This is amazing to me. Night Shade has been one of the models of small publisher success. I saw a few panels at WorldCon that featured their authors or owners. They’ve been the toast of the town. Now, they’re in deep trouble and in need of bailing out.
iO9 did an amazing write-up of the situation. The only thing I don’t get is the deal made about their royalty structure. The 8/10/12 of retail is fairly standard, unless the escalators were set quite low. That is, where a major publisher might have the 12% rate kick in at hundreds of thousands of books, maybe they set it to thousands, but I seriously doubt that.
The e-book royalties sound slightly more generous, but not extravagant. So why are they going under? Are all publishers this tenuous? It might explain why the terms for authors haven’t improved much; there might not be any room to improve them! Which means very-not-good-news for trad. authors and publishers going forward, because they’ll have to compete with the 70% of retail rates that self-pubbed authors enjoy.
My heart goes out to the authors and staff of Night Shade. Good people. Let’s hope this is resolved in the best manner possible.