Penguin purchased digital self-publisher Author Solutions last July, for a reported $116 million dollars. The vast majority of the publishing industry see Author Solutions as a pure money grab operation, taking advantage of authors who don’t know any better. In early April a class action lawsuit was initiated by three authors who used the platform and are jointly seeking $5 million dollars in damages. The authors are alleging that the company fails to pay royalties and sells services that don’t actually have any merit. Today, Penguin has petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
The Penguin attorneys are trying to separate themselves from the lawsuit and have said the essence of the case was “a misguided attempt to make a federal class action out of a series of gripes.” Penguin basically wants no part of the lawsuit, noting that “no specific misconduct” by Penguin is alleged. The motion says the case boils down to “alleged typographical and formatting errors and supposed delays in publishing their books,” and some “alleged errors associated with royalty payments owed” on some of the plaintiffs books published under Author Solutions imprints.
Penguin is basically trying to dissolve the class action lawsuit and petitioning the court to have each author’s cases tried separately. More than likely, if this occurs, the authors will lose. The judge overseeing the case, Denise Cote, was the same stalwart figure that presided over the entire DOJ saga against Apple.