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Friday, February 24, 2012

Bookpal got better


This blog posting previously condemned Australian self-publishing company Bookpal. Apparently the lashing was effective, because the company has made some big improvements, and I see no reason to warn prospective customers away.


It's a shame that other self-pub-cos  have not been as responsive to criticism. I will continue to kick ass when appropriate, and also to re-evaluate.















37 comments:

  1. Thanks for the warning. I hope Amazon becomes aware of this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As I see more sock-puppet reviews on Amazon, I'm beginning to think that the review-and-star system will either get more scrutiny and policing from Amazon OR customers will decide it's a worthless mechanism and ignore it. At this point, I'm okay with either.

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  3. I'm in Oz and I've never heard of this mob. Amazon needs to come down on them like a steam hammer.

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  4. No writer or reader should trust those scumbags. Aussies deserve better.

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  5. Thanks for the post and info.....

    http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com/

    Also just became a follower....

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  6. Damn I wish I had of known of this Blog earlier. I have paid Bookpal.They don't do anything to assist from what I have experienced.

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  7. I used bookpal no problems - however only used them for printing only which they did a great job. With recent news of a well known author writing reviews for his own books on amazon, then it clearly shows that why would you care about the reviews anyway. I buy books from Amazon, purely from other sourced reviews then check out and compare the prices. With Amazon acts both as a seller and publisher so more and more of this happens anyway.

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  8. I paid to have a time-sensitive book published with bookpal. The book is now nearly a year late and is now fairly much out of date.

    My book mock ups had chapters missing. Punctuation removed. My corrections ignored. My phone calls are unanswered. Emails are ignored for days, weeks or entirely. The `office` is virtual only. Mea culpa. I should have done more research but was very keen to get the book out fast and believed their website.
    PS. They twice sent me someone else's book for approval. I would reply "this is not my book" Silence. Never an apology. Oh, I did get somefeed back "this is very hard book". Bookpal? Avoid.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bookpal are just not what they claim to be.
    It seems just to be a 'virtual' office and an answering service to field off all the Suckers - oops - Author Clients -
    I had a foreword of my book left out the royalties were posted from Kindle BUT removed before I could claim them and unanswered emails & phone calls by the dozen
    I feel scammed to the tune of Thousands $$$

    ReplyDelete
  10. Firstly, to his credit, Michael has kindly posted our response on his homepage to his article on http://www.bookmakingblog.com/

    I hope everyone can read this article as well to get both sides of the story to make an objective assessment.

    Secondly, some of these 'Anonymous' claims about our service are quite strange to me.

    Yes we did go 'virtual' as of July 2012 as we hardly had any customers visiting our office in Coopers Plains, so we figured we'd cut off that overhead and pass on the savings to our customers, which we have in the form of more affordable publishing services that we introduced in September 2012.

    We do use a Brisbane call centre since 2010 as customers were complaining we were missing calls.

    We also have live chat support during business hours to ensure all complains and enquiries are addressed. Plus we have a dedicated full time person in customer service just to address our customer's issues.

    It's sad to know that our service is still not up to scratch despite all these initiatives which we know are much better than most out there. But we are here for the long haul and we'd like to hear directly from you if there are any unresolved issues.

    If people decide to remain 'anonymous' then unfortunately we cannot solve any problems for them.

    Terence Tam
    CEO Bookpal

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous said,

    "I had a foreword of my book left out the royalties were posted from Kindle BUT removed before I could claim them and unanswered emails & phone calls by the dozen"

    I just had to respond to directly address this as this is quite impossible.

    Let me explain.

    In 2011 when Angus and Robertson (the largest book store chain in Australia) shut down, we were owed close to $18,000 by the chain. We made the painful decision of still paying our customers their royalties, even though this was not our fault at all, when we could have easily gone back to them and said, "Sorry guys, too bad but we didn't get paid so you don't get paid either."

    Instead, we coughed up thousands more in royalties to ensure our authors were protected from this fallout.

    So if we are willing to do that for our thousands of customers I'll leave it to the reader's judgement if we would try to scam a few dollars of a single customer's kindle royalties and risk that hurting our reputation.

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  12. Well, I only know that they have NOT let me have access to all my royalty funds due as of December 31.
    My book was written in 2012 so the 2011 'crash' has no bearing on me.

    In fact about 50% & totally ignore several requests & emails.

    I have made 3 attempts to leave my name without success it is Hohn W Ryan

    I gave up phoning .

    John W Ryan

    ReplyDelete
  13. Terence my name is John W Ryan

    I also have not been able to claim my royalties & my mails are totally ignored.

