Following an auction that concluded August 28, Amazon Publishing has acquired the publication contracts of over 1,000 books from Dorchester Publishing. The auction was set in motion in late June as a way for the publisher’s owner, John Backe, to earn back some of the $3.4 million he was owed by the moribund company. Amazon made the initial bid and competitors had until mid-August to come up with a counter offer.
As part of the process, Dorchester authors were offered the opportunity to join Amazon Publishing and receive the full back royalties or have their rights reverted. In June, Amazon identified about 1,900 potential titles, but a spokesperson said about 225 authors turned down their offer in favor of getting their rights back and that the company was unable to contact some other authors because of missing or dated contact information. “Working with the Dorchester author community during this auction process has been a tremendous experience for all of us,” said Philip Patrick, business development director at Amazon Publishing. “We are happy to be able to pay their back royalties and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the Amazon Publishing family.”
Indeed, the authors that have joined Amazon seem happy to be there. “This new relationship will enable the works of countless talented fiction writers to serve their established readers and reach new ones across the globe,” said Gregg Loomis, author of The Bonaparte Secret and whose agent, Chris Fortunato, had been one of the more outspoken agents about Dorchester’s failure to pay authors in its last months of existence.
Going forward, the acquired Dorchester titles will be published under the appropriate Amazon Publishing imprints: science fiction, fantasy, and horror titles to 47North; romance titles to Montlake Romance; mystery and thriller titles to Thomas & Mercer; westerns and other titles to AmazonEncore. Titles will be available both in print and as Kindle books.