Amazon is preparing to acquire another publishing asset. Digital Book World reports that the online-bookstore-turned-publisher will be bidding on the assets of bankrupt paperback publisher Dorchester—including the debts Dorchester owes to its authors. According to the terms of the sale, any buyer would have to be approved by those authors, who would in return be paid back royalties in full.
Dorchester has not had a good reputation these past couple of years. In 2010 it decided to shift from printing paper books to releasing books via e-books and print-on-demand. It has since been delisted by writer advocacy groups including the Mystery Writers of America and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for not paying the royalties it owed and for publishing books it did not have the rights to publish.
Of course, for Amazon (or any company who can afford to outbid Amazon), the amounts of royalties owed will amount to pocket change—which means a whole lot of authors who had despaired of seeing a penny Dorchester owed them will be getting unexpected good news. Meanwhile, Amazon will get a whole bunch of books to which Dorchester did have the rights that it can add to its own publishing arm.
That’s assuming, of course, that some other company (like one of the Big Six?) decides it doesn’t want Amazon to get those assets and chooses to outbid. Even then, the authors will still get their due.
The sale notice notes that whoever does buy the assets will release the books in e-book format.
(Found via GalleyCat.)
It sounds to me like I should place my bid of “Give me $500,000 and I will accept ownership of Dorchester…”