ACX is an Amazon marketplace where authors, literary agents, publishers, and other Rights Holders can connect with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and other Producers capable of producing a finished audiobook. The only problem is, they refuse to pay royalties.
Theft is theft, regardless of how you try to hide it, justify it, or finagle it. A bully is a bully whether they are a pack of kids of the playground or a multi-million dollar company, and the only way I know how to respond is to tell as many people as I can.
As an author, it is undeniably exciting to have your work artfully created into an audiobook. It’s an indescribable feeling to hear your words come alive by a talented voiceover artist, narrator, or actor and ACX offered a unique opportunity to bring creators together in order to produce a winning product. Unfortunately, ACX has not held up its end of the agreement.
I am a published author with Next Chapter Publications. Twice within the last year, ACX has closed my publisher’s account, stating reasons that were unsubstantiated by any sort of documentation, legal or otherwise. The company continued to sell the audiobooks listed under my publisher’s account; yet refused to pay out any royalties. Although my publisher made tireless efforts to negotiate, ACX was uncooperative and resistant to make any resolution.
The most recent action by ACX has locked my publisher out from their account. When we, the authors, write to ACX with concerns, we are told since we are not the account holder, ACX cannot communicate with us about the situation. Meanwhile, our audiobooks continue to sell and ACX is holding all the royalties.
“Today on 17th September, our audiobook production account at ACX was closed without warning. Moments later, we received a cryptic email from them about a copyright infringement on one of our titles, and they have informed us that any outstanding royalties will not be paid. Next Chapter does not have any infringing material on our account, and ACX has shown us zero proof of any copyright infringement.” — Next Chapter Publishing
Understandably incensed, I have done some research into the company and have found a plethora of similar complaints from other authors, narrators, and even the Alliance of Independent Authors-
“The Alliance of Independent Authors has launched an AudibleGate Campaign resource to disseminate information about the latest developments in this case. There, you’ll find breaking news, a summary of the issues, and information on how you can take action to demand a fair deal for rights holders, click here. Below ALLi Watchdog John Doppler explains what’s going on and why the company’s recent “concession” of a seven-day limit on returns misses the point, and is wholly insufficient.”
ACX’s rating on TrustPilot is a woeful 1.9 with page after page of complaints and issues. You can take a look at them here.
“Sales reporting is a mess. Often nothing is reported for days, and seems somewhat random. No transparency: I have no idea if reported sales are accurate. Last month I was getting dozens of sales every day. Then, the new month began and no sales were reported for 6 days. There are still an estimated 150–200 sales missing. I wrote to customer support, who said they were aware of the problem and that many others have complained, but nothing since.
Edit: overnight, ACX deleted 139 of my sales. These were not “returns” (the returns number remained the same as the day before). Still no response from my first email. I’ve written again.”
ACX is hiding sales, changing contracts, and reneging on agreements on a daily basis. This recent article by the ALLi Watchdog Report cites multiple offenses. As does this article by Fictive Universe and this interview with a narrator by AudibleGate. The list of articles and scams goes on and on….and on.
So what does this mean and why am I ranting?
Because theft is theft, regardless of how you try to hide it, justify it, or finagle it. A bully is a bully whether they are a pack of kids of the playground or a multi-million dollar company, and the only way I know how to respond is to tell as many people as I can.
IF you feel as outraged about this as I do, please take a moment to share this article. Bad press can move mountains. Should you feel inclined to further action, you can contact ACX through these channels.
ACX contact information is as follows:
EMAILS: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
PHONE NUMBERS: 1–888–396–6347 (US) and 0800–031–4086 (UK)
Thank you for your support.