Hagens Berman has filed a lawsuit against Publish America LLLP (“Publish America) alleging that the company misleads authors, promising to publish and promote their books when the company actually profits by charging authors for promotion services that are themselves misrepresented.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, alleges that Publish America represents itself as a traditional publisher that pays royalties to authors and profits from the sale of books. However, the company actually operates more like so-called “vanity publishers,” profiting from authors to whom it sells services, according to the complaint.
Specifically, authors sign a contract in which Publish America is granted the rights to the authors’ books for between seven and 10 years, but Publish America does, according to the complaint “nothing constructive to promote their books.”
Instead, it offers authors a number of paid promotional packages. The lawsuit alleges that many of these services are fraudulent. For instance, Publish America claims that it presents books to J.K. Rowling for review, but Rowling has denied the claims, according to the complaint. Publish America also allegedly claimed to have a contract with a major Canadian bookseller, which the bookseller promptly denied.
Hagens Berman’s lawsuit alleges that Publish America’s actions entitle authors to relief under the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act as well as the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. The complaint asks the court to award damages to a class of authors currently or formerly under contract with Publish America who purchased publication, production or promotion services.
Authors who believe they may qualify as part of the proposed class may contact Hagens Berman by calling (206) 623-7292 or by emailing the firm at publishAmerica@hbsslaw.com. You can also contact the firm online by clicking here.