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August 9, 2017

Lawsuits, Liens, and Lost URLs: The Latest on America Star Books / PublishAmerica

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

This post has been updated.

It's been a while since I wrote about America Star Books, née PublishAmerica, one of the most prolific author mills in America (also the subject of scores of author complaints, and the recipient of an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau). So what's been going on?

In May 2015, ASB/PA co-founder Larry Clopper filed suit against PA/ASB, co-founder Willem Meiners, and several others, alleging breach of contract, among other causes, and demanding dissolution of the company and appointment of a receiver. After over a year of legal maneuvering--which included the appointment of an appraiser, a counterclaim by Meiners/PA/ASB, and the issuance of subpoenas by Clopper to various PA/ASB banks and creditors--the parties agreed in July 2016 to stipulate to dismissal with prejudice.


I don't yet know what was in the settlement--I've put in a public records request, and will report back when I get the documents--but over the duration of the lawsuit and afterward, things have changed at PA/ASB.

Sometime after September 2015, ASB's About Us page--which previously had touted its founding "by book publishers with a long history of publishing experience"--began to reference the "new" America Star Books: "Run by its employees, from the bottom up....The company has a management, but there's not much top-down going on at America Star Books." (Here's what the page looks like today.)

At some point after September 2016, all mention of the translation program with which PA/ASB launched its 2014 name change was removed (here's what the website used to say about that, courtesy of the invaluable Internet Archive; here's what it says now). And in November 2016, PA/ASB put a hold on submissions "throughout [sic] the end of 2016."

That hold appears to have become permanent. Here's how the submission page looks today:


And here's what was briefly posted at a now non-working ASB web address:
America Star Books no longer accepts new authors. ASB Promotions will morph into Paperback Services in the near future....Paperback Services works side by side on location with Paperback Radio, America's only live 24/7 station about books and writers.

Left unsaid is the fact that Paperback Radio and Paperback Services are both owned by PA/ASB co-founder Willem Meiners (Paperback Services has a web address that goes nowhere at the moment). In the kind of feedback loop that's common with vanity publishers, items from Meiners' Paperback Radio (ads"experts lists"), along with a variety of "promotional" and other services from Meiners' Paperback Services, were offered for sale to PA/ASB authors in the Meiners-owned PA/ASB webstore.

That's not all. More signs of change/trouble at PA/ASB:

- According to Amazon, ASB was issuing books pretty regularly through the beginning of 2017, albeit at a reduced rate from previous years (around 10-15 per month). Since mid-May, it has issued just two titles.

- ASB currently has three open liens against it from the Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, totaling $50,754.


- As of this writing, some ASB URLs are disabled: www.americastarbooks.net no longer works, nor does www.store.americastarbooks.pub, which used to host the PA/ASB bookstore and promotional "services" store (here are some examples of those services, courtesy of the Internet Archive). ASB's Facebook page also appears to be defunct (unless they've blocked me, which is possible). The PublishAmerica URL, which used to re-direct to America Star Books, now directs again to the old PA website (which hasn't been updated since 2013, but still has an open submissions portal).

- There's a bookstore link on the ASB website, but it doesn't work. PA/ASB books are still for sale at online retailers, but the PA/ASB bookstore doesn't appear to be online anywhere at any web address.

Is this really the end of America Star Books / PublishAmerica? Hard to say. There are rumors of bankruptcy, but I've searched on PACER and I've found no sign of any bankruptcy filings.

Questions remain. If ASB does disappear, what will happen to the books and authors currently under contract? If ASB Promotions, or Paperback Services, or whatever it winds up calling itself, survives as a separate entity, will spammer-in-chief Jackie Velnoskey continue her prolific program of email solicitations and comment spam?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 8/14/17: ASB's one remaining web address now returns an account suspended message.
As far as I know, ASB/PA hasn't sent out any notifications or communications as to what's going on.

Authors, if you get any kind of notice or email from ASB, would you please contact me? Thanks.

UPDATE 8/19/17: I'm getting emails from authors wondering what to do. What happens with their books that are under contract? If ASB is really dead, can they take their books and publish elsewhere?

Right now, in my opinion, that wouldn't be wise.

All signs point to ASB being gone. Its website has vanished. Phones aren't being answered. Emails are bouncing. Putting those things together with the signs of trouble that I've discussed above, if I had to guess, I'd guess that ASB is history.

