WritersWeekly Warnings Report
Date Filed: 11/28/01
Company: GreatUnpublished / Digitz / Booksurge / imprintbooks.com
NOTE: WritersWeekly.com is owned by Booklocker.com, which competes with this firm. Booklocker.com has worked with this firm directly and had very bad experiences. See our experiences and those from others below.
If you have a complaint about this firm, send them a certified letter. If that does not work, contact the Better Business Bureau in their area at: http://www.columbia.bbb.org
You can read more complaints about this firm and also post your experiences online here: http://pub43.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11
UPDATE - 02/13/02:
WRITERSWEEKLY READER LARRY CHRISTOPHER WROTE:
Since I wrote a complaint about Great Unpublished several weeks ago, I thought I should follow it up with recent developments. It seems that the main problem was a mix-up regarding my mailing address. GU sent a shipment of my books to my old address and I have since received everything they owed me. Although I did experience some frustration regarding defective copies and the missing shipment, it appears to be cleared up now. I suppose that print-on-demand is a relatively new technology and some glitches are to be expected. The people at GU have been responsive and apparently are serious about fulfilling their customers needs.
UPDATE - 01/23/02:
WRITERSWEEKLY READER LARRY CHRISTOPHER WROTE:
I "published" my novel with GU four months ago. My first problem came when I ordered 20 copies and at least half were defective. Some had over 100 pages missing; others had half the text upside down! When I complained, they said all I had to do was send the covers of the defective books and they'd be promptly replaced. I've been calling them and sending e-mails every week or so for over a month. They're always very pleasant on the phone and reply courteously to my e-mails with responses like, "your books have been shipped today." Still, they never arrive.
The one sale I made from their website was to someone I was in touch with, who complained that he hadn't received the book. After calling GU twice, he finally received his copy (I don't even know if it was good or not) after about a month.
Finally, when I published with them I signed up for marketing services, including having 50 books shipped to independent bookstores (cost me about $500). Again, they keep telling me this is going to happen any day, but it never seems to transpire. I tried another POD, Xlibris, and the problems I had with them were nothing compared to what I'm going through with GU. I'm just sorry I invested so much money in this apparently unreliable company (about $1100 total).
UPDATE - 01/16/02:
WRITERSWEEKLY READER KATHARINE C. KRUEGER WROTE:
In January 2001, I paid two sets of setup fees to Sharon Spinner Reddy for POD editions by Digitz of two of my titles. The man in charge of formatting at CrossroadsPub was Jackie Holley.
When the galley of the first title came back to me with the spacing completely wrong, I was told if I wanted it corrected I would have to pay an additional 50.00. I paid the additional 50.00, sent a list of the required corrections, and the galley came back with all the original errors. Then the second title came back to me with the formatting incomplete and the spacing completely wrong. After that Mr. Holley, who we were told was our only contact with Digitz, disappeared off the face of the earth.
In July 2001, I telephoned Ms. Kate Howard at Digitz and complained. She said I had to deal through Mr. Holley and no one. By now, other CrossroadsPub authors were starting to complain. I repeatedly posted Mr. Holley, who never answered. So there I sat, out 250.00 with nothing to show for it.
When Mitchell posted a big self-promo for Digitz and Booksurge on a discussion list to which I happen to belong, I thought 'aha!' and e-mailed him. His response was to turn me over to Ms. Kate Howard who came up with the same response I'd received from Mr. Holley, telling me to make the same corrections all over again. (Quite apart from anything else, Digitz's correction form is an incredibly time-consuming inefficient mess to deal with.)
I have corresponded with Mitchell at some length since then and have to concur that the man is rude and apparently without much conscience.
In the meantime, CrossroadsPub via Mr. Holley entered into a contract with Digitz, after which the authors wanting POD were directed to a site called CrossroadsPub.org. This site took them straight into a contract with BookSurge which was nothing but an all rights grab, with the authors paying the freight yet!
I told Ms. Howard thanks but no thanks and asked for my money back. Even though Digitz had acknowledged receiving my money, Ms. Howard said any refund would have to come from CrossroadsPub, not Digitz, and that if I wanted printed books it would have to be on BookSurge's terms. A number of other authors complained to Digitz about the BookSurge/CrossroadsPub contract and when a number of complaints against CrossroadsPub were filed with the New Mexico Attorney General, Digitz canceled their contract with CrossroadsPub.
My suggestion to anyone concerned about the way Digitz/BookSurge/Great Unpublished does business is to file a complaint with:
a. the Better Business Bureau
b. the Attorney General\'s office in the state where Digitz is headquartered
c. the U.S. Postal Inspector
because it looks to me as if several laws and regulations may have been violated here. It also wouldn't hurt to talk to the folks at Consumer Reports.
UPDATE - 01/09/02:
WRITERSWEEKLY READER MISTI JACKSON WROTE:
In Jan. of 2001 I published my first novel with Great Unpublished, and in the beginning this publisher seemed to be very kind until the book was out in the market. From then on I was left with unpaid royalties, I had proof. They breeched several clauses in their contract and reviewers never received their review copy of my book they requested.
There is quite a few problems that I had with this publisher and have heard and read of others having the same problems. I believe authors should be notified of this so that they will know before paying any fees to be published with Great Unpublished. I wish I had been warned before I published with them.
