2009 List of Self-Publishing Companies

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MickRooney

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While this list is not substantive, it covers most of the US and Canadian based self publishing companies using both POD and offset print methods. However, it does not include European or UK based companies.
 

Nandi

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Thanks, Another. That's quite a lengthy list, isn't it? I've been looking for something like this. I wonder if the mods could include such a list here, the way Cao Paux has for agents and publishers on Bewares and Bacground Checks. It would be helpful to learn of others' experiences with some of these companies.
 

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Well, let's put it this way...many of these companies are flat-out vanity presses with long histories of complaints against them. (Usually from folks who didn't understand the difference between self-, vanity, and commercial publishing, but also lots for non-delivery of services paid for, etc.)

I'll come back my next break and post links to our B&BC threads for the pubs on this list. In the meantime, I suggest reading this page at Writer Beware: http://www.sfwa.org/beware/vanitypublishers.html.
 
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CaoPaux

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M'kay, here we go. These are just the B&BC threads. Many of these companies are discussed elsewhere on the board as well, including some which don't have B&BC threads.

1. Author House (sic) http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694

2. Trafford Publishing http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=767

3. Infinity Publishing http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19409

4. Outskirts Press http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8324

5. BookSurge http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998

6. Xlibris (bought by AuthorHouse 1/09) http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=942

7. InstantPublisher

8. Bookstand Publishing http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114167

9. Red Lead Press (div. Of Dorrance) http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8500

10. Cypress House

11. Tri-State Litho

12. Goose River Press

13. Morris Publishing

14. WordPro (sic)

15. Laredo Publishing

16. Professional Press

17. 48Hour Books

18. Network Printers

19. Arbor Books http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89562

20. Aventine Press http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=895

21. Booklocker http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=955

22. BookMasters; Inc (sic) http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96463

23. BookMobile

24. Mill City Press http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77910

25. BookPros http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=626

26. Dog Ear Publishing http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104395

27. Destiny 11 (sic)

28. First Choice Books

29. Springboard Content & Publishing; LLC (sic)

30. E-Booktime

31. Foremost Press

32. JADA Press

33. U Build A Book (sic)

34. Wheatmark

35. WingSpan Press

36. Word Association

37. Aachanon

38. Victory Graphics and Media http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80384

39. Innovo Publishing

40. Fidlar Doubleday

41 PageFree Publishing http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23805

42. Pleasant Word http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61205

43. RoseDog Publishing (div. of Dorrance) http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8500

44. Spire Publishing

45. Whitehall Printing

46. Virtual Bookworm http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=962

47. Economical Self Publishing

48. Llumina Press http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28747

49. Xulon Press http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55007

50. Wordclay (div. of AuthorHouse) http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694

51. Just Self-Publish

52. American Binding & Publishing Co.

53. DragonPencil

54. Lulu http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=839

55. Mystic Publishers http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=125931

56. Ardith Publishing

57. New Book Publishing

58. Volumes

59. Epigraph Publishing Service

60. OmniLand Books

61. Smashwords http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123538

62. BRIO

63. IBJ Book Publishing

-----

The biggest problem I have with this list is that WD makes absolutely no distinction between self-publishing service providers and vanity presses. So, as always, research, cross-reference, and ask around before opening your wallet.
 

Nandi

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Thanks very much, CaoPaux!

The biggest problem I have with this list is that WD makes absolutely no distinction between self-publishing service providers and vanity presses. So, as always, research, cross-reference, and ask around before opening your wallet.

You're right, no question. And Victoria also makes that clear on her web site. But don't you think that these lines are blurring, in general? Even Motoko Rich, in her recent (Jan. 28, 2009) article in the New York Times, refers to "self-publishing companies":

As traditional publishers look to prune their booklists and rely increasingly on blockbuster best sellers, self-publishing companies are ramping up their title counts and making money on books that sell as few as five copies, in part because the author, rather than the publisher, pays for things like cover design and printing costs.

I have noticed that the term "vanity publishing" is falling out of use.

Nonetheless, writers who choose to use such a company for publishing their work should be very clear about what they are getting for their outlay of cash. I think the questions ought to be, "Do I need this or that service?" and "How much of this can I do on my own?"
 

Another

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Vanity Versus Self Publishing

Thanks very much, CaoPaux!



You're right, no question. And Victoria also makes that clear on her web site. But don't you think that these lines are blurring, in general? Even Motoko Rich, in her recent (Jan. 28, 2009) article in the New York Times, refers to "self-publishing companies":



I have noticed that the term "vanity publishing" is falling out of use ...

"Blurring" indeed. Checking Writer Beware link CaoPaux gives, it seems there are an abundance of terms in the general area of "self publishing," some overlapping. Just sticking with "vanity" versus "self publishing" for the moment, and putting aside the issues of which companies under each are more or less reputable and the long standing negative connotations around the term "vanity," the objective difference between them appears to be fairly slight. In both cases the author:

- bears the costs of publication
- owns the book
- keeps the sale proceeds.

