So, the big talk on the internet today, at least with romance writers, has been the closure of the All Romance Ebooks (ARe) website. This morning, a message went up on the site that says:
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.”
So, I got an email this morning basically telling me that my royalties for Q4 1016 will be paid $0.10 on the dollar earned. The website is basically trying to avoid bankruptcy fees and is hoping all the authors will help out in this. The email also states that answers to the email to settle accounts and money owed will take priority of answering questions about the whole closing of the site.
It’s sending shock waves through the romance writing community. Speculation of why it is closing down is running rampant. Authors that were published by them will only get their rights reverted back to them, and that is all. In the world of self-publishing and dealing with small presses, this is something to be on the look out for. Who you decide to publish with and how it’s done can matter down the road.
ARe also had been sending me info on promos for Boxing Day and even an email to advertise in 2017, adding a comment that space was filling fast. I have since been really budgeting my money for ads and using mostly Facebook and doing my own promotions. So, I really wasn’t interested in those offers, especially since my books hadn’t really been doing all that well over the last year. Basically, ARe owes me $0.59 or $0.05 if I claim it under the terms they’ve sent me.
What is a take away from this? Watch who you publish with, and really investigate who you self-publish with. Of course, ARe has been considered a very good website in the past. So, this seems a little unexpected. But speculation does center around how it couldn’t keep up with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program and that the website wasn’t being kept updated with the newest technology. But who is to say what really happened.
I’m about to release my first full novel, Everything For Love, exclusive to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited for the first three months. I’m going to see how it does, and have it go wide if it warrants it later. We’ll have to see. I want to try to see if it does well, but after seeing something like this happen, I’m not hesitant much anymore. It seems like a sound way to release my book to my readers. With the way the ebook industry changes on a dime, this new turn of events could be the start of a new phase, Amazon taking on a bigger share of ereaders.
Here is the link to All Romance Ebooks. It will only work until December 31, 2016. If you’re a reader, you have just a few days to go and download your library to your computer or ereader. It will go dark at midnight Jan. 1, 2017.
Personally, this is kind of a horrible thing to do to writers, but business is business. It’s sad to see a place that specialized in romance ebooks go. Good-bye ARe! It’s been nice knowing ya!
UPDATE 12/29/16: Romance Writers of America has blogged about this as well. They basically think it stinks for the website to be open until Dec. 31 selling books, but will pay royalties up through Dec. 27, and $0.10 on the dollar if you settle.
Here is the link to the blog post:
Plus, here is the email sent to publishers that I got yesterday morning. After reading different blogs and other opinions, I decided it should be posted, as a red flag to retailers or publishers or anyone else that thinks that scaring authors and asking them to sell themselves short is an option. Don’t. This shouldn’t be a precedent set on how to end a retailer business relationship with readers, authors and publishers.
“To Whom It May Concern:
It is with great sadness I announce that we are winding down the operations of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful and we’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you. On midnight, December 31, our sites will go dark and your content will cease to be available for sale through our platforms. This includes any content you are having us distribute to Apple. If you wish to inactivate your content sooner, you can do so by logging into your publisher portal.
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.
If you are willing to accept the offered amount and the terms proposed, please hit the reply on this email keeping the history intact. Change the subject to “Publisher Settlement Acceptance” and copy/paste the acceptance statement below into your email, filling in the fields.
Upon receipt of the signed agreement, I will authorize payment of the settlement amount in full by 28 February 2016 via the method stipulated in your publisher account.
It is my sincere hope that we will be able to settle this account and avoid filing for bankruptcy, which would undoubtedly be a prolonged and costl y process.
I appreciate that you may have questions. Unfortunately, we will be operating with limited staff as we prepare for closure. We will do our best to respond to the extent possible and will do so in the order received. Our priority over the next few weeks will be processing settlement requests. At this time, there is no additional information to share.
I thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
All Romance Ebooks, LLC
Acceptance of Agreement:
I accept the terms of the attached proposed settlement on this date.
The author’s sub mission of the information entered by selection of the submit button below shall constitute author’s signature signifying acceptance of this Agreement with the intent that it be valid for all purposes and in compliance with the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 and the laws of any other applicable jurisdiction.
