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February 7 – February 14, 2008 Edition
WASHINGTON, DC/2/5/08–A federal judge last week dismissed a lawsuit filed in November by five authors against Regnery Publishing’s parent company, Eagle Publishing.
However, the case "is far from over" according to Richard Miniter, one of the five authors who brought the suit in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Authors Jerome R. Corsi, Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray and Richard Miniter had accused Eagle Publishing, which owns the conservative Regnery imprint, of fraud and deception in what they said was a scheme aimed at diverting book sales away from retail outlets to Eagle-owned outlets and book clubs, then selling the books at a deep discounts, thus greatly reducing the authors’ royalties.
The court dismissed the case without prejudice on all but thee counts, according to Miniter. Before the authors can return to court for any appeals, the judge ordered them to first pursue arbitration. Mniter told Authorlink that he will have the new arbitration case filed against Regnery "by Friday," that is, by February 9.
While all five authors are likely to be involved in the authors’ arbitration case, Regnery has its own arbitration case against Richard Miniter for walking out on the delivery of his second book in a two-book contract, and for supposedly selling the work to Simon & Shuster. Miniter told Authorlink that the book he sold to Simon & Schuster is a totally different work, and he would not comment further on the status of its publication there.
Meanwhile, Regnery is expecting results of its own arbitration hearing against Richard Miniter. The results should be announced within the next 45 days, according to Marji Ross, president and publisher of Regnery.
“We are very pleased with the judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit,” said Marji Ross, president and publisher of Regnery. “We work hard to make every book we publish into a best-seller, and to make every Regnery author both successful and satisfied.”
Authors usually receive a 15 percent royalty based on the cover price of a hardcover title, after "earning out" of any advance received from the publisher. But books sold at deep discounts, or given away free, significantly reduce or void the author’s royalty. In Regnery’s case, the authors claimed the publisher was selling books to sister companies, including the Conservative Book Club, which then sells the books to members at discounted prices. They claimed they received “little or no royalty” on these sales because their contracts specify that deeply discounted books earn the author 10 percent, rather than the usual 15% of the book’s cover price. The royalty basis for such "deep discounts" is not only common practice, it is also usually spelled out in most publishers’ contracts. Miniter said no such clause was contained in his contract.
Miniter told Authorlink that although he received about $4.25 a copy when his books sold in a bookstore or through an online retailer, he only earned about 10 cents a copy when his books sold through the Conservative Book Club or other Eagle-owned channels. “The difference between 10 cents and $4.25 is pretty large when you multiply it by 20,000 to 30,000 books,” Mr.. Miniter said.
"Usually book club sales would benefit everybody, but the way Regnery operates, the author is getting less and the publisher is getting more," Miniter said.
When the case was filed last November, Eagle’s attorney Bruce W. Sanford, a lawyer with Baker Hostetlertold told The New York Times that “No publisher in America has a more acute marketing sense or successful track record at building promotional platforms for books than Regnery Publishing. These disgruntled authors object to marketing strategies used by all major book publishers that have proved successful time and again as witnessed by dozens of Regnery bestsellers.”
With respect to Regnery’s arbitration case with Miniter, Marji Ross told Authorlink that Regnery and Richard Miniter had a contract. "In our view he breached the contract by only providing one book, then signing with a different publisher. That contract stipulated that any disputes would be settled by arbitration, so we filed the arbitration case to get our money refunded, and we expect to have the results of that hearing within the next 45 days. Had the case not been dismissed, we believe we would have prevailed on its merits. We are pleased the judge ruled in our favor.
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