But...there's been no official announcement of a closure. I just checked again and there's still no sign of any bankruptcy filings, either under the business names or the owners' names. And ASB/PA books are still for sale new at online booksellers. I think there's at least the possibility that ASB might find a way to sell or otherwise transfer its huge catalog to some other entity (which many of the ASB/PA contracts I've seen allow it to do without asking authors' permission). Another possibility: ASB/PA books might somehow be folded in with Willem Meiners' Paperback enterprises.

Bottom line: we don't actually know what is going on, or what will happen. Until we do, it would be risky to take books that are under contract with either ASB or PA and try to re-publish them. The issue isn't just the possibility that ASB/PA or its successor might come after you, but that any new publisher or self-publishing service will require you to have full power to grant publishing rights. If you're currently under exclusive contract to a different publisher, and it's not clear that publisher is out of business, you don't have that power.

I'm also hearing from ASB authors who've paid for services they haven't received. My advice would be to immediately file a dispute with your credit card company or with PayPal (depending on how you paid). I've heard from a number of Tate Publishing authors who got money back this way. Feel free to use this post as justification.

Keep watching this blog for updates.

UPDATE 9/11/17: I noticed this a couple of weeks ago, but didn't post an update because I wasn't sure if it was a glitch. It's been long enough now that I'm guessing it's not.

Willem Meiners's Paperback Radio appears to have gone the way of  America Star Books. Its URL yields a "Site is currently offline" message. Its Twitter feed hasn't been updated since July 16. Its Facebook page is no longer available.

What's going on? No idea. There's still no sign of any bankruptcy filings, or any word from anyone at ASB. Publishers do a lot of bad things, but one of the worst is to do a bunk and leave authors in limbo.

If anyone has information or insight into the ASB/Meiners situation, will you please contact me? Your identity will be kept confidential. Thank you.

43 comments :

Ben Baker said...

FB page is dead.

Anonymous said...

I have to say good riddance to that author meat market. I honestly can't believe they've lasted this long. At WritersWeekly.com, we have received countless complaints about them over the years.

At BookLocker.com, we have a special program for authors of defunct publishers. If they have their production files, the cost is only $78. That includes assignment of a new ISBN, of course. Info: http://newsletter.booklocker.com/attn-victims-of-defunct-publishers

If America Star Books / PublishAmerica is going out of business, their authors should start demanding their production files NOW, before there are no other employees left to honor their requests. Tate Publishing went belly-up (and it's owners were arrested) and we're now receiving reports that requests for production files are going unanswered. Authors who waited too long appear to be out of luck. :(

Angela Hoy
WritersWeekly.com / BookLocker.com

Anonymous said...

I worry that Austin Macauley will fill the void. I just recently talked someone out of going with them. One of the key benefits the writer mentioned for going with Austin Macauley was their "New York offices". I wish virtual offices had to identify themselves more clearly. Having what amounts to a P.O. box in New York is no great feat.

Justin Stocker said...

Well... Unfortunate I have a work published through ASB. It is the first in a five book story line. I first heard that they may be going under a little more then a week ago. I sent an email to them hoping to get some answers to what I had heard only to get nothing in return. Today, before finding this post here on WB, I tried to contact them again to let them know that I would be giving them til the end of the month to reply and I would then be taking the rest of the story line to another publisher... guess what, their web page is no longer reachable. Instead it sends me to an account suspended page. So now the problem I have is what happens with my first book? Do I have to wait the five years of the contract to republish it through another publisher? With the company being out is the contract released? The book was just released back in May.

Victoria Strauss said...

Justin, I'm afraid I don't know the answer to your question. It isn't clear yet what's happened to ASB, and a company closing doesn't necessarily release you from your contract. I'm trying to find out what's going on, and will update this post, or write a new post, if I discover anything.

If you hear anything from ASB, would you please contact me? beware [at] sfwa.org . Thanks.

Brenda Tetreault said...

Hellfire and brimstone! These asshats still have FOUR of my books from back when I was young and stupid. I just want my books back, damn it!

Brenda Tetreault said...

Well, Paperback Radio has a Facebook page. It says that it's out of Frederick, Maryland. I'm guesing this is these crooks. I wonder if I demand the rights back for my books if I'll get a reply?
https://www.facebook.com/PaperbackRadio/

Anonymous said...

