America Star Books

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America Star Books, formerly PublishAmerica, is a Maryland-based print-on-demand book publisher founded in 1999 by Lawrence Alvin "Larry" Clopper III and Willem Meiners (born Amsterdam 6 January 1949). Some writers and authors' advocates have accused the company of being a vanity press while representing itself as a "traditional publisher".[1][2]

PublishAtlantica was an imprint of PublishAmerica. PublishAtlantica claimed to be headquartered in the UK in Milton Keynes. It was formerly PublishBritannica before a lawsuit from Encyclopædia Britannica. PublishIcelandica was another imprint of PublishAmerica. According to a letter from PublishAmerica in 2006, neither imprint is active.[3]

History[edit]

As of 2004, the current executive director of PublishAmerica was Miranda N. Prather.[1] In 2004, Prather stated that 80% of authors who submitted manuscripts to the house were rejected, and that the house had "30 full-time editors" with plans to expand. She also refused to identify the CEO of PublishAmerica.[4] In 2005, the company had 70 full-time employees of various functions.[1]

In 2004, PublishAmerica published small runs of over 4,800 titles (compared to Random House's 3,500 titles). In 2005, the company had approximately 11,000 authors under contract.[2]

In June 2005, PublishAmerica identified Willem Meiners as "PublishAmerica CEO" and Clopper as "company president".[5]

In August 2005, PublishAmerica was sued by Encyclopædia Britannica for trademark violation over PublishAmerica's PublishBritannica imprint. The matter was settled out of court,[6] with PublishAmerica agreeing to stop using the "PublishBritannica" name.[7] However, PublishAmerica continued to use the website address on letterhead as late as 2008.[8]

In late September 2005, PublishAmerica announced its books would be returnable by the bookseller if they failed to sell, a standard practice among other commercial publishers. The announcement stated that this applied to "all" of its books, though it noted that there would be "a few exceptions initially" and that the offer would apply to United States booksellers only.[9] PA's site now says that "many of our books are returnable."[10]

Criticism[edit]

PA pays advance fees of US$1–$1000[1] to its authors, provides minimal editing and provides few of the services handled by trade publishing, such as retail distribution, marketing and media relations. Disgruntled authors told Publishers Weekly that PA did not pay royalties owed to them, sold books it no longer had any rights to sell, set unreasonably high list prices and lower-than-average discounts for authors to buy their own books and either neglected or failed to place books into bookstores.[4]

PublishAmerica's Prather stated that book prices reflected "what the market would bear" and that "we don't control the bookstores in the country."[4][11] Other PublishAmerica authors have spoken out in support of the publisher, denying it is a vanity press and highlighting the opportunities it gives to unpublished authors.[12]

Acceptance of hoax manuscripts[edit]

In an attempt to demonstrate a lack of editorial oversight at PublishAmerica, several authors have written "sting" manuscripts. For instance, in December 2004, PublishAmerica agreed to publish the novel Atlanta Nights, which was later revealed to be a hoax.[13][14] PublishAmerica also accepted another author's manuscript that featured the same 30 pages repeated ten times.[13]

Arbitration[edit]

In December 2005, PublishAmerica author Philip Dolan, who had spent between US$7,000 and $13,000 promoting his book[15] only to find that no book stores were able to order copies of it, took PublishAmerica to arbitration for breach of contract. Dolan also alleged accounting irregularities; despite a clause in his contract allowing him to inspect PublishAmerica's accounts, his accountant was denied access, and Dolan received royalties for fewer copies of his book than he was able to account for having sold himself. He was awarded an unspecified amount in compensation for PublishAmerica's breach of contract, and his contract was rescinded.[16]

Lawsuit[edit]

In June 2012, a class action summons and complaint were filed in Maryland against PublishAmerica LLLP, by plaintiffs Darla Yoos, Edwin McCall, and Kerry Levine (Case Number 12-cv-1696). [17] Attachments to the full complaint include the authors' contracts. [18]

New Name[edit]

In January of 2014, PublishAmerica changed its name to America Star Books.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Italie, Hillel (2005-01-22). "Critics and supporters debate success of fast-rising PublishAmerica". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  2. ^ a b Span, Paula (January 23, 2005). "Making Books". Washington Post. p. BW08. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  3. ^ "Book Publisher and Distributor Listings - PublishAmerica - PublishIcelandica". Preditors and Editors. Petersburg, Virginia. 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  4. ^ a b c Zeitchik, Steven (2004-11-22). "Authors allege publisher deception". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2007-08-28. [dead link]
  5. ^ PublishAmerica (June 2005). "How to Upset a Goliath Book Biz: PublishAmerica: The Inside Story of an Underdog with a Bite". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  6. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (August 30, 2005). "On Vanity Press, Now It's Not Just America". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-04. [dead link]
  7. ^ Staff writer (2005-10-03). "Britannica breaks copycat's spell". The Times (London). p. 26. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  8. ^ Smittenaar, Darcy (2008-01-08). "Letter to Marie Pacha". PublishAmerica, LLLP. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  9. ^ PublishAmerica makes its books returnable
  10. ^ PublishAmerica FAQ
  11. ^ Susan Paganini (2004-06-24). "Paperback writer". San Antonio Current. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  12. ^ Keenan, John (2005-10-09). "No vanity, author provides own press". Omaha World-Herald. p. 10AT. 
  13. ^ a b "SF Authors Sting Publisher". Sci Fi Wire. February 16, 2005. Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Publisher Defends Hoax Charges". Sci Fi Wire. February 17, 2005. Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. 
  15. ^ Bosworth, Martin (August 9, 2005). "Aspiring Writers Trash PublishAmerica". ConsumerAffairs.com. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  16. ^ Harwood, Bridgette (March 25, 2006). "PublishAmerica must pay up". Frederick News-Post (Randall Family, LLC). Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  17. ^ http://dockets.justia.com/docket/maryland/mddce/1:2012cv01696/202536/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ http://www.victoriastrauss.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/1-main1.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]