New Podcast: Between the Sheets, with Taylor Marsh

BOMBSHELL NEWS rocked the romance publishing world at the end of December when All Romance eBooks, LLC (ARe) announced, without any prior warning or notice, that it was closing up shop.

That’s the headline of my podcast this week because it’s not every day that a gigantic publishing site folds and stiffs its readers and authors. The site has now been taken offline, which is the simple message you get if you try to access it.

The other part of the podcast is about Jessica Chastain in “Miss Sloane,” which I wrote about briefly after I saw the film.

Back to ARe… The Guardian picked up the story, as did Bustle.

One of the biggest genre ebook distributors in the US has closed suddenly, leaving thousands of authors in the UK and US out of pocket. AllRomance.com and its sister company OmniLit are the latest casualties of the downturn in the market for digital books.

Customers were given four days in which to use up credits, download purchases and back up libraries or face losing them. The distributor’s 5,000 authors and publishers, which include major players such as Mills & Boon, were given three days’ notice of closure.

The news broke at the end of last week in an email from owner Lori James, who also writes romances as Samantha Sommersby. She wrote that the company was unable to pay fourth-quarter liabilities in full and proposed royalties of 10%, rather than 60%, for books sold up to 27 December.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books was crestfallen at the news.

Below is the email I received from All Romance LLC’s Lori James, aka Samantha Somersby, because I’d inquired about advertising last year. I explain my interaction in the podcast.

If you Google Samantha Somersby, the pseudonym for Lori James, check out her romance books on Amazon and you’ll see that she’s getting flamed by a few readers and others in the review section and some of her pages have been removed.

Let’s just say, my feelings about All Romance, LLC after talking to them about advertising was BEWARE. I found Ms. James to be wholly unprofessional, which prompted me to quickly halt any communication with her.

I did receive the now infamous ARe email, offered in part below.

The tweets embedded below were compiled by SB Sarah at SBTB and her article is instructive. It reveals some publishers are honoring pre-orders if the reader has a receipt.

It makes for an interesting “Between the Sheets” podcast this week. Enjoy.

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. …

This post has been edited.