Diasporian News of Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Source: Okwuosa O. Ezeoma

Minereva Press Deceived And Defrauded Us

TO: THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

DATE: Wed, July 12, 2011 3:20:58 PM

Minereva Press Changed Name To Athena Press
And Deceived And Defrauded Us
WITHIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA
AND THEY ARE STILL REGISTERED IN FLORIDA
Sir, I have been deceived and defrauded by Minerva Press, which changed name to Athena Press and is registered in the State of Florida. Here is our documented experience in the hands of ATHENA (MINERVA) PRESS. I was not an author by profession so I knew next to nothing about book publishing at the time I started dealing with MINERVA now ATHENA PRESS. They have virtually ruined my writing career.

I am the author of “WHO IS ROBBING GOD?” published by Athena Press on April 12,
2003. From this date, they began to sell my book worldwide. And EIGHT (8) years down the road, I am yet to receive a dime of royalties or even an honest account of the actual number of books sold. When the time came to calculate my royalties, they told me that my file with them could not be found. Mr. David Moore had earlier said that the royalties due to me are huge and that was as at end of 2005! Mr. Mark Sykes had lied to me that people do not read hard cover books when they buy them and that was why they produced my book in paperback after collecting $6, 080.00 to produce hard cover.

They promised to do book reviews in the papers but never showed me
even one they did. When I asked for books to give to the Nigerian Press for book
reviews, Mr. Thomas Mathew said he had ordered the books but it turned out to be
untrue. Recently, Amazon.com hurriedly cancelled an order for two copies of my book,
when the buyer asked them to ship the books to me! This was after they had
accepted his payment and told him to expect the books within three weeks. Right
after that, they now require buyers to first send an e-mail before they could be told when the book would be available. Yet this man had earlier ordered the book from EBay and
it was shipped to his address in USA.

The only difference now is that he asked them to ship it to me, the author! If they have nothing to hide, why are they now selling the book underground?
Mr. Mark Sykes had earlier dared me to sue them if I can afford the cost of
hiring a lawyer. Now sir, I plead with you to use your good office to secure my rights and my royalties, which have accumulated for the past eight years.
AMAZON Inc. is one of the frontline companies that sold my book, titled "WHO IS ROBBING GOD?"


For eight years running, AMAZON sold my book non-stop. When I tried
without success to get ATHENA PRESS to render an honest account of production
and sales, I turned to AMAZON. All I could find was their Sales Rank
information. The Amazon Sales Rank does not tell the author the actual number of
his books sold. It is a deceitful statistic which is completely meaningless. A
genuine Sales Rank must be based on nothing but actual sales - on the exact
number of copies sold. THE SALES FIGURES OF A BOOK SHOULD NOT BE A SECRET. If AMAZON is not colluding with ATHENA PRESS to hide the facts, then AMAZON should tell the whole world and the author, EXACTLY HOW MANY COPIES THEY HAVE ORDERED AND SOLD IN EIGHT YEARS. The only details I kept seeing on the AMAZON ebsite are "In Stock" or "One left, more to come" , “30 used and New Available" , “New: 1-20 of 20" , "Used: 1-10 of 10" , etc. This is usually followed by a list
of sellers whose stock quantities are never disclosed. Yet each individual seller actually had at least 10 copies, as we found out on the E-bay website! At one time, Amazon itself listed 98 copies available on E-bay! I have these facts printed out. Apart from direct sales by AMAZON, other dealers from all over America and the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, had the book "In Stock." From Florida to California; from New York to Oregon, Germany, France, Japan, India and Canada, there where dealers who sold both New and Used copies! The story was the same for UK based dealers.

E-bay is a more righteous website, where dealers were required to state the
number of copies they had in stock. Some dealers had 100 copies, some 50 copies;
the least quantity was 10 copies. Amazon had 98 copies on E-Bay!

Lightning Source Inc is the sole printer of "WHO IS ROBBING GOD?" They are based in Tennessee, USA. Sir, I would like to know how many copies of my book they have printed in eight years. Is it fair that I, as the author of this book, am not told the number of copies printed and sold, in eight years, of a book I worked on day and night for two consecutive years?