The difference seems to be in the packages attending the two options. Vanity apparently may be more likely to offer bundles of inflexible add on services (e.g. editing, marketing, warehousing, distribution), whereas self publishers may be more flexible in offering either no package or numerous combinations of services, including newer services such as print on demand, sales through Amazon and perhaps more sophisticated marketing services, all things old line vanity presses never offered. Me thinks the long standing "vanity" presses with the inflexible or traditional packages will quickly add more flexible and latest services and distance themselves from the "vanity" label in the face of growing competition.

Hope I've summarized the issues correctly, CaoPaux. And just for the record, here again is the site reference from Writer Beware:

http://www.sfwa.org/beware/vanitypublishers.html

Another
 

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In both cases the author:

- bears the costs of publication
- owns the book
- keeps the sale proceeds.

With today's vanity publishers and self-publishing services, authors typically keep copyright, but they grant rights to the publisher or self-publishing service either exclusively or nonexclusively. So their rights are encumbered. And they don't keep sales proceeds. They receive a royalty on sales, with the publisher or self-publishing service keeps the rest (in effect, they're paying twice: a lump sum for the service, and a smaller sum each time a book is sold).

Strictly speaking (to my mind, at any rate), any form of paid publishing--other than true self-publishing, where the author arranges for all aspects of publication him/herself--is vanity publishing. It's politer, of course, to call it self-publishing--though not truly accurate, because if you use a service like Xlibris, you aren't publishing yourself; you're buying a package of services from the company, which has a claim on your rights and keeps most of the income from sales.

However, I think a distinction needs to be made between straightforward fee-based publishing service providers like Xlibris, Lulu, BookSurge, and others, and companies that charge a fee or impose a cost yet present themselves as "real" publishers. So I think it makes sense to refer to the Xlibrises of the world as "self-publishing services" and to the deceptive fee-chargers like American Book Publishing or Strategic Book Publishing as vanity publishers.

- Victoria
 

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. . . "self-publishing services" . . . .

- Victoria
Self-publishers I hang around with (www.norcalpa.org) draw this line: it is self-publishing ONLY if the author owns the ISBN. Much more goes with self-publishing, of course, but that is one clear indicator.

FWIW.

--Ken
 

victoriastrauss

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Self-publishers I hang around with (www.norcalpa.org) draw this line: it is self-publishing ONLY if the author owns the ISBN. Much more goes with self-publishing, of course, but that is one clear indicator.

That's a good standard, IMO--thanks!

- Victoria
 

Another

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Sales Proceeds in Self Publishing

With today's vanity publishers and self-publishing services, authors typically keep copyright, but they grant rights to the publisher or self-publishing service either exclusively or nonexclusively. So their rights are encumbered. And they don't keep sales proceeds. They receive a royalty on sales, with the publisher or self-publishing service keeps the rest (in effect, they're paying twice: a lump sum for the service, and a smaller sum each time a book is sold) ...

- Victoria

Thanks Victoria. Maybe Writer Beware needs to clarify, for here is a direct quote from the site, under dot point "self publishing," first page:
"Completed books are owned by the author, who keeps all proceeds from sales." See: http://www.sfwa.org/beware/vanitypublishers.html.

Likewise under the dot point, "vanity," we have, "The completed books are the property of the author, and the author retains all proceeds from sales.

Only under still another term, "subsidy publisher," do we get the "royalty" language, "The completed books are the property of the publisher, and remain in the publisher's possession until sold. Income to the writer comes in the form of a royalty."

Perhaps the lesson here is to pay less attention to the labels and more to the exact ownership and proceeds terms offered by each and every prospective - what shall we say - "self publisher."

Another
 

victoriastrauss

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Another, you've taken my definitions out of context. If you read the entire section from which you pulled them, you'll see that I begin by saying that the definitions are classic but not necessarily current, and [SIZE=-1]then go on to discuss how and why. I finish by offering a new definition of "vanity publisher."

Note also that while in the passage you quoted from me above I'm talking about self-publishing services, the definition you pulled from the Writer Beware Vanity Publishing page is of true self-publishing (in which the author owns the ISBN). Farther down the Vanity Publishing page, I discuss both true self-publishing and the self-pub services, describing them as "[/SIZE][SIZE=-1]a straightforward and often much cheaper version of vanity publishing."[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]
- Victoria


[/SIZE]
 

Another

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"classic," "current," "new," "true" definitions ...

