Publish America PICKPOCKET AMERICA Frederick, Maryland
I made the mistake of contracting with Publish America about 6 years ago. After emailing them throughout the process, I learned at the last moment, that the photos I submitted for the cover of my book were not going to be used, despite their promises. They lost them. Instead, they submitted crummy pictures one might expect of a 6 year old with a broken Crayon.
I reacted, supplying Pickpocket America with a copy of their email which had assured me they could do whatever I wanted. They balked. Then replied that I had 3-5 days to supply them a cover. This I did through the help of an artist friend in another state. His artwork is what graces the cover. PA did NOTHING but print what they were handed.
As usual, PA did nothing to support sales. They sent solicitations to probable buyers, names and addresses supplied by me. Their overall marketing strategy was absolute ineptitude. (Since I purchased copies of my book, they made money at the outset.) Over the years, I have received, at the most, $50 in royalties.
With the popularity of ebooks, I decided to do the conversion. Foolishly, I contacted Pickpocket America and asked if they did conversions. They told me yes. They gave the amount and told me they'd contact the various companies to arrange the set up. I agreed.
Imagine my horror when I found my book on the ebooks for $29.95. I demanded to know who set that price, that I did NOT agree, etc. and wanted to be contacted immediately.
They responded with the following email:
From: PublishAmerica Author Support Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:27 AMThank you for requesting a lower list price for your book. We will agree to lower the price, even though it goes against our experience over the past 12 years in this industry. You are not alone in your thinking. Price is not the reason that your book is not selling, but if you think that it is, we have a solution for you. But, we have a responsibility to our employees, to ensure that we make a profit. If we do not do that, we would go out of business very quickly.
Our pricing policy is deliberate and has proven successful for 12 years. It is based on what we know the market will bear and on our long-time record of generating sales: four million (4,000,000) books to date. Contrary to what some believe, lower book prices typically do not mean higher volumes of sales.
Book sales mostly depend on other factors, such as an author's name recognition or celebrity status. Sales may also depend bookstores' expectations that a book will sell, which may lead them to stock to book. Today's New York Times bestsellers' list is solely made up of well-known authors, with book prices ranging between $15 and $35.
Since our prices are comfortably in the middle of that range, we discourage lower list pricing. However, our society, and our economy, are built upon principles of freedom of choice. Therefore, if you insist on seeing your book listed by bookstores at prices as low as $18.95 or even $10.95, you may secure it at a fee here:
You will understand that I am not particularly inspired to receive a etter from Publish America, after having had a book published a book with your company, and you don't even have my name correct. I did not agree to allow Publish America to do anything more than convert manuscript to usable ebook form and to transmit that information to the appropriate parties. For that, I have paid by my credit card according to your standard.
By setting a price on the ebook with the various sellers, you have exceeded our contractual agreement. I will not allow you to determine the price set for my book. Nor do I agree that I will pay a fee to Publish America for a price that is less than your initial choice, in essence punishing an author, financially, for refusing the unstated Publish America plan. Action of this nature leads me to wonder at the integrity of Publish America. Manipulating authors into paying an up-front fee to Publish America to market an ebook at a reasonable price feels rather like a bait-and-switch tactic.
Most readers balk at paying $30.00 for a copy of a known author. Paying the same for an unknown is unrealistic. I can purchase current best sellers for half price at major distributors Since I was foolish enough to purchase books from your company at publication, I know that PA hast lost no money on printing my book. I have not received a royalty check in over 5 years. That tells me that 1) either you are not reporting sales and therefore, not paying royalties, or 2) that books are not selling, therefore, one has to wonder how your long business experience could suggest that placing a price of $29.95 on an ebook was a viable business decision.
Until this issue is resolved, you do not have my permission to sell my ebook, at any price. AND THEN.... They wrote:
No, that is not the way it works. You have already agreed to do all of the things that you say you do not agree to below. Please see a lawyer prior to sending us such nonsense. Your lawyer will tell you that the contract has not been breached, in any way. No, our setting the price does not exceed our contractual agreement. Anyone will tell you that all traditional publishers set prices, and that is stated very plainly in the contract.
And yes, we do have your permission to sell 'The Whitebridge Web' as an ebook, at any price. All of what you say flies squarely in the face of the fact that we have been thriving for 12 years, while literally dozens of our competitors have gone out of business. We have 57,000 titles under contract. And THOUSANDS of the authors keep telling the world how happy they are:
http://www.publishamerica.com/testimonials/index.php. That, of course, is the real story.
Our experience shows that lower prices do not mean higher profits either for the author, or for the publisher. If you feel that you know better, then you are free to pay the fee and reduce the price of your book. Also, it looks to us as if your name as we have it is the same as you have it below. Please show us where we have it wrong.
Obviously, Pickpocket America has been slithering blithely along for 12 years. They need to be put out of business. As they are using the Internet and US Postal Service, this seems to qualify for a visit from the FEDS. If you have not filed a federal complaint, do so! Let's show Pickpocket America where they are WRONG!