Last week Penguin Random House announced the sale of beleaguered Author Solutions, the large (but seemingly getting smaller) vanity press that is known by several imprint names in the publishing industry including Xlibris, AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and WestBow Press. Some of these are independent, some are private label publishing imprints for other publishers. For example, Balboa Press on behalf of Hay House.
As noted here by author and observer David Gaughran, PRH is not cutting ties completely. They will still operate four vanity presses on behalf of PRH as Partner Imprints.
Readers of this blog, and AuthorImprints clients, understand that the best way to protect their publishing investment and ensure their long-term success, is to maintain control over their ability to use any printer or any distributor; to never let another entity own their ISBN; and to retain ownership of their files and other investments in their book.
Author Solutions output shrank 27% while the market grew 91%
The interesting thing to me is how much business Author Solution seems to have lost to Amazon’s CreateSpace. Here is a brief summary of my analysis* of Bowker’s ISBN data for the two most recent years it is available.
|Total Print ISBNs*||158,674||302,622||143,948||+91%|
3 take-aways for indie publishers
- Publishing continues to get easier for the average author. We don’t need the handholding that vanity presses offer.
- There are far more options now for authors to receive competent (and less expensive!) publishing support.
- Authors choosing to publish independently have been educated to see the value of maintaining control over their publishing affairs.
So while vanity presses are not going away, the act of publishing is becoming a lot more egalitarian.
* Read the top 2 articles below to better understand the source of the numbers used above. Those are ISBNs issued for print books from small publishers:
- CreateSpace Dominating Self-Published Book Releases at the Expense of Incumbents (but Ignore the eBook Stats)
- Bowker Reports Amazon CreateSpace Published 62% of All Self-Published Print Books in 2013
- How to Choose 1 of 4 ISBN Options When Using CreateSpace as Your Print-on-Demand Printerphoto credit: House Sold via photopin (license)