Christian Retailing

Legal showdown over ‘The Shack’ Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 05 August 2010 03:56 PM America/New_York
An unhappy epilogue is being written to the unlikely success story behind the book that shook up the Christian publishing world.

The three men who joined forces to publish The Shack when no one else wanted to--going on to see the novel sell more than 12 million copies in three years--are now in a legal fight about the book's profits.

Author William P. Young has filed a suit against Brad Cummings and Wayne Jacobsen--who helped him rework his original manuscript and founded Windblown Media to publish the book under their start-up imprint.

The pair has countersued, while Hachette Book Group (HBG)--whose Christian publishing division is FaithWords, and which assumed distribution of The Shack in 2008--has also gone to court, seeking clarity on where the royalties should go.

According to the Los Angeles Times, which broke news of the dispute last month, at the center of the fallout are allegations of "improper accounting practices, millions of dollars in missing royalties, contract breaches and copyright disputes."

In a statement posted at his Web site, Jacobsen said that the conflict with Young was "a tragic chapter in the collaboration that produced such a wonderful book about God's love, forgiveness and passion for relationship.

"Our time of collaboration in writing, publishing and distributing this book over three years was one of the most joy-filled and spiritually enriching times of my life. Unfortunately, a collaboration works only as long as each one in it puts the relationship first."

Read the full report in the September issue of Christian Retailing.