazon did it” excuse. Amazon did not not pay EC but EC sure as hell did not pay part of their authors. EC/Jaid Black/Patty Marks never seemed to understand that Amazon wasn’t going to roll over and give them special treatment because they thought they deserved it. Black played the victim for years.

And there were, and still are, plenty who think she is. Or maybe just a weak-minded, dull-witted, easily duped fragile flower.

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Aaaannnnd Kevin Weinberg gets it wrong, so wrong, again. Oh, he never got paid but the reasons why were much different than he wants Redditors to believe. They had a falling out over politics for sure but Weinberg was stupid enough to tell her to her FB face that he knew better than she did about racial discrimination. (My sympathies were totally with Black on this one.)

Not surprised he didn’t get paid. Not surprised that it wasn’t his fault. Really, these two were a match made in denial heaven. And speaking of denial heaven, Black posted this today:

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So many retorts spring to mind. I do love the “We cannot continue to expend time on an endeavor that provides us with no income” line. Isn’t that what part of your authors were doing? They received no income, EC got the money, the authors got nothing but insults and accusations. I love that Black tries to herself in with the affected authors because we all know that if Amazon doesn’t correct this problem soon that Black/Marks/EC will be receiving money from Amazon and all those other authors won’t.

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Publisher All Romance Ebooks: Closing Hits New Low In Stealing From Authors

Author Celia Summers has posted an excellent piece on blogcritics about the sudden closing and less than savory actions of ARe.

The ebook industry has undergone several transitions in the past few years, where authors have become increasingly victimized by e-pirates, vanity presses, and scams designed to keep writers from making money on their intellectual property. Earlier today, December 28, 2016, the industry hit a new low when longtime e-tailer All Romance E-Books (Are), LLC (with its non-romance genre partner Omni Lit) released a surprise notice to its authors and publishers. ARe’s CEO and owner, Lori James, announced that the retailer was closing its doors in three days’ time.

What makes this so terrible is not the fact that they’re closing. What makes this so terrible is how they’re doing it:

We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016. We also request the following conditions:
1. That you consider this negotiated settlement to be “paid in full”.
2. That no further legal action be taken with regards to the above referenced commissions owed.

Wait…what?

Link to the full article.

Torquere Press Is Closing

Writer Beware announces another publisher is closing, like EC for Books (Ellora’s Cave) Torquere Press has spent the last year or so giving part of their authors nothing but problems so this is not exactly a surprise. And like EC even the closing will give their authors nothing but another massive headache.

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Troubled publisher Torquere Press is closing. Owners Kristi Boulware and Joanna Talbot announced their decision yesterday in an email that will doubtless infuriate many authors, but probably won’t surprise them:

We have thought long and hard about where things are with Torquere and made the very hard decision that we need to begin the process of closing this chapter of our lives….We have done everything we could to turn things around but with the saturation in the industry, the financial hardships we are in, my health in constant decline along with the negativity we have had hurdled our way. We feel like we are currently fighting an uphill battle.

For the complete text see here.

Just getting picky here but shouldn’t that be hurtled not hurdled?