My book is now off their site and I have cancelled my contract with them too. I will never publish with them again, nor recommend them to even my worst enemy.
UPDATE - 12/12/01:
This email is reprinted with permission from SynergEbooks. It was forwarded to WritersWeekly.com after being sent to other self-publishers.
Here is the situation. I am hoping that after you read this, you will want to join me in doing SOMETHING - ANYTHING to bring these people down.
On the 5th of November, I ordered 8 of my books from Digitz. This was before I was informed that they were dropping all of my books from their site. I waited and waited, and never received them. When I went to check my account status of this order, it was mysteriously absent from the site after the first few days, so I couldn't get any information.
Two weeks later, when I finally got in touch with Mitchell, he told me he had 'resent' my order. I didn't know whether that meant that the order I put in was never given to the printer, or if the books that were sent had to actually be sent out to me again in the mail... and when I asked Mitchell that question in my last phone call to him, he did not answer me, even though I asked him 3 times.
The week before last, I called Digitz and got a very friendly young woman who said that my books had been shipped, and she sent me the shipping information. I called UPS, as they told me to do, and they said they Digitz would have to be the one to be a tracer on the package. So I called Digitz back and told the same woman she had to do that for me. She said she would.
Two days later (last week), I called Mitchell and asked him what the status was. He said he would look into it. Following is the reply I got from him.
[this part of the email was not received by writersweekly]
Can you believe how utterly rude and obnoxious this man is?! Not only does he insinuate that I would accuse UPS of loosing my package (and actually post something about that on their site), which I never once said or even implied that I would do, but he has no intention of searching for the SECOND package that was sent, and has no explanation as to how both could've been lost, AND once again, he blames ME for not receiving it, and for even bothering him about it in the first place.
This is just not right. What good is a guarantee of 48 hours to PRINT something if the printed shipment never gets to us? What good is it to have an account with them if they can conveniently put whatever they want there for us to read, whether it is true or not? What good is it to pay for books that never reach their destination?
I wrote back to Mitchell and told him that the 'logical' thing to do would be to credit my account, since I never received these books. He did not reply.
I am going to see if I can get these charges (my author never received his copy either) off of my card, but I would like to send out a Press Release to everyone in the biz letting them know that Digitz's 48-hour Guarantee is a bunch of horse-swallow, and that we are not going to stand for this.
Seriously - will you all stand behind me in this when I send out the release? Or would it be better to simply send something to EPPRO and/or EPIC and post it around that Digitz is getting really good at screwing its customers.
I mean, I am not only out $1500 because they're taking my books off of their site (which is fine with me - I would rather lose that money now then down the road), but I am also getting a HORRIBLE reputation at Amazon, since I have yet to fill an order for any of my paperbacks, since every time I send in an order to get the books from Digitz, the final product either never gets here or is in such bad shape that I couldn't possibly send the books to them anyway without totally ruining my reputation.
I have also missed many a booksignings waiting for books to arrive that haven't gotten to me on time, even though I ordered the books WEEKs ahead of time. And now the 11 free books I was promised by Jeff that I would receive for the text and the covers being so messed up - THEIR mistake, which they admitted to - will never be sent, because I 'embarrassed' Jeff and he simply doesn't want to fulfill his promise.
Please tell me that I can do something about this. It has to be time that Digitz - who is moving to a 'larger' facility, supposedly - gets knocked down before more of us get screwed by them. They are expanding on OUR money - and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it!
~ Taking Books to New Heights!
WRITERSWEEKLY.COM'S NOTE: When we used Digitz, they did not honor
their 48-hour or free guarantee, either. We obtained the actual label from
a box of books that was shipped very late. Digitz' response was that the post
office must have held the box for several days before sending it on and that
they wouldn't pay for a mistake the post office made. Yeah…right.
Over a year ago, we contracted with Digitz.net for them to be our POD printer. The treatment we received and the quality of the books they printed were horrid. Books were sent with the wrong book text inside, with the wrong author listed on the copyright page, and more. Readers and even an author reported that their books fell apart on arrival due to a poor spine. Some books were shipped late or weren't shipped at all and our credit card was incorrectly charged on occasion as well.
We switched printers after several months at a considerable financial loss (setup fees for several books plus months of man-hours and our formatter's hourly fees all had to be re-done and re-paid to our new printer). When we requested a refund on the setup fees for books that had not even started work on, they refused. We told them we would issue chargebacks for those fees they had charged to our credit card (because they hadn't even started work on those books). They said if we issued chargebacks for those setup fees, they'd stop selling all our books at that time (which would have been disastrous for our authors who were already in their system). We considered this blackmail, but what were we to do?
In June, one of their managers ordered a book from us (printed by our new printer) and accused us of shipping the book late. He then asked if we would reconsider using Booksurge (a.k.a. Digitz, a.k.a. Great Unpublished). Our response was this:
In the several months that we've used Lightning, you're the first person to ever state a book hasn't arrived, which is far superior service to what we received at Digitz. And, the pages of their books don't fall out and there aren't missing parts of insides of books.
And, Lightning doesn't lie to us and our authors and hasn't harmed our reputation at all as Digitz did severely. We lost three authors and countless customers while working with Digitz. We've lost none since moving to Lightning.
So, no thank you. We're perfectly happy with Lightning.