Penguin sues authors for advances on never-written books

Publisher accuses delinquent writers of breach of contract and unjust enrichment

The times are hard on everyone’s pocketbooks, but one company in particular is tired of paying for products it never received, and it wants a refund. Publishing house Penguin Group filed a complaint with the New York State Supreme Court, seeking to recoup the advances it paid to authors who failed to hold up their end of the deal and deliver a book, and accusing them of breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Included in the suit are Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of “Prozac Nation,” who never delivered a promised book to help teenagers deal with depression and Rebecca Mead, staff writer at The New Yorker, who was supposed to put together a collection of her journalism.

Also facing the loss of his advance is Herman Rosenblat, a Holocaust survivor who went on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show with a fabricated tale of romance. Penguin gave him a $30,000 advance to write a memoir about the girl who helped keep him alive in a concentration camp who he later met again on a blind date, though Rosenblat later admitted fictionalizing parts of his story.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.


For more book-related lawsuits covered on InsideCounsel, see below:

Apple and e-book publishers offer proposed settlement with EU

Chinese writers win copyright battle against search engine Baidu

Penguin faces age-discrimination suit

Authors sue Google over book digitization project

Romance novel authors sue over royalties

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