Please note: This message is intended for use by the person or entity to which it is addressed. Please do not disseminate, distribute or copy. If you have received this message by error, please notify us immediately and destroy the related message. Re-disclosure without appropriate consent is prohibited.”
So there is everything in all of its splendor. I’ll be happy to let you know I didn’t send back an answer to this. I guess I’m just happy I saw the writing on the wall, and published my own books under my publishing account. I’m only losing $0.59. Though, I really feel for the other authors and publishers that worked with All Romance Ebooks. They were a really big romance book store and really brought in an income for some people. They just didn’t work out for my books and now I’m kind of happy about that they didn’t. RIP ARe! You join the many things to die in 2016.
To my readers:
Let me know if there are problems downloading books from ARe. I haven’t sold any books there really over the last year. So, I don’t think any of my readers will suffer too much. IF you have problems downloading one of my books from your All Romance library, send me a message with a pic/copy of receipt in your library or take a screen shot. You can still take screen shots from the site until Dec. 31.
I only had three books on there, so all of my box sets were not included on the site. But I’d honor helping you out if you had any of the three novellas in the Beware of Warlocks series. I’m sorry this has happened, and I think everyone is trying to help each other out. It’s nice to see the Romance community, publishers, authors and readers, coming together to make this less painful.
Additional Update: Dec. 30th, 2016
A Facebook Group has been started for those authors wishing to ban together and take legal action against All Romance Ebooks. They are headed by a Florida lawyer. If you’ve lost money, here is the place to find out more info and talk to others with the same issues.
Search in FB groups for: “P*ssed Off (Former) ARe Authors”.
Additional Information: Dec. 31. 2016
This story keeps growing daily. So, I just keep adding updates to the original post. According to BC Blog
, the CEO Lori James, had most likely been planning this for two years. In 2014, Lori James claimed her co-partner and financial manager in ARe, Barbara Perfectti Ulmer to be unfit for duty due to mental disability with the help of a psychicatrist in San Diego. Law suits were filed in relation with Ulmer claiming James was keeping her from operating procedures and information in regards to the site. Basically, Lori James took over at the end of November 2014, making herself CEO and paying herself for the first time a large salary.
I have also gone back and checked my records on the site, gotten copies and downloaded documents of sales records. So far, I don’t see any payments having been made to me. My time selling on the site is Nov. 2o13-Dec. 2016. In all that time, I never got a payment. In fact, I was subtracted money apparently that was “Overpaid” in the Q3 2014 quarter, about the time Lori James took over. Of course, I thought it was because I was supposed to make over $25 before I got paid. As of the sales records I downloaded, ARe owed me $20.03 with the minus of supposed over payment(which I never received, it was just subtracted from my balance), I was owed $14.63. I have the report in Excel form. I’ve been working hard to get as much from the website as I can before everything goes dark tonight.
I’m not sure what will end up happening, but it doesn’t seem that someone that is so unscrupulous with their business partner is really trying to help out the publishers or authors with a $0.10 on the dollar payout. Most blogs and writing board discussions have brought up bankruptcy laws that might even have some creditors(authors) return that amount so they can go back through the assets and redistribute it equally.
So, another take away, we always try to be honest and good in most business transactions. Good business sense lends to that. But there are bad people out there that will just take advantage of a situation pretending to be nice. That’s the time to fight back so others will think twice about it in the future. I think the only way to get through this is to fight back with other authors and publishers, and try to give the message that this is not the way to do business with Indie authors and publishers in the future.
UPDATES Continuing: Jan. 1, 2017
All Romance Ebooks and OmniLit are no longer working. But the AReCafe, a site similar to a blog and full of author interviews, reviews,etc., is still up and functioning.
Don’t know what this means. But ads and features are dated from Dec. 28, 2016 in some of the features. So, at least some writers still got their money’s worth for those features. Still keeping an eye on things. I’ve been updating and compiling all the information in updates on my original post. Sorry if it seems messy. But this story grows each day.
UPDATE Jan. 2, 2017
The publishers/authors portal is still working. I just logged into my account, and it all works. You can’t delete files, but can deactivate them. Reports can still be downloaded if you need to back things up.
Here’s the link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/publishers.html