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Lightning Source Inc. has offices both in Tennessee U.S.A. and in the United
Kingdom. From these two locations, they have printed and distributed my book,
which ATHENA PRESS told me, is PRINT ON DEMAND. This means that every copy
printed had already been paid for in advance and cannot be returned as unsold.
Athena Press told me that Lightning Source Inc. is in the best position to tell me the total number of copies printed to date. Lightning Source Inc. prints and mails directly to the buyers as well. I received the author’s 50 complimentary copies sent to me, by the Publishers, mailed directly to me, by Lightning Source Inc. Within six months, I had sold out the 40 copies I could sell, of what I received. I got phone calls by buyers, demanding for more copies of the book. One buyer was so desperate to get the book – having checked all the bookshops in Lagos - that I had to sell to him my only clean personal copy, when he used my phone number and address in the book to find me. ATHENA PRESS had the sole rights to market the book worldwide so I kept directing buyers to get their copies online.

It is strange that even copies bought by those we asked to do so, for accounting
checks and balances were not recorded by ATHENA PRESS. Even when the author
asked Mr. David Moore, he said he was not aware of the sales! Yet the buyers
sent us the purchase details, some from the UK and some from the U.S.A. Is it
not glaring that a racket is going on in the sales of our books?

HOW WE WERE DEFRAUDED BY (MINERVA) ATHENA PRESS
It was from the link below that we got to know the real reason Minerva Press changed name to Athena Press:
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/vanitypublishers.html

"Minerva Press Ltd., a UK vanity publisher with branches in India and the USA,
was the subject of two exposes by the BBC. More than 40 authors sought redress
from this company, alleging false promises, production of shoddy books, and
general failure to fulfill contractual promises. In 2001, 16 of those cases were
settled by Minerva in favor of the authors under a blanket non-disclosure
agreement. Minerva went bust in 2002, leaving behind over £2 million in debt, as
well as unpaid staff and multitudes of unhappy authors."

It was after reading the above information that I found out that we were roundly
deceived and defrauded right from the onset. They prey on the ignorance of new
authors and deceive them with false promises. Not knowing who we were dealing
with, I introduced another author, who was also defrauded. We later discovered
from the internet that our books were being sold as I stated in the background
information posted on Yahoo! Answers.

They told us they were leaving America but we never knew about their winding up. They wrote us, saying that they were CHANGING THEIR NAME FROM MINERVA PRESS TO ATHENA PRESS and wanted to know if we would continue with them in the new company. Half way through the deal, they asked us to send the remaining two installment payments to their address in the UNITED KINGDOM where they were relocating to. Meanwhile, we had already paid two installments to them in USA and were asked to send the remainder of the money to the new company in the United Kingdom. We were never told the truth behind their leaving America. Yet we chose them because they were in U.S.A and we were given the impression that they were American publishers, which was the main reason I chose them in the first place. By the time they were “leaving” U.S.A, I had already paid two of the four installments of the $6,080.00! They are full of intrigues, lying and tricks. This crime was committed in the United States of America, within the State of Florida AND THEY ARE STILL DOING BUSINESS IN FLORIDA!

Sir, please investigate all three companies involved in this racket, namely, Athena Press Inc., Lightning Source Inc. and Amazon Inc. Now I will not rest until I see them prosecuted to pay all my outstanding royalties, which have accumulated over the past EIGHT YEARS. They have done a devastating damage to my writing career and should be made to pay all possible damages and be finally stopped from defrauding new, young and innocent authors. Seeing the great damage they have caused so far, they should be wound up forever and kept behind bars. They have all but killed my zeal to write - I have nine other books lined up – but I am demoralized by their wickedness in denying me of my royalties and giving me the impression that hard cover books are never read by those who buy them. Painfully, I borrowed all of the $6,080.00 from a sponsor plus all my life savings I spent bringing the book to camera ready state.

Please, sir, can you sue them on our behalf? If so, what are we required to do?
We would like to know. We are willing to come forward with any evidence you may need from us and appear in court if necessary and if invited to do so. Thank you, sir.

Yours sincerely,

Okwuosa Obidi Ezeoma