I just learned, though an update at Writer Beware’s blog, that a class action has been filed against All Romance eBooks and Lori James, in Florida (where the company is/was registered).
In layman’s terms (sorta–IANAL, after all), the point here is that when a business closes its doors with barely four days notice, and basically refuses to disburse commission monies (royalties) for products it sold, this breach of contract is grounds for legal action–and, with any luck, a criminal investigation may follow.
Given how many small publishers have crashed and burned in the past twenty years,¹ with the owners all too often absconding with a lot of money from hard working authors (and editors, graphic artists, etc), I am glad to see that a number of authors have finally banded together to hold at least this one accountable through the courts.
Whether or not the authors will recover enough actual cash to make it worth the effort (a top notch law firm, like the one engaged in this case, costs a helluva lotsa money, after all), it may give other unscrupulous asshats a bit of pause.
Here’s hoping, in any case.
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¹ I was scrolling down Karen Scott’s blog, tag epublishers behaving badly, and the list is freaking long. The saddest part? This list is mostly confined to romance specific small publishers; I’m certain the list would be several times longer if all genres were included.