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Authorhouse / authors beware: royalty ripoff

1 Bloomington, IN, United States Review updated:
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To my utter misfortune, I became acquainted and started to use the services offered by 1stBooks publishers now known as Authorhouse, and published my first two books in 2003. At the time, I detected no problem with their services and accepted that being my work was academic, would not sell many copies. I decided to publish my third book with them, a large 2 volume edition in 2008, and due to the reviews and publicity received, and the professors that contacted me personally, I became fully aware of the university libraries and public libraries who processed my work into their establishments, or were interested in my work.

However, I noticed the first major discrepancy in their promises was that if I turned my manuscript in within a certain time frame, I would receive fourteen free copies of my work when it was printed.
I e-mailed my text, and mailed my contract via snail-mail two weeks before the deadline, I know it arrived on time—I live in Europe, and mail does not take longer than 4 to 8 days to arrive in the US, however, they could not honour the free copy agreement as they hadn't received the contracts on time. They never mentioned the agreement included receiving the contracts, just the manuscript. I received just my usual free review copy of each volume. I decided to let the matter go.

Then, they have a very careless attitude with other aspects of their services. For example, their Press Wire program that sends your Press Release electronically to 14, 000 media outlets. Where did I find my academic books being promoted? In the financial sections of these media outlets, and not to my target audience found in the academic, history, biography, or even literature, areas.
(I also discovered my university level academic book on classical music categorised as a “children's book”.)

However, the major problems developed with royalty accounting. I began keeping a record of the copies available of my new two-volume work at Amazon US, UK, Canada, and their Marketplace vendors. (This is practically the only way you can discern how many books may be selling in the public domain.) Considering this is Print On Demand, when a number of available copies drops, you can expect it to be a sale since stores have no reason to keep raising and dropping the numbers unless they make a sale and then re-list the book. (For the record, I withdrew all my publications from Authorhouse June 14th 2010.)

Authorhouse's numbers were way below the daily tallies I kept from the Amazon numbers, they only reported between 10% and maybe up to 20% of the sales on any given quarter. Today for example, I received the worst report yet: they reported only 1 copy of Volume One sold in the second quarter (April 1 to June 14th, the time I withdrew my publications from them), and only 3 copies for Volume 2. According to my numbers from the Amazon rankings and marketplace sellers in the US, Canada and UK: 28 copies of Volume 1 sold, and 27 of Volume 2. Therefore they have reported only 4% of the sales, and they obviously are pocketing the rest. And this does not include other sales that may have been made through other sellers like Barnes and Noble, etc.

However, there is no way to be compensated for these discrepancies, Authorhouse demands you provide receipts of all sales as proof of your claim—how on earth do you track such receipts? Authorhouse knows it's an impossibility. Of course, Nielsen Book Scan offers sales report services, but you cannot use them to reclaim royalties, or display or disclose your sales report to any third party as Nielsen deems such action a breach of trademark confidentiality and would possible incur a lawsuit.

The simplest answer would be to cancel all contracts with Authourhouse, but this is not as easy as they make it out to be. To date, they continue to reassure me my books are no longer in print, but as I have discovered today (September 7), they are still listed with UK wholesale distributors as available within 5 days as Print on Demand, so they are technically still available by Authorhouse illegally.

1st Books / Authorhouse in my estimation is the most disreputable company allowed to carry on a business offering a sham service to the public, robbing authors of the fruits of their labours. Surely they are required to have a business license to operate as all other businesses? How can any state issue a license and continue to allow such a rogue business like this to continue? They are operating on such a large scale, and if they are doing this to every author, then one must consider the possibility they are committing grand larceny on a massive scale. They claim to have thousands of authors with their company.

