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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Amazon to move in on Dorchester - possibly

From Digital Book World

After a long illness Dorchester Books has finally succumbed, a victim of the digital revolution to which the mass market paperback publisher could not adapt. But if authors and agents read the fine print in today’s “Notice of Public Disposition” they will find the following phrase: “Secured Party will foreclose its security interest in and sell at public auction as a single unit through Garfunkel Wild, P.C., to Amazon Publishing, or such other higher and/or better bidder as may prevail at auction…”

And a little further down is the good news that authors and agents who had despaired of recovering royalties from the sinking publisher will be made whole by Amazon: ” All publication contacts regarding certain literary works (collectively, the “Works”) and related outbound license agreements of DP (collectively, the “Contracts”), subject to the purchaser negotiating certain amendments with the authors of the Works in exchange for payment by Amazon Publishing of the full amount of back royalties that DP indicates is owed to those authors as of May 31, 2012…”

In practice Amazon, or any firm that outbids Amazon in an auction to be conducted in August, will tender amendments to authors and agents transferring rights to the new entity, in exchange for which back royalties will be paid in full.

The acquiring firm will then convert the books to e-books (a number of them have been converted already) and release them in e-book format. The original covers are among the assets to be acquired; our understanding is that Dorchester owned them outright and no rights clearance will have to be undertaken.

Though we lament the passing of Dorchester, with its excellent list of westerns, horror, romance and other genre fiction, we are happy to think its orphaned books will be in the hands of those who will know what to do with them.

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