Friday, October 4, 2013

XinXii and Their Rights Grab

[Edit to add: For anyone who's dealing with XinXii, you have my permission to use the text of my letter to Dr. Andrea Schober, CEO of XinXii. I would suggest that you edit it to illustrate you personal circumstances.  -S.H.]

For those of you who may not know XinXii is a e-book retailer/distributor in Germany. Think of it essentially as a German version of Smashwords.

When I first signed up with them, Amazon didn't have a German store and Apple and Kobo were fledglings in the European market. I took a chance with them.

I stopped uploading books at the beginning of 2012 because of some issues I was having with their interface that were not their fault, I might add. One of the things on my To-Do list was to get the rest of my books uploaded after Christmas of this year.

Not anymore.

On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, I received an e-mail from XinXii CEO, Dr. Andrea Schober, talking about XinXii distributing to Flipkart, and Indian e-retailer. Fifty minutes later I received a second e-mail from Dr. Schober, talking about e-Sentral, a e-retailer servicing Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Below is my response to Dr. Schober that I sent to her last night:

* * *
Dear Dr. Schober:

I have several problems with the arrangements XinXii has made with Flipkart and e-Sentral and well as the lack of specifics in the both e-mails sent out on Tues, October 1, 2012, and the lack of specifics on the XinXii website itself.

1) You gave publishers forty-eight hours to respond without taking into account any time zone differences. In my case, it cuts the investigation and response down to thirty-five hours because Berlin is seven hours ahead of Houston. Another distributor, Smashwords, Inc., gave publishers two weeks to decide in the matter of Flipkart.

2) You made these two retailers an opt-out option. In the past, new distribution channels on XinXii were opt-in. Frankly, this feels like a bullying move similar to the one pulled by Google and is now in litigation in the United States. Frankly, it does not inspire my confidence in XinXii as a company.

It also doesn't take into account that I may already be distributing to these two retailers by other means. This takes me back to point Number 1, where I have to drop everything else on my business plate to deal with this issue. Again, this does not make me want to do business with XinXi..

3) I'm not happy about the terms offered, i.e. 50% of net, to a third party without any negotiation on my part. Your e-mail does not specify what constitutes "net." Your Terms of Use does not specify what constitutes "net." And the TOU page only send a user to the Distribution Information page shown below, and STILL does not list the specific items which qualify as "net."

At the very least, Smashwords, Inc., listed the transaction fees, the Indian VAT, the fact that they entered into a wholesale arrangement with Flipkart, and that Flipkart can discount at any time for any amount they wish.

XinXii has listed none of this anywhere.

Needless to say, I no longer am comfortable doing business with XinXii since terms are not being fully disclosed, and I have removed all my books I have listed with you. I hope you change your mind about giving full disclosure in your future business transactions.

Suzan Harden

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Yes, folks, I am a backwoods, redneck hillbilly, but I'm a backwoods, redneck hillbilly who went to law school. I expect my contract terms to be fully defined, or I'm out of the deal.


  1. That's really a shame. The business needs more vendors, but of course they have to be vendors who do business in a straightforward manner, with no weaseling. :/


  2. Between this thing with XinXii and the crap over at Barnes & Noble, Amazon looks like glittery rainbow unicorn. Everyone's starting to see the money being made in e-books, and the greed has begun. But 50% of net without "net" being defined? No fucking way.

  3. I don't even want to talk about B&N. :/ The electronic edition of Captive Magic still isn't up at B&N, and it's been over a month now. WTF are they doing over there? I've been hearing elsewhere that it's taking B&N a long time to get e-books up just in general, so I'm thinking it's not my publisher that dropped the ball. Does B&N want product to sell or not? [sigh]


    1. I don't know if I'd get too upset if I were you, Angie. I may be a blessing that you and your publisher won't be owed money when B&N finally sinks.

  4. Suzan, thanks for putting my concerns so succinctly in a letter to Andrea. I've been gone for 2 weeks and returned to hundreds of email with the XinXii stuck in that batch. By the time I read it, the deadline was past. I hate to pull my books from XinXii since I've actually been selling well there this last year, but I may have no choice.

    Let us know if you hear back from Andrea.

    1. Joan, feel free to copy my letter, add your own two cents, and send it to Andrea. I hope everything's going better with you and the family!