Authors Beware: if you are considering publishing your book using Print On Demand, stay well away from this company. Even if they paid all the royalties, they do little or nothing to help promote your work, but expect you to pay additional hundreds and even thousands for various promotion packages that provide little if no results. For those of you poor authors who now hold a contract with Authorhouse publishing your work, my sympathies go out to all of you. --- E.A. Bucchianeri

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  • It
      2nd of Feb, 2011
    -1 Votes

    Thank you E.A. Bucchianeri for logging your complaint about Authorhouse. OMG! I am so sorry you had to experience that but your disclosure has saved me from the same fate as I was seriously considering using them to publish my 2nd book .
    It is sad the the Better Business Bureau comments about this company is so misleading as they have high marks for Authorhouse.

  • Ea
      2nd of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    Hi "It Could Happen to You", I'm glad you saw this forum and escaped in time!

    I've discovered some interesting things about my books in the meantime: one of my publications was being advertised (and possibly distributed) by Authorhouse with a cover I never authorized, while covers I did authorise were sold on other sites. Ho couls this be when we must okay all covers before they are released? Could this be proof of thier own unauthorized pirate copies being sold without my knowledge? Like I said, Possibly!

    I also found out Authorhouse was operating their own cut rate Marketplace seller on Amazon called "Adelightfulbook", selling books for half the price on Amazon! I repeat, they were selling practically all their authors' books for half the price for a couple of years before this "seller" mysteriously disppeared offline a few months before I lodged this complaint. How where they paying us authors and Amazon at the same time? Not possible I say, another way to cut us authors out without us knowing by using a front shop on the Internet. They could be doing this again, but there is no way of knowing unless they slip and give the name out on their private statements like they did in my case.

    Stay away from Authorhouse!

    E.A. Bucchianeri

  • Va
      12th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    This post is definitely from our competitor, posting nasty comments online to shy away our potential customers. I'm a publishing consultant here in Authorhouse and I can definitely say he is totally lying...To all of you here, don't just believe on any comments. Read reliable websites. Check our BBB rating and see there that we solved all the complaints filed to us, we are rated A+. If you have questions about the publishing process, call me anytime at 877-820-5393 extension 5880, look for Val Seno, and I can answer your questions right away. Do your research and don't be fooled by anybody who just post nasty comments here, who I believe are from our competitors. By the way, I searched in our database your name and I haven't seen it there that you published with us, so that would just mean that you invalidated everything. By the way, here's the process:

    The AuthorCentricsm Process

    Complete and Sign AuthorHouse Contract
    You’ll begin the book publishing process by speaking with a Publishing Consultant to discuss your project goals. From copy editing to promotional press releases, you have the flexibility to create a custom project plan for the submission, production and promotion of your self-published book.

    Submit Your Materials
    Once you have completed an AuthorHouse contract, you will submit your materials for self-publishing. A Check-in Coordinator will contact you two to three business days after you sign your contract to discuss where and in what format to send your materials. Your CIC will work with you directly until we have all the materials we need to create the initial copy of your cover and galley. Your CIC will also send you a Submission Information Form where you will indicate any specifications you have for the design of your cover and interior.

    Review Initial Book Cover & Interior Design
    After the Check-in Coordinator has received all of your materials, he or she will assign your book to a Design Team and the design process for your cover and galley will begin. Within 10 to 15 business days (two to three business days for Rapid Release customers), you will receive the completed initial cover and galley.

    Participate in Review Call with Your Design Consultant
    After sending your cover and galley for review, your Design Consultant will call you within two to three business days to discuss any changes (if any) you want made to the design of your book. If more in-depth conversation is needed, a time will be set up for you to discuss your concerns with your Cover Designer or Book Designer in more detail.

    Approve Your Cover and Galley
    When the layout of your book is complete and you’re comfortable with how everything looks, you will approve your cover and interior galley. Before your book is sent to the printer, you’ll choose your royalty percentage and set the selling price for your book. Your Design Consultant and Check-in Coordinator will be able to discuss any concerns you have about what’s next in the publishing process.