Willem Meiners is the biggest crook of all. That company is the biggest scam. Jackie Velnoskey and Kerrin Wuchter was the management there from what I understand. I cannot get a hold of anyone about getting my files back on all 6 of my books published. They have been in so many recent lawsuits it's no wonder they are running scared now. And aren't royalties due out at the end of this month? Funny time for the Titanic to sink! Alice Meiners aka Alice Rush was listed on the paperbackradio.com website but she is the king of all scams wife! How can these people sleep at night.
I've looked their information up online and they too live in Frederick Maryland maybe we should all go knocking on their door! Thank you Victoria for updating everyone. I hope in the coming days there will be more information.

Ralph Galeano said...

I also have a book published by ASB in February, 2017. I would like to get the rights back and have sent termination letter and reversion of rights letter to them. Unanswered along with unanswered emails and phone calls. If they do declare bankruptcy does that mean rights automatically revert to the copyright holder? Please keep me in the loop on this issue. horseman@horsemanspress.com

Victoria Strauss said...

Ralph Galeano,

The answer to your question is no. Bankruptcy courts don't honor the bankruptcy clauses in publishing contracts. They consider book contracts to be assets that could potentially be sold to pay creditors. If ASB did declare bankruptcy, all its contracts would be frozen until the bankruptcy trustee either decided to sell them or to release rights back to authors.

Another possibility is that ASB itself might find a way to sell or transfer its contracts to another entity, or that Willem Meiners might take them over via his Paperback Services or other business venture.

For the moment, until we have a better picture of what's going on, I think that ASB/PA authors should consider that their contracts are still in force.

Catherine Dodson said...

How long do our contracts last? A few years ago they sent me an email to buy my rights back.. I published in 2007 and I've passed 10 years. I just want to cut ties with this company and be able to take my writing elsewhere.

Victoria Strauss said...

Catherine Dodson,

Most ASB/PA contracts I've seen take rights for either seven or ten years, but I have seen one that was life-of-copyright. That was super unusual, though, so I think the odds are that you are free to take your writing to another publisher or to self-publish.

I took the liberty of looking you up on Amazon, and it shows your book as "currently unavailable" which indicates that PA has stopped producing it. That would tend to confirm that your contract has expired.

Ralph Galeano said...

Is there anything new about America Star Books. They seem to have dissappeared from the face of the Earth.

Ralph Galeano

Victoria Strauss said...

If I find out anything new, I'll update this post.

Janet Simons said...

The last I heard from America Star Books was in July. I had paid money to have them continue publishing my book. Like everyone else, I still find my book on Amazon.com, as well as supposed used books for sale on numerous sites, and yet supposedly my book hasn't sold. ASB Productions doesn't show up anywhere or Paperback Services. I just wanted to buy some copies to have. This is extremely frustrating, not being able to contact the publisher who has hijacked my book, Quest Over.

FrogLady3 said...

This may be a bit naïve (since I'm still in the writing, and not the publishing stage yet), but -- aside from the author paying to have her book published -- what's the big stink about ASB/PA? I thought all vanity publishers charged authors to print their books, so what makes this publisher worse than the others?

Janet Simons said...

I think if you had been with the publisher when they were Publish America, then America Star Books, then ASB Promotion and last but not least Paperback Services, you might feel differently. I never got results when I paid for promotions but I don't blame them for that. My main objection is that I have found a lot of my books for sale as used books, online, when I haven't been receiving commissions. Obviously someone had to buy those in the first place. But, now there is no current website and all emails to me stopped in July. Calls and emails go unanswered. I would like to purchase some of my books and yet I can't get a hold of them. I found an address, so I will write to them. It's as though they just dropped off the face of the planet.

Anonymous said...

I did not pay in the summer to make my books still available, and they are still available. I figured out the BS emails when they were Publish America, however they had some good offers prior to the holidays to get the books at decent prices. I also reached out to the lady I always bought my Fall supply from. No answer, but also no bounce back. I have all the same questions as everyone else, rights to our books if they did not assign to another company, or if they were assigned who were they assigned to, past royalties owed, etc. Will keep an eye on this site in hopes that someone will have the answers. Appreciate everyone sharing.

Mp Mbutoh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Simons said...

Just curious why no one is receiving return calls or emails. I'm wondering if there is an agency that oversees the publishing industry. If authors are cheated there should be repercussions. I would imagine...

