The short of it is Dorchester – Leisure are publishing author’s ebooks without their permission, on top of other authors not being paid.
All the details you could want are at Brian Keene’s blog today. If you are someone who purchases Dorchester – Leisure titles, I hope you’ll strongly consider not doing so anymore.
From Brian’s blog:
Starting in late 2009, Dorchester – Leisure began making late payments to some of their authors. Indeed, some authors report never having received payments at all, nor royalty statements verifying what, if any, monies were owed. This continued throughout much of 2010. In mid-2010, with these payment issues still unresolved, Dorchester announced that they were switching to an all-digital format. Then they announced that those digital books would be accompanied by trade paperbacks. Due to the ongoing payment issues, many professional writer’s organizations such as the SFWA and RWA placed Dorchester on probationary status. During a late-August conference call with their creditors (for which I was present and for which I have a transcript of, just in case Dorchester wishes to dispute what follows), they revealed that: The company saw a 60% decrease in book orders in mid-2009; payroll was down from 1 million to $600,000; the company had no cash flow, but also had no bank debt; the company owed six million dollars to various creditors, including $700,000 to active authors and $400,000 to inactive authors; ebooks accounted for 10% of their profit; their trade paperback plan was currently on hold; they didn’t think the sale of the company was possible; and that as of August 9th (2010), they considered themselves “in bankruptcy but are not actually filing for bankruptcy”. Vendors and authors who were owed money for books or services from August 9th forward took precedence in being paid. All others would have to wait.