Via Writer Beware comes this news: embattled vanity press Publish America is trying to make people forget its past by changing their name to America Star. It is perhaps in reaction to stories like this:
Plaintiffs allege breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, violations of the California Business and Professions Code (for untrue advertising), violations of the California Unfair Competition Law (for unlawful business acts and practices, unfair business acts and practices, and fraudulent business acts and practices), and deceptive acts and practices under New York General Business Law.
The allegations of fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract are similar to those of the earlier complaint, but where the previous complaint sought judgment under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act–and was dismissed in large part because it failed to adequately demonstrate that PA authors should be treated as consumers under the Act–this complaint focuses on laws governing business acts and practices, both in Maryland and in the home states of the named plaintiffs. Does it have a better chance of success? That remains to be seen.
The rebranding also appears to be a repurposing. Instead of being a vanity press for American writers, they are seeking to translate books into English from overseas. Translation: they’re trying to reach a market that may not have heard about PA’s problems. More cynical translation: they’ll be releasing horribly translated books and foreign-speaking writers won’t know the difference until it’s too late. Here’s what they do:
- Translate the book into English.
- Publish the translated book in America, Canada and Great Britain.
- List the translated book with the world’s largest book distributor, Ingram, so that it is available to all American bookstores, including Barnes and Noble, and also to Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.it, Amazon.es, Amazon.jp, Amazon.fr, Amazon.cn, and Amazon.co.uk.
Translation is the next frontier of self-publishing. How would you like to have your self-published book in French, German, etc.? America Star is attempting to do just that in English, but chances are the translated books will get the same questionable treatment that English language books did with Publish America.