  • Ea
      12th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    I should not dignify Val Seno's post with a reply after he / she posted another advert. for thier company instead of contacting me to redress any grievances, (another indicator of how this company works.)

    To Val Seno. Re: your company services...there is no point listing off eveything you do--my main problem is the service provided AFTER the book is printed. Royalty discrepancy and very suspicious activity.

    You say you searched your database for my name and that I am not on it:---- strange, considering I just received a tax document from your company to file for tax withholding, I must still be listed there somewhere. And why should I file for tax withholding with your company when my books are supposed to be pulled / out of print? Is this a sign my books really are NOT out of print with you after you telling me in writing that they are? Very rude to call someone a liar when I also have all the documentation to prove my claim. I do not like being called a liar. (Another sign how this company works, the blame game, name calling, character/reputation defamation of their authors.)

    Also, my books previously published with you are still listed with Amazon,, Ebay, and many other internet sites as available for order when they should be removed by now according to your agreement that we the authors hold the copyright and may remove a work at any time. (Plus, the fact my previous books are still listed on booksites with your name as the publisher show that I have dealt with your company, and that I am not some unknown entity purposely causing trouble.) I have been told by these stores that my books will not be removed until "inventory" has been sold, i.e. backstock, but how could there be backstock when a company that runs on POD "print on demand" only prints a book when it IS ORDERED? So, are you STILL trying to sell my books (possibly using an unknown printer without my knowledge?)

    Another problem: it appears that my books published with Authorhouse are still listed with distributors as being "Available" which is why bookstores are not pulling my books as requested. I contacted many book distributors requesting them to please remove my booklisting from their databases as my books with Authorhouse are out of print. Neilsen in England gladly agreed after I gave documented proof the book had been pulled, with the reply this behaviour on Authorhouse's part was strange, and the you, the publishers, ie. AUTHORHOUSE, should have done this. Since my books are still listed all over the place, you still have not done your duty and pulled listings with distributors. (It is now almost a year, I might add.)

    Please note about cover agreement: I discovered my book being advertised with a cover I did not "okay" in addition to the cover I did approve of, (so one of your services, control over design and choice of cover), is misrepresented)--where did this new cover come from and why? Looks suspicious to me.

    Also, I discovered sales not reported for books, using YOUR ACCOUNTS that you sent to me when I raised questions about royalty payments. I also discovered you were operating a retail third-seller shop on Amazon entitled "Adelightfulbook" (that we authors had no knowledge of at the time) selling my books at a discounted price. This shop has since closed, but I have proof it existed, and that my books were also sold from this shop, according to YOUR ACCOUNTS.

    Another issue: my books were being sold at in partnership with Ebay, with the price marked so far below the list price, it is a wonder how you could cover the cost of printing hte book, take your cut, and pay me my full royalties according to the percentage I chose, one of us would have to be left out, most likely me according to the percentage I chose being academic works with the amount of research involved, so this could explain why the royalty payments I received were LESS then I should have received ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN ACCOUNTS. My books "out of print" books with Authorhouse are STILL listed with! Very suspicious.

    About the BBB: my complaint was NOT resolved, I have left it open until this issue is resolved: namely, that books with you be fully de-listed from distrubutors databases, and that they are truly makrd as OUT OF PRINT, which is your responsibility. To the general public: do not believe the rating Authorhouse has recieved at the BBB...people are making complaints, but since Authorhouse keeps insisting they have resolved author' s complaints, nothing gets done, and Authorhouse know authors have limited means to correct errors such as distributor listings, so Authorhouse leaves things run, do not solve anything, and the BBB is no wiser for it.

