I published a paperback novel with iUniverse in 2007, then made a Kindle version myself in 2009. Last year, someone from iUniverse contacted me and asked if I wanted them to create a Kindle version of my book. I told them "No," as I had already done it. So I was surprised today when I came across an iUniverse-created Kindle version on Amazon for sale for $3.99. (I have my version listed for 99¢.)
I logged onto my iUniverse account to unpublish their version. I couldn't. Now I was pissed. The point of self-publishing is to give the author control over his or her work. iUniverse took that control away from me. They made a Kindle version after I told them not to, and set a price that I would not have agreed upon. So, you're probably thinking, what's the big deal. You're still getting royalties, right? Well, yes.
But what if I had set a higher price on my version, and iUniverse basically undercut me? (Or even the same price for that matter. Amazon offers a higher royalty rate.) Not to mention, they took the manuscript from the paperback version of the book published 4 1/2 years ago. What if I had revised it since then? Even if it was just to fix some typos?
So I called the customer service number and after complaining to the woman who answered, she said I should email customer service. This is what I sent. No response yet.
To whom it may concern,
Please IMMEDIATELY unpublish the Kindle ebook version of my novel, Into the Sunset (9780595894406). Kindle #B006WPZK9S $3.99. I was contacted by iUniverse a year or so ago, and specifically said DO NOT make a Kindle version since I already did. So I was shocked to discover today that iUniverse went ahead anyway and made a Kindle version. Why? I said no. PLEASE DELETE IMMEDIATELY.
And another thing that I am furious about: There is no way for me to delete this book myself when I log into my iUniverse account. This is outrageous. Why are you taking control out of the hands of the authors? If this book is not deleted in the next 24 hours, I will also pull the paper version from your company and publish it with Amazon's Createspace.
I will also blog about this and alert other authors on as many writers sites as I can. This is outrageous and you will continue to lose business with practices like this.
UPDATE: I called back when I didn't receive a response to my email. I was transferred to a woman in production who immediately put in a request to Amazon that the book be removed. She said it would take a couple of days for Amazon to update their site. I checked this morning (Feb. 3) and the iUniverse Kindle version of my book has been deleted.