The Airleaf Victims blog reports the terrific news that Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has filed a lawsuit against Carl Lau, founder of Airleaf and Bookman Marketing, for violating the state’s Deceptive
Consumer Sales Act by "taking money without providing
the promised services in return."
"More than 120 people
are named in the lawsuit, including many from Indiana who lost
thousands of dollars,” said Carter. “In fact, hundreds more may have
lost money. They paid for services. Airleaf did not deliver, and now,
those consumers deserve refunds.”
[…]In addition to consumer restitution, the attorney general’s office is
seeking civil penalties of up to $5,500 per violation, as well as
The action doesn’t go nearly as far as the Airleaf victims would like — or Lau deserves — but hopefully it will send a strong message to the vanity press industry, especially those ex-Airleaf execs who have started their own POD-presses. Writers Beware notes:
Airleaf has spawned several publishing enterprises run by ex-staff–including Fideli Publishing, a fee-based publisher whose marketing packages bear an eerie similarity to Airleaf’s, and Brien Jones’s Jones Harvest Publishing,
which also charges fees for publishing and offers many Airleaf-style
services (Writer Beware has gotten some advisories about Jones
Harvest’s email solicitations,
and Mr. Jones has recently chosen to reimburse several Jones Harvest
authors who alleged performance problems). If you trace the family tree
backward instead of forward, you arrive at the Big Daddy of POD vanity
publishing, AuthorHouse, where Brien Jones was employed before he
co-founded Airleaf’s predecessor, Bookman Marketing. It’s a tangled web
indeed–which, sadly, is not unusual in the murky world of vanity POD.
Unfortunately, many Airleaf victims haven’t learned from their mistake…and have simply moved on to other POD vanity presses, including those run by former Airleaf execs.
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Harvesting New Suckers
As I warned back in December, it appears that the Jones Harvest vanity press is following the loathsome example set by Airleaf, the notorious publishing scam, and is targeting the elderly with false promises of bestseller success and instant celebrity….