    My book was published mid 2012 so has no bearing on the 2011 problem you are citing.

    I have been unsuccessful inleaving my name so include it in the text. I Survived is my title

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  14. I think you should re evaluate 'Just Got Better'

    They owe me royalties & cannot get them to answer an email in 7 weeks

    ReplyDelete
  15. I had a book published late 2011 and was with a friend when she brought a kindle copy mid 2012, I still have not received my royalties from this sale and any others that have been made. I have tried to contact them on several occasions and have not had a reply. I FEEL VERY SCAMED FROM MY MONEY AT THE MOMENT WITH THE LACK OF COMMUNICATION. Not amused at all, starting to regret using this publisher for my book, will def consider more options next time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Royalties are updated and paid out every quarter as per agreements.

    Sometimes there are delays in obtaining royalty figures from channel partners.

    Other times it is because authors haven't claimed their royalties because they miss our payment notification email (check spam folder).

    In any case, we are happy to open our books to show anyone who has any issues with their 'unpaid' royalties.

    Just drop me an email to terence[at]bookpal.com.au and I'd be happy to personally investigate it for you.

    PS. Thanks John Ryan for leaving your name. From my understanding your royalties pre-November were sorted out in early December. In any case I will check that for you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. John,

    The other thing I should mention is please allow up to 45 days after the end of each quarter for your royalties to be processed. (Which explains why you haven't got your Dec 2012 royalities)

    As you can imagine it is no small task gathering all the information from various distribution partners (some who report and pay us only after 30 days at the end of each quarter) and having to manually input that for thousands of titles.

    Note that most publishers only pay royalties twice a year and we pay it 4 times a year.

    I would be highly suspicious of those Anonymous posters here who don't leave their name or book title.

    As we are one of the leaders in the marketplace it is sad that some competitors do resort to underhand tactics.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just one other thing for the sake of any other readers out there. (maybe Michael can put all my posts together in one).

    John, we were closed between the 22nd of Dec and 7 of Jan. So while we instructed our call centre to keep taking messages, we were not around which could explain why you didn't get any calls back...I noted your post was on the 9th of Jan.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am having the same issue here. My name is Ryan Thomas and my book has been published with BookPal in early 2012. I have sent a number of emails/facebook messages/ phone calls on royalty payments even with my amazon receipt but receive no response. The one I did receive was "please be patient we are updating our royalties". This is for an enquiry I made in April in which I got a response in November and I am yet to receive my royalty payment. I too received multiple times someone else's book for review. What kind of service is this? I am going to write straight to Terence to get this sorted out ASAP!! Would never recommend this publisher to anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ryan, thanks for contacting me directly so we could address your problem.

    Thanks to you we have identified lapses in customer service and we have put some measures in place to improve them.

    Thank you for your feedback as we continue to improve.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ryan, thanks for contacting me directly so we could address your problem.

    I agree there have been some lapses in customer service and we have put some measures in place to improve them.

    Thank you all for your feedback as we continue to improve.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would just like to say that this has now been rectified. I received a quick response from Terence and had my issue sorted out asap. He also apologised for the delay and assured me that this would not happen in future. Thanks for your help Terence. Once again, a happy customer :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I really don’t know why so many people are saying bad things here. Anyway, this is my experience.

    After years of writing and editing, I had finally finished by first book. I knew the next step was more editing, processing, publishing, binding—the whole works.

    Thankfully, a friend recommended Bookpal. They knew exactly what they were doing. They caught mistakes in my writing that I didn’t catch before and helped me improve my book overall before it was published. Their system was a bit cumbersome, but they were always there to help me when I had questions.

    I could not be more happy with my results from Bookpal and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about writing and publishing their work.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I also had a positive experience!

    I had written books before trying Bookpal, but I have never been as pleased as I was with this company.

    Bookpal took my work seriously, unlike the other companies I had tried in the past. They gave me feedback, edited, and published my book. In my previous experiences the process was tedious and overwhelming.

    With Bookpal, while sometimes calls were returned a bit late, they were always returned. I've had no issues with royalty payments either...I've always been paid.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well my experience went from bad to worse as far as Royalties go.

    The totals were at first OK then when the final numbers were posted it showed over $500 in royalties had been paid when they weren't .

    They added the extra figures into the PAID section.

    When I complained the figures were altered as to the amount paid & showed the amount due less by over $400.

    Now I have claimed the lesser & it hasn't shown up in my Paypal at all.

    Also had several complaints from Book Buyers it is too hard to get a copy from Bookpal & in fact much easier to buy from Book Depository UK.