AndieJ said...

I don't understand how any of these vanity presses are still operating. If someone wants to self-publish (which is basically all vanity presses are for), Createspace is cheap and easy to use. You don't even have to publish on Amazon. You can create your own paperback, & print on demand however many or few copies you want or need. What am I not seeing here?

Catherine Dodson said...

Thank you for your response Victoria Strauss! I am fairly sure it was a 7 year contract.. of course id pull the ol dusty contact out before I proceed.. ultimately I would enjoy the peace of mind knowing I am no longer affiliated with that company.. only regret I have is not sticking up on copies from all of their many author deals.. Now this book is truly rare and belongs to only my closest of friends and family!

Janet Simons said...

It's good that there are other options for new authors. However, what you're not seeing is that some of us were locked into contracts a long time ago, and mysteriously our publisher seems to have vanished. My book is still on the market but I can't get a hold of them to purchase copies which are cheaper than market value. This is a very recent development. Once you are under contract you can't have someone else also publish the same book, so you have no other options.

Anonymous said...

"Once you are under contract you can't have someone else also publish the same book, so you have no other options."

Or if you're like me, stuck with an old contract stating that PA or whoever they are now has "first right of refusal" on your next book, for the life of the copyright (yes that was me), then your hands are tied and you can't write anything at all for anyone else until you satisfy that requirement. Of course, this was 15 years ago and PA's contracts have changed a lot between now and then. I've moved on with other things but never wrote anything else, partly due to this. I suppose I could have paid them off, but the idea was repugnant.

Why did I sign the contract in the first place? There are a couple of reasons.. 1) I was young and didn't know any better, same as a lot of folks, and 2)even though I did in fact consult a lawyer before signing, he was a distant relative and clearly didn't even look at it before advising me because I didn't have money at the time and it was a favor to his sister (my aunt). Everyone I showed the contract to said it was normal.

Victoria, I just wanted to thank you and others who have kept up with all this drama. I look in every once in awhile to see if anything is new. It's too bad it took one of PA's business partners to take them down instead of the courts listening to the multiple lawsuits brought by authors who have been scammed and taken advantage of.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 9/08, thanks for the kind words. I do think the lawsuit played a part in ASB's demise, but I think the bigger cause was a loss of customers. There are vanity publishers doing quite well right now because they understand that if you can get writers to pay a bundle for publishing, you have to deliver some level of service for that, and at least a pretense of respect and responsiveness. ASB never got that, and in the end I think that's what destroyed it.

One of the worst things a publisher can do is to vanish, as ASB has done, and not release its authors--especially where there are life-of-copyright contracts. I'm truly sorry.

Lora Mcduffie said...

Is there an address to ASB to request to terminate your contract after the 7 yrs are over.

Anonymous said...

I too am a published author with PA/ASB now Paperback radio. I have had 6 books published by them. 5 of the 6 are still showing up as in stock on Amazon, however one of my titles is now showing out of print. :( I have sent them a few emails over the past month in a half. They never answered me directly but would solve the issue. Like when I inquired why the lower priced versions of my books were not showing up. I never really received much in the terms of money from them. (royalties) I wasn't sure if my books were selling much online. I sell them at book signings and things. But always felt at least they were out there for the world to read. I am very sad... I think one of my books just renewed the contract, but I am not sure...I did order some books recently from Amazon, still waiting for some of them to come in. But received some two weeks ago... Not really sure what this means. But I hope they either are able to fix the troubles their going through, or give us our rights back. Although I am not sure where to even look now for new publisher.

Victoria Strauss said...

Lora Mcduffie,

The only addresses are the ones they've always had. From what I'm hearing, emails are bouncing and phone calls go to voicemail or are unanswered. I haven't heard anything about snail mail--you could try sending a certified letter, return receipt requested, to their street address to see if it gets picked up. Even if it does, I don't think you can expect a response.

Their mailing address is PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705

Janet Simons said...

I also thought of mailing something to them, but I am waiting a bit to see if anything changes first. I just bought 6 used books online. (How there were used books when I received no royalties is frustrating.) I just would like the status. Amazon.com now says my book is "out of stock." I just need to know if my book is still being published by them, or not. I would think there must be some sort of agency that regulates publishers or they could just cheat authors out of their rightful compensations left and right. That's hard to believe.