  • Kb
      27th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    I bought the One Second Needle at a local store and even though the sewing kit was a cheap plastic box with the most ridiculous items inside, I bought it anyway because I have trouble threading needles. The scissors in the kit look like something a child should use. The tv advertisement makes the whole kit look like a quality item but it's definitely not. I haven't used the needles yet and I'm sure I'll have trouble sewing with them now that I've read all the complaints here on this site. It's such a shame how these companies get away with selling poor quality items and rip people off with shipping and added fees charged to a person's account. I'm just glad I didn't call in my order. I'm taking this back to the store I bought it from and buy a magnifying glass and do it the way I always do it. With reading glasses!

  • Fi
      24th of Dec, 2012
    0 Votes

    Hi Bucchianeri. Having read all your comments I am starting to agree with you and the loss of Royalties. I have to hold my judgment
    until the next quarter. My book has only been published since February 2012 and I do know of sales that I have not been paid for.
    I have been in contact with Authourhouse but I have to say it is like pulling teeth to get any honesty. You know that books have been sold, I know that books have been sold, however that is as far as you will get. Bad news and quite depressing to say the least.
    You say that after cancelling your contract you are still finding your manuscrip being printed and sold without your permission. Can I suggest that you contact your copyright office and let them deal with the situation. I do beleive, if you have a strong case and can prove what you say then you may well be covered for Legal fees through the Copyright department. It is worth checking.You hold the full Copyright right to authorise who you say will Publishe and print your book, If either of thesetwo things are happening without your permission, then use your Legal rights. This may well be a violation of your Copyright. Check out the Copyright rules on line.

    § 106 . Exclusive rights in copyrighted works38
    Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

    (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

    (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

    (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

    (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

    (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

    (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

    This is just the basics you will get the rest from the Copy right Webb Site

    Good luck Fionamd

  • Ki
      28th of Jul, 2017
    0 Votes

    I published my first book with them when they were 1stbooks . I made a huge mistake in the book and asked to fix it and they told me it was $25 per sentence which was 5 words. The mistake continued throughout the book so there was no way I could afford to make the changes. They would rather sell a book with the huge glaring errors than fix it because they are trying to make money off of the authors not Book Sales. Skip this company and work with at least they care about the product and how my book looked. In fact the person I spoke to told me she would not publish the book until I fixed some of the mistakes she listed. I fixed it and was very happy with the results. They are very honest in how they treat people and they actually care about books. Its an actual publishing company like the ones from the old print days. They view their job as formatting the book and making it ready for print so they care about how the book looks. Also they actually give you real help with marketing so that when the book is on sale you know what to do next to get people to read it.

  • Ad
      3rd of Sep, 2017
    0 Votes

    I publish 3 book with authorhouse and I enjoy it. My books turn out Okay. I give authorhouse 4 / 5 stars. You always need to get a editor. They're a lot worse publisher out there. I publish my books for people to enjoy. I don't care about money. I offer all my books to everyone free on my facebook page. The Unknown Crystals.

  • Ja
      7th of Nov, 2017
    0 Votes

    I published this book in 2014 .Knowingly i sensed being hustled ..But i went along for the ride anyway..
    If their illegally taking my royalties which is half the sales.Then they should be investigated and a law suit.
    Should be slapped on them..Otherwise I'm only into it as an artist too..But i should be compensated for my work .
    So lets keep the wolves& sharks @ Bay! Call them on their greed corrupt practices and force them to make a honest $buck.
    Thank you, Guitar Jim Bourke

  • Ja
      7th of Nov, 2017
    0 Votes

    I published this book in 2014 .Knowingly i sensed being hustled ..But i went along for the ride anyway..
    If their illegally taking my royalties which is half the sales.Then they should be investigated and a law suit.
    Should be slapped on them..Otherwise I'm only into it as an artist too..But i should be compensated for my work .
    So lets keep the wolves& sharks @ Bay! Call them on their greed corrupt practices and force them to make a honest $buck.
    Thank you, Guitar Jim Bourke

  • Jo
      16th of Dec, 2017
    0 Votes

    Any Authorhouse complaints should be directed to the Indiana Attorney Generals Office web site and file a consumer complaint.

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