Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fast Shuffle for Swift Boaters

Saving America is hard work, and the pay can be rotten, at least if you're doing it for the nation's leading conservative publisher.

In a lawsuit, authors of books that exposed Bill Clinton and John Kerry and extolled George Bush are claiming they were scammed and short-changed on their best sellers by Eagle Publishing, which owns the Regnery imprint.

The plaintiffs produced such epic works as “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” “Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security” and “Shadow War: The Untold Story of How Bush Is Winning the War on Terror” and received, they allege, only a fraction of the royalties due them.

If they had been paid by the word for their titles alone, they should have become wealthy, but their publisher sold or gave away copies of their books to self-owned book clubs, newsletters and other organizations “to avoid or substantially reduce royalty payments to authors.”

Instead of getting $4 or more a copy for books sold in a bookstore or through online retailers, they earned only 10 cents or so on sales through the Conservative Book Club and other such entities of the publisher.

“It suddenly occurred to us," one of them told reporters, "that Regnery is making collectively jillions of dollars off of us and paying us a pittance." Why, he asked, are they "acting like a Marxist cartoon of a capitalist company?”

In a brief career as a book publisher, I found that authors are chronic malcontents who fail to understand the risks involved in underwriting freedom of expression, but these patriots seem to have a point.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Meh. The "authors" got what they wanted. They helped lower the esteem with which many voters regarded Kerry and the Democrats. I have no sympathy for the character assassins.