Victoria Strauss said...

Janet Simons,

A lot of the third-party sellers on Amazon and B&N who are selling "used" books don't actually have the books in stock--they are just listing ISBNs, figuring they'll get hold of a copy if someone places an order. Would you please report back (or email me) to let me know if you actually receive these books?

ASB seems to have suspended all publishing activities, but until it's clearer what's going on, you have to assume that it still holds your rights (if your contract is still in force, that is).

Publishing isn't regulated as an industry. The recourse available to authors who've been defrauded is the law. To be honest I think that in most cases the money owed to individual authors is small--what's really the issue here is rights. Getting them back. It's increasingly looking to me as if the ASB situation is one of the few in which some sort of group legal action may be appropriate.

Any lawyers out there who'd care to weigh in?

Janet Simons said...

Hi Victoria,
I just ordered them through Abebooks.com. They were $3.00 ea. I will post whether I receive them or not, but this website appears to be legit. I just want the status of my book. They shouldn't be allowed to highjack it!

Anonymous said...

Advice needed. What do you all think I should do? I was thinking of mailing them ASB/Paperback radio, a certified letter stating that when my contracts are up on my titles I do not wish to renew. Now I am unsure as to whether I should do this yet or not, as most of my titles are still showing up as available on amazon and a few other sites. One of my titles is even showing up on Walmart… However one is showing as no longer in print. Honestly even though I never received much as far as royalties. (Just assuming I wasn’t selling many) I was grateful to have my books out in the world for people to read. I don’t want to cut ties with them if they are indeed working with a third party publisher. Also all my books are offered in kindle even the one that is no longer in print. I wonder if Amazon has the rights to keep them as kindles. Which would be cool as at least my books wouldn’t completely disappear into the abyss. But I am not sure… however if they sell, I don’t think I will receive any royalties… But oh well. I know I may sound like a fool. But I am still hopeful... :(

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 9/12,

You could certainly try doing that. If you do, please report back--I'll be interested to know if anyone signs for the letter, and if they do, if you get any response.

If your contracts still have a while to run, though, I think you'll still have to wait it out--i.e., you won't be free and clear until your termination date or until it becomes clear what is happening/has happened to ASB--whichever comes first. Also be aware that if ASB does sell its catalog to a different company before your expiration date(s), or declares bankruptcy, any termination notices sent now might not be valid.

ASB holds your publication rights; Amazon is just a retailer. I also don't think you can assume that, if ASB sells its catalog to someone else, that it will be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

I've been rip off by this company. I paid them to have a spread of my Spanish Poetry Book in a French issue and suppose to receive it two months ago. It's an ashamed that those trying to achieve success are being taken advantage of by those abusing for greed with consequences.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Victoria for your advice. I have a letter all written up ready to go.The letter is to request my contracts not to be renewed when they are done. As it states in all our contracts we must request three months prier to the renewal date, in writing.
But just last night I found a books company that sells books in bulk. So I placed an order for one of my books. The one with the longest contract, fearing the worse. Just received an email stating the shipping date would take longer than they thought and if it was ok. I replied "sure." I want to see if they are going to fulfill the order and go from there. Unless I see many more of my books going out of print.

Ralph Galeano said...

I have sent two registered letters to ASB requesting my contract be terminated and the rights reverted to me. Both letters were not picked up at their Post Office box number that was on my contract. After fifteen days the P.O. sent me a card stating that they were not picked up and signed and they will be returned to me.

I have signed up with Ingram and have filled out their rights transfer form requesting they contact ABS and have the rights transfered to me. That process is under way and I just have to wait and see if it is successful.

Anonymous said...

Ralph...if Ingram is successful in any way to transfer your rights, how will they get the files? Or are you starting over with new covers and ISBN#'s?

This is straight up frustrating and wrong! If they wanted out of the business, why take the authors down with them?!

Will be interesting if they don't get in touch with them, if they deem it as a closed business and if that voids our contracts.

Anonymous said...



I currently have new copies of the four books published by PA/ASB. Until recently I ordered books by phone. My question is: Can I find a place to get reproductions of the books I have? I am satisfied with the cover and text of my books, but I have no way of ordering more copies. HELP!

Janet Simons said...

