Stephen T Manning & Checkpoint Press Lies & Hypocrisy On Alleged Diggory Price Overpricing

Stephen T Manning for Checkpoint Press, Ireland, in seeking to smear and harass Rosalind Franklin (RF) of Diggory Press Ltd, has repeatedly lied about her and her company.

Manning said in a comment left on a publishing blog in 2007 that RF of DP sent in over-inflated prices on his title to amazon (and that RF therefore kept the profits from these excessive prices and never passed them onto him, the title’s author).

Manning has continued to say similar to this day and has never retracted this allegation. Manning’s supposed ‘evidence’ for this claim? Because of the prices asked for his title by certain third party retailers on amazon!

Most people should be able to spot the bogusness of Manning’s claim straight away, but for those that can’t, let’s examine Manning’s claim in detail as well as note the continued lies and hypocrisy of the man. Remember, this guy is a publisher – and a “publishing expert” at that – so would know more than the average man on the street about the publishing and book selling process. It’s therefore not an ‘innocent’ mistake made by an inept and incompetent bumbling fool – it’s a premeditated deliberated wilful smear against a publishing rival.

Let’s look at Manning’s comment first from this link – I have whited out the rest of the comment for the sake of clarity so as to focus on the lies of Manning’s I wish to highlight and deal with now  – (you can click on this image to enlarge it)

So basically Manning is saying because third party retailers, in no way connected to amazon itself or to Rosalind Franklin and Diggory Press itself, are asking more than the recommended retail price on his book, therefore Rosalind Franklin of DP must have:

a) ’sent in the price’ to amazon like this

and

b) must be profiteering from the excess mark up

and

c) be still “illegally” selling his book

and

d) not passing on the royalties to him

Now let’s look at the actual facts.

a) Manning accusation – RF/DP ’sent in the price’ to amazon like this

  • This is what Manning says about listing practices to his authors on his Checkpoint Press website: (so it’s one rule for his company and another rule for Diggory Press – the hypocrite!) It also illustrates he KNOWS he’s lied about Diggory Press.
    1. No publisher ’sends in prices’ to amazon anyway (as Manning, the Checkpoint Press Charlie well knows).
    2. RF/DP were not the publisher in this case, Manning was. DP only helped print and distribute the book through their network, as they were authorised to by Manning.
    3. If RF/DP had sent in prices to anybody in the retail chain asking over the RRP, the price hike would have shown on amazon and everywhere else and nobody would have been able to purchase the book at the normal retail price. However that was not the case as the book WAS listed on amazon etc at the normal price, it was only the third parties that charged more, indicating that RF/DP had set the RRP EXACTLY as was agreed: (see also their own website listing showing them listing the book at the authorised price at this link)
    4. If RF/DP had put Manning’s book at an unauthorised price through their distribution network then Manning would have known about it and complained about it long before he did (and certainly would not have commissioned them to do more books for him as he did in fact do). Instead, according to court and police records, RF/DP says Manning made it up as smear after the fact (along with many other false accusations) many months afterward when RF/DP refused to give into Manning’s blackmail demands. RF/DP says Manning threatened to smear the Diggory Press business (which at that point had an impeccable reputation) and campaign against DP if RF did not give into his blackmail demands. RF stood her ground. The sick Manning then boasted to RF she did not know who she was dealing with as he had done it to others before her so she should really give into him then. She still stood her ground. She then says Manning threatened RF and told her she needed to be taught a lesson and punished by him for daring to stand up to him. (He calls himself ‘teacher’ for this reason in some of the many harassing emails he continues to send her over three years on).
    5. Questions of motive must arise as to what a publisher could possibly gain from risking sending in unauthorised over-inflated prices to amazon – even if it were possible – when most print on demand books only sell an average of 2 copies. (And self published books are an even lower average).
    6. Most sales are also made by the publisher to their authors direct, and so it is the author that should be kept sweet so they come back for more books and services! Even if RF/DP were fraudulently inclined they’d have to be really, really stupid to take such a risk for such little reward when much much more could be gained by keeping Manning sweet.

    b) Manning accusation – RF/DP must be profiteering from the excess mark up

    1. Just because a print on demand item is listed does not mean it physically exists. And it also does not mean it’s sold.
    2. The third party merchants on amazon are listing items just like people do on ebay and so they can ask what they want for something – it doesn’t mean they’ll actually get it!
    3. If I go out and put some of my new or second hand books for sale on amazon or ebay or sell them at a garage sale or market, who is responsible for the price I charge? Who makes the money on this specific transaction? The publisher? The original bookstore I bought from? Of course not! It’s me and only me, and I make or lose money depending on what I manage to sell my stock at. Nobody can be blamed for the price a third party tries to sell a product at! It’s dumb to even try to lay the blame elsewhere.
    4. None of these third party merchants are Rosalind Franklin or Diggory Press.
    5. The third party merchants on amazon pre-list print on demand books – so they don’t have the book in stock when they list them (because they’d go broke as most p.o.d books never sell), but the merchants anticipate being able to quickly and easily order the book if there is an order and then send on these books.  Some of these merchants, for reasons I don’t personally understand, will even say the book that doesn’t even exist yet is ’second hand’. This is one fact that does confuse genuine authors, and they will sometimes over-estimate their sales as a consequence, but anyone browsing publishing forums and checking facts out for themselves will soon find out about this practice as it is commonly discussed among authors. Certainly any publisher would know! And Manning does know, as it happens, he’s been convicted by his own alternative version of the truth spoken to his own authors (see green screenshot below on number 7).
    6. As to motive – if Diggory Press struggled to sell Manning’s book at the authorised RRP (4 sales I believe in total ever!), and as a consequence DP decided to have it removed it from their distribution service as it did not make enough even to cover the tiny annual costs of keeping it in distribution, then why on earth would they think they could sell it at 3 times the RRP price?! Why would they even try?!!! If they were going to change the price, surely it would have to be DOWNWARDS!

