Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Regnery Publishing: Boon & Bane, Part II

Well, now Alfred Regnery, former publisher at Regnery (and still a board member), now calls the lawsuit by the disgruntled authors frivolous. Here's what he said in his blog at the American Spectator, where he is now publisher:

"The merits of the lawsuit are hardly worth discussing. To anyone in the book publishing industry they're laughable. I'm a lawyer and know that the contracts they signed are clear and transparent, and are similar to the contracts used throughout the industry. I also know that Regnery puts marketing muscle and expertise behind its books like nobody else in the business -- something that each of the five authors involved benefited from enormously. These disgruntled authors are, perversely, complaining about that muscle. But it's one of the reasons why Regnery has the success it does in putting conservative books where the New York Times doesn't want them -- on its bestseller list."

One, he is correct, Regnery has put a lot of conservatives on the bestseller list. In that sense, they are a boon to conservative authors.

But, two, Regnery, like so many of the larger publishers, offers a contract that is not at all clear or transparent. Regnery should not get off the hook for offering a bad contract to authors. Neither should any of the other large publishers. They offer bad contracts that no author should sign without heavy negotiation. Agents have been doing authors a huge disservice for years allowing authors to sign such author-unfriendly contracts.

Regnery failed to discuss at all the central points of the lawsuit: the self-selling of Regnery books to Eagle at discounts that offer the authors little to no royalty. These sales do not affect the New York Times list. They are simply ways for Regnery to take advantage of authors who sign contracts that are not in any way clear, especially when publishers sell books to themselves at discounts totally out of range of honest business practices.

Posh, again, on Regnery for such self-serving deals.

Posh, again, on the authors for not reading their contracts more carefully and signing what they did. Al is correct in saying that the contracts they signed "are similar to the contracts used throughout the industry." As an industry member, I am not at all proud of that statement. Regnery should also be ashamed.

Posh, again, on the agents that allow authors to sign such bad contracts.

I really do wish publishers would treat authors better. That is the one point Regnery completely ignored. Why would he be happy that the key contributors to the content Regnery publishes are unhappy? What does that say about him as a board member? Let's call the authors fools so we don't have to deal with them anymore. Sad.
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