I ordered 6 books that were listed as used, online. Then I received 4 notices of refunds with lame excuses. I just received one yesterday. The cover is trimmed slightly short, but otherwise it's ok. I just had no copies. I send texts that do not get bounced back, but never get answered. My book is listed as "currently out of stock" whatever that means since these are printed on demand. The company should have reverted all rights back to the authors. Apparently no agency polices publishers.This feels insane to me. I paid money to continue with them. Now what?

Victoria Strauss said...

Ralph Galeano,

Thanks for your comment--I'm not really surprised the letters weren't picked up, but it's good to have confirmation. Please come back to let us know how it goes with Ingram (and also email me, please--I'm interested in knowing more about the process: beware@sfwa.org ).

Anonymous 9/18,

You said, "If they wanted out of the business, why take the authors down with them?!" Because they don't give a crap about the authors, and never have. I know that's harsh. But I've been tracking and getting complaints about this company since it started up in 1999 (and even before that, when Willem Meiners ran a different vanity press), and it's the truth.

Anonymous 9/19,

ASB isn't publishing any longer, and isn't answering any attempts at communication. There's no way to get books from them. You _might_ be able to order copies online (though see Janet Simons' comment, below yours), but other than that you really have no recourse. As to re-publishing your book...because there has been no official termination of PA/ASB contracts, and because it's not clear yet what exactly has happened, I think that for now you have to continue to assume that PA/ASB holds your rights, at least until your contract's expiration date. The problem with trying to re-publish isn't so much that PA/ASB would come after you, but that a new publisher or self-publishing service won't want a book whose rights may still be licensed to someone else.

Janet Simons,

Your experience with the used sellers demonstrates what a lot of people don't realize: most of the third-party sellers who list books for sale on Amazon and elsewhere are just listing ISBNs and don't actually have the books on hand. If someone places an order, they then try to get hold of a copy, but where the book has limited availability, as with PA/ASB books, they're likely to fail.

"Out of stock" probably means that PA/ASB is no longer communicating with whomever it was using for printing and distribution. It's a way of indicating that orders can't be fulfilled.

What it looks like to me right now is that, for reasons we don't yet know for sure but likely have to do with money, PA/ASB has done a bunk. However, it also appears to be keeping its options open by not relinquishing authors' rights.

Anonymous said...

Do we know what is going on with America Star Book, PA? They are nowhere to be found. Looks like Willem and Alice Meiners skipped town, and took everyone's money. Royalties are now past due, you can't order books, it looks like according to distributors for them they are no longer doing business. But why? And the radio program they were running, Paperback radio or something looks like that is no longer as well. What Frauds! I just need to know what my rights are for my books, how would we be able to get our rights back, files etc?
I think we all need to ban together and file a big lawsuit against the Meiners, I think we all might have something!

Anonymous said...

When you say they are keeping their options open, I wonder what that means...

I am so upset and have been writing in on this site as anonymous ( Just because quite frankly I hate talking bad about anyone) But I feel very frustrated!!!!!

I have six children's books with them. And now they own them and have gone of the face of the earth.

I do thank you for your advice. I am planning on sending a letter out soon, as I stated before. But just waiting to see about one good size order I placed.

Some of my books are stating that they are going back in stock in a few days. Not the typical 1 to 2 months for delivery. Which is what they stated last week. However 2 are stating out of print. Also this is just on Amazon. But my order dates keep getting pushed further away....

I will keep you posted as to whether the larger order gets filled. I mean it's not huge but 25 copies. Also these copies are the lower priced versions I requested. Not the original version. So I would assume that they have to print them up.. Not something that was already on hand...I am wondering also if some of our books have been picked up by the third party publisher and others not... Just so crazy to leave people hanging out in limbo... :(

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous 9/21,

By "keeping their options open," I'm talking about the possibility that they might sell the ASB catalog to some other company. Probably that's not a strong possibility, but I do think it's at least conceivable. However, there's no evidence of that at this point, just as there's no sign of any bankruptcy filings.

Most PA/ASB contracts I've seen are time-limited, so even in the worst-case scenario, they can't hold onto you forever--once your expiration date passes, your rights will be yours again.

If there's no bankruptcy and no catalog sale, and ASB keeps its books online and selling but doesn't pay royalties, I think that an ASB authors' lawsuit would absolutely be justified. I also think that as many ASB authors as possible should file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Attorney General: http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/default.aspx .

I'm going to be updating my post in a few days with that and other information.

 
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