In an email sent to authors Friday, Christina Brashear, publisher of Samhain Publishing, a mostly digital romance publisher, said the publisher will begin to shut down its publishing operations due to a steady decline in e-book sales.
“It’s with the heaviest of hearts and a great sadness I bring you the news of Samhain beginning the process of winding down due to our market share's continuing decline. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business,” Brashear wrote.
In the letter, Brashear said e-books sales at Samhaim have been declining steadily over the last two years. Attempts to renegotiate terms with Amazon for better placement on their site, “have been met with silence.”
She said the house, which was founded in 2005 and was a pioneering publisher of romance fiction in e-book formats, will layoff most of its staff and freelancers. About five staff employees will remain to wind down publishing operations. Brashear said she will not shut Samhain down immediately, and will continue to publish scheduled titles, sell books, and pay royalties as long as possible to satisfy creditors.
Brashear said royalties will be processed on a normal schedule. She said titles that are completed and ready will be published on schedule; and authors whose titles are not finished will have their rights reverted back to them. Brashear also said while she intends to revert all the rights of all books back to their authors, she cautioned that it will not happen immediately.
“Many of you are going to ask for your rights back, I expect. Please be patient and understand it will take time to process those titles where rights are available to be returned. If your titles haven’t yet reached the point to have your rights returned, we won’t be making any mass releases at this point. We need the income to continue while we wind down and ask that you understand that we will release the books when we can and we won’t be abusing your trust.”
Brashear writes that, “Samhain has commitments to vendors other than writers and to turn it all off now would put me in bankruptcy. I hope you don’t want that any more than I.”