Digital publisher Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author blog for reporting on its financial troubles

To those who follow the digital romance publishing world, it’s not exactly a secret that digital publisher Ellora’s Cave is struggling. But now the company is suing a leading romance blogger who wrote about the problems it was having.

Ellora’s Cave, launched in 2000, was a very early player in romance ebook sales and for a time was highly successful, selling romance and erotica titles that mainstream publishers had ignored to a passionate audience of female readers. Then things began falling apart, sales decreased and authors started going unpaid.

Dear Author, a romance blog that also covers a variety of digital publishing issues, reported thoroughly on Ellora’s Cave’s troubles earlier this month, citing tax violations by Tina Engler, the company’s founder, and reporting further on delayed or missing author payments. Dear Author also published an email that Ellora’s Cave sent to its authors in which it described a “quick, sharp decline of ebook sales via Amazon in recent months.”

On Saturday, Dear Author’s founder Jane Litte said that Ellora’s Cave is suing both Dear Author and her personally over her blog post. “EC is seeking injunctive relief (which I presume means I stop blogging about them), monetary damages in excess of $25,000 for harming their business, and identity of commenters.”

The Ellora’s Cave complaint alleges that Litte — whose real name is Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe — “made false and defamatory statements” about the company’s financial state and business practices. Ellora’s Cave also demanded that Dear Author’s investigatory blog post be taken down.

Litte, who is also a lawyer, plans to fight the lawsuit and tweeted Monday that she’s hired Marc Randazza, an attorney who specializes in the First Amendment andĀ also played a key role in bringing down patent troll Righthaven. You can follow more about the case under hashtag #notchilled.