    That seems ludicrous to me.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so pleased to read this, I have been trying to research these guy but haven't found much on them. Some authors I have spoken to do seem happy with them but. I was very close to plonking down about $six thousand with Bookpal for a print and Ebook package,but I soon noticed they really don't have that many books and authors behind them, and it is almost impossible to get a response from them unless you get quite aggressive with them. At the start most of my phone calls and emails were totally ignored for weeks! Not a very encouraging start for a business relationship, Bookpal strike me as VERY understaffed, and small time, I'm thinking I will go through Amazon / Createspace, its a shame as I would love to deal with a Brisbane company.

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  27. Glad I saw this, I was about to plonk down $6000.00 with these guys, but after some initial inquiries, I've discovered they have very few staff and its almost impossible, impossible! To get a response from them, phone calls and emails are just completely ignored ! how do they expect to get new customers by ignoring people? I'm going with Createspace.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks Laurel and Martin for the compliments. Pity most of the dozens of testimonials are on our website/facebook page and not here.

    @John Ryan: Glad we cleared up the misunderstanding on your royalties and you got paid. Look forward to your prequel in the future.

    @Anonymous/Nick: Glad to know you spoke to some of our authors and they had good things to say about us. Not sure how almost 2000 book titles and 20+ staff across several countries is understaffed, but I guess if you are comparing us to Amazon.com I must admit we are very small.

    Thanks for the feedback though: FYI we just hired another customer service staff last week to improve our customer service.

    PS. We don't have any $6000 publishing services as far as I know.

    ReplyDelete
  29. My father used BookPal a couple years ago and his dreams really came true. He had always wanted to publish a book of his own and BookPal made that possible. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer he decided to finish a book he had started writing a few months before. While searching for a publishing company he came across BookPal. He heard about the good service they had and decided to publish through them.

    Sadly, my dad passed away a few months after the publishing of his book. I cannot express how grateful I am that BookPal pulled all stops to make his dream come true just in time, and the royalties keep coming in regularly.

    Keep up the good work BookPal, there are many people like us that need you. Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I’m a current customer of Bookpal, and I must congratulate you on your recent customer service improvements Terence! My initial experience was mediocre. I had calls and emails returned late. But in the past month you have been fantastic. Bookpal has truly improved.
    Any time I called they returned my call within a day. The service is always friendly and helpful with Adrienne. I will certainly be using BookPal again for my next book. Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Methinks that some staff friends are posting on here.

    The last month has been as bad as before.

    I believe for Printing they may be OK but as publishers really bad. I have had several friends unable to get my book through Bookpal & it's been available for months.

    The 2013 year is not even displayed & we are into the 4th month of the year.

    They are always late answering or don't bother at all. NEVER AGAIN

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe I agree with you . My husband used them BUT Never again.
      Their Year is stuck at 2012 & they rarely answer & when they do it is weeks later.
      The quarterly payment of 'Earnings' is a joke . Now they say 45 days after the quarter , that means twice a year far from their marketing mail outs they send.
      Waste of $5K. By the way , no bookstore stocks any books from them

      Delete
    2. I won't get into the specifics of Bookpal, but it's wrong to expect books from ANY self-publishing service to be stocked in bookstores. Books can be special-ordered for readers who request them, and are sold online, but don't look for them on the shelves.

      Delete
  32. So I also have been wanting some feedback on what is happening with a book which I signed on to have done by Bookpal in January the first few months things seemed great, then no e mails no returned phone calls, and after reading all of these comments I feel totally duped, which is such a shame. I think I need a refund from Bookpal I hope I get some response from somewhere Suzanne Thompson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzanne, happy to provide you with a refund if we failed you so badly. Let me check on your case and we will contact you tomorrow.

      If anyone is serious about resolving things quickly please contact me on terence[at]bookpal.com.au, use our chatline, our facebook page etc. I only check this forum once every few months so if you want a fast response it's not the best place!

      Delete
  33. Sorry you feel that way but payments are made 45 days after every quarter, that's FOUR times per year, not twice a year. That is also why the earnings for 2013 did not show up until April 15. ie 45 days after the first quarter.

    And thanks Marcus, that's correct, we never make any guarantees of book stores stocking books, that is in our agreement. Some of our titles are stocked and some are not. All depends on the individual book store.

    ReplyDelete
  34. We already explained to the Anonymous person his 'friend' didn't made the payment properly on our website...how are we supposed to know the book was ordered when it was not paid for and we have no records of it?

    I'm thankful that most smart people don't believe what anonymous people say on the Internet. Of course if their claims are false they could always be up for a libel and defamation lawsuit.

    ReplyDelete