The author of the 2008 young-adult novel Ten Houses Filled with Leaves alleges in a proposed class action that Dorrance Publishing Company has hidden from her and other writers the true sales numbers of their work and unjustly retained the associated commissions and revenue.
The plaintiff, a Trenton, New Jersey resident, alleges in her 17-page complaint that Dorrance has a “historical pattern and practice” of failing to disclose the true and accurate sales of its customers’ books. The publisher, the lawsuit claims, accomplishes this through “misrepresentation, intentional non-disclosure and purposeful concealment” of true sales data, which Dorrance alone controls.
Pursuant to the plaintiff’s 2008 contract with the publisher, Dorrance agreed to publish, print, market and distribute the woman’s novel in exchange for 60 percent of all domestic sales and 75 percent of all international sales, the case states. According to the complaint, the defendant’s services “come at a steep cost,” as the plaintiff paid $8,000 in connection with the publication of Ten Houses Filled with Leaves.
In 2015, however, Dorrance terminated the contract at issue and informed the plaintiff that, since 2008, only nine copies of her novel had been sold, the suit says. From August 2008 through September 2015, Dorrance paid the plaintiff only $10.20 for book sales, the case claims.
“Because is it Defendant’s practice and procedure to maintain but not share the records of authors’ sales, Plaintiff had no way of verifying the actual sales numbers of her book,” the complaint states. “Defendant tightly controls all of the orders, payments and fulfillment, without the involvement of the author, leaving Plaintiff with no choice but to trust the sales data that was reported by Defendant.”
In the fall of 2019, however, the plaintiff discovered that tens of thousands of copies of her book had actually been sold, and that Dorrance had withheld this information from her and retained all of the profits, the lawsuit alleges.
According to the case, the plaintiff became aware of her novel’s true sales numbers when she noticed that the book was still for sale on Amazon, even though her contract with Dorrance was terminated four years earlier. Through an Amazon feature, the plaintiff learned that during a four-week period in 2012, more than 51,000 copies of the novel were sold, the case says.
Per the filing, Dorrance has had nearly 70 complaints lodged against it with the Better Business Bureau over the last three years, with other authors speaking out about allegedly not receiving accurate sales data.
All told, the plaintiff alleges she is entitled to receive nearly $225,000 in sales for Ten Houses Filled with Leaves.
“However, consistent with its fraudulent pattern and practice, Defendant reported zero sales for that same period, and paid no royalties to Plaintiff,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit looks to cover all persons in the United States who entered into a contract with Dorrance Publishing Company or any of its affiliates (I-Proclaim Books, Red Lead Press, Rose Dog Books and Whitmore Publishing Company) and who were due to receive commissions from sales of books in the last six years, and which commissions the publisher failed to pay.
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