    c)  Manning accusation – must be still “illegally” selling his book

    1. The facts given in b) link into this as to how print on demand books are listed by websites, especially third party merchants. So even if a book is listed on a website as ‘for sale’ or ‘in stock’, it does not mean it’s really available to purchase and receive – it only means the merchant expects it to be available and will take an order for it hoping to be able to get it.
    2. DP cannot be blamed for a third party merchant’s mistake of wrongful presumption.
    3. The fact that the title was ONLY listed with third party merchants, and not from amazon proper itself when the allegations were made, actually proves that RF/DP had withdrawn it from distribution and printing. Because if they hadn’t withdrawn it, it would still be available on amazon and regular merchants at the regular price with a much quicker time turnaround (24 hrs usually)
    4. The facts are Manning KNEW his book with DP/RF was no longer in distribution and had it directly confirmed to him by the printers and distributers themselves. Yet he still continued to make this slanderous accusation against DP/RF, and has never retracted it.
    5. It should also be remembered that because Manning still owed DP/RF money for work on his books (around £80), DP were contractually entitled to keep on selling his title, even if he requested it to be withdrawn, to offset any future royalties against his bad debts. So they would not have been ‘illegally’ selling his title anyway, even if they had continued to sell it for a long time afterwards. They didn’t carry on “selling” it, as it turned out, or even attempt to, as his title made too few sales to cover the tiny costs of keeping the book in their distribution system.

    d) Manning accusation – must not be passing on the royalties to him

    This has been pretty much covered in full in the points above.

    1. A book being listed is no proof of sales made, at any price
    2. DP/RF would not get the excess profit even if there were any third party sales over and above the retail price (the third party would keep all the excess)
    3. Manning owed DP/RF money, and so DP were contractually entitled to offset any earned royalties against this bad debt.
    4. Manning knows for a fact how many sales have been made, and has seen the evidence from third parties of when the book was withdrawn and its total sales, yet still falsely smears RF/DP as having robbed him of royalties and having carried on selling his book.

    If all this weren’t enough to convict Manning, there’s yet more damning evidence against him.

    I did a search on amazon.com by publisher. I put in ‘Checkpoint Press’ – Manning’s company – to pull up only his company’s titles. It came up with a list of titles and these are some of them below – (you can do the same search and click on some links and see for yourself what happens).

    You’ll notice a few things, the ‘buy new’ price which will be the RRP and what you would pay if you bought a copy from amazon direct (eg: the last one on the list, Winderbilt Over Floodsville is $14.99), and then you’ll see the prices underneath that, pp ‘8 new’ and ‘1 used’.  These are the third party merchants having a go at selling on amazon, such as ‘The Book Depository’.

    I took a screenshot on what happens for this Checkpoint Press title when you go to these third party merchants by clicking on the link (see below). As you can see, some of them are reasonable mark-ups, some of them are not. Some of them are asking $35 on a $15 book! But these are all against Checkpoint Press’s own titles.

    If Manning insists that what he says about Rosalind Franklin and Diggory Press is true then HE AND HIS OWN COMPANY –

    a) have ’sent in the price’ to amazon like this that has not been authorised by his self published authors

    and

    b) he and his company must be profiteering from the excessive mark ups, in this case $20 a book

    and

    c) he and his company are not passing on the royalties to his authors

    d) he and his company are frauds and cheats etc

    Somehow I think now we’ve publicly busted him on this, Manning’s ever more convoluting story is going to change again, with an even more convoluted explanation as to why his ‘evidence’ says RF did things the way he says she did, but the very same evidence that damns him too in that case, doesn’t actually apply to him.

    This article was written by Sleuth for Truth, June 16 2009

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    2 Comments »

    1. I don’t see how any publisher can be held responsible for what third party book traders price the book at. The whole point of amazon is that whatever you are looking for usually has several in stock from different suppliers at various prices.

      Unless the book is out of print or a collectable first edition I can’t really imagine anyone actually paying much over the new published price.

      So, applying his rather flawed logic here; if I list a checkpoint press book, that i don’t even own, through my amazon account at several hundred pounds, it would be ‘proof’ that checkpoint presss is fleecing their authors?

      It is all nonsense really, his lack of experience in publishing coupled with his zeal to demonise diggory press in any way possible just ends up making him look a fool. Anybody thinking of publishing with checkpoint or doing any sort of business with him should consider this carefully.

    2. Amazed said

      Good article. This really shows Dr Evil up.

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