Another, you've taken my definitions out of context. If you read the entire section from which you pulled them, you'll see that I begin by saying that the definitions are classic but not necessarily current, and [SIZE=-1]then go on to discuss how and why. I finish by offering a new definition of "vanity publisher."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]Note also that while in the passage you quoted from me above I'm talking about self-publishing services, the definition you pulled from the Writer Beware Vanity Publishing page is of true self-publishing (in which the author owns the ISBN). Farther down the Vanity Publishing page, I discuss both true self-publishing and the self-pub services, describing them as "[/SIZE][SIZE=-1]a straightforward and often much cheaper version of vanity publishing."[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1]- Victoria[/SIZE]

I think I get it, i.e., there are some "classic" definitions of self and vanity in places like I cite, but these may not be "current" and perhaps need updating especially to underscore "true" self publishing and ...

But back to my main point in the post, those approaching any of the companies (just to make it simple) at the beginning of this thread should do lots of homework not only on reputation, but specific terms of publishing, including how proceeds from sales go. This way, they can worry less about hooking up with a classic or new or true and more about operationally what's happening to their rights and revenues and what services they are and are not getting. Agreed?

And on that point, just to clarify, does "owning" the ISBN guarantee the author all proceeds or not?

Another
 

Another

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Rights, Net Revenues, Other SP Contract Provisions

No. For that matter, it does not guarantee them any part of proceeds. Nor that there will BE any proceeds.

--Ken
Good answer to my inexact question. Question should have been, presuming there are any (1) sales and (2) net revenues after costs are allocated between publisher and author by terms of agreement, does having right to the ISBN number give any right to any proportion of net revenues? Answer appears to be no. And probably no also to the same question about copyright rights. Right?

One might foolishly think these rights might go with some rights to any net revenues, but the general drift I'm getting is - presume nothing about how SP contract terms (rights, costs, net revenues - if any, production, distribution, marketing - if any ...) relate to one another, especially in the fast evolving world of self publishing business models.

I think it's time I pick up Mark Levine's latest edition of 'The Fine Print of Self Publishing' or Aaron Shepard's 'Aiming at Amazon', as poster mickrooney suggests on another thread. Would these offer good tips on typical contract provisions?

Another
 

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I think it's time I pick up Mark Levine's latest edition of 'The Fine Print of Self Publishing' or Aaron Shepard's 'Aiming at Amazon', as poster mickrooney suggests on another thread. Would these offer good tips on typical contract provisions?

Another

Absolutely!

Mark Levine is an attorney and specifically examines the publishers contracts in his book.
 

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Wow I had no idea there were so many. I thought that there were just a few POD's out there. Can anyone tell me if there is a Canadian site comparable to lulu.com?
 

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Wow I had no idea there were so many. I thought that there were just a few POD's out there. Can anyone tell me if there is a Canadian site comparable to lulu.com?

No.

Lulu operates in the US and UK markets and they have worldwide distribution availibility depending on what exactly you are looking for. The most well known POD publisher formed and originated in Canada is Trafford publishing, a gazillion miles away from what Lulu do. Have you looked at traditional publishers in Canada? Firstly, how have you faired with them or literary agents based there?

Anne_Marie,

To publish anywhere, whether through an author service company like Lulu, or a traditional publisher, is governed by the publishers own abilities to reach a worldwide readership and negociate distribution either on line or through local/territory distributors.

Being from Canada, Ireland, USA, UK or anywhere, should not affect the capabilities of any author to reach their readership in a global market. If you are specifically trying to reach a canadian readership, then your book should be specifically orentitated to that readership. If otherwise, why aim at your doorstep? It's like owning a ferrari and never taking it over 40mph on the motorway. Why get that kind of car in the first place?
 

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No.
Being from Canada, Ireland, USA, UK or anywhere, should not affect the capabilities of any author to reach their readership in a global market. If you are specifically trying to reach a canadian readership, then your book should be specifically orentitated to that readership. If otherwise, why aim at your doorstep? It's like owning a ferrari and never taking it over 40mph on the motorway. Why get that kind of car in the first place?

Many of the PODs I have looked into ask you to get a US tax credit thingy in order to claim taxes on the money that you make and / or receive your monies. If the site originates in Canada I would not have to do anything extra such as this.

It is not about a Canadian Readership but making things easier for myself. Why should I go with a company that is US owned when I could go with one that is Canadian owned? The internet is global as you have pointed out so why would the company being Canadian owned mean that the readership would be soley Canadian?
 

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Some of these companies are really expensive. I don't know if I'd self publish.
 

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Some of these companies are really expensive. I don't know if I'd self publish.
A self-publisher IS the company. "Self-publishing company" is an oxymoron if it refers to anything else but company owned and operated by the author. I know one self-publisher who literally prints and binds books one copy at a time (very unusual approach, but he has a reason). Up-front cost, small. Some use POD with only minor expenses (depending on how much of the work they do themselves -- I've published books with no cost other than my own time + cost of books ordered for local resale).

But yes, subsidy publishers can be expensive -- sometimes astonishingly so.

Folks who are interested in self-publishing or in any variety of independent publishing (that is, being published through genuine commercial small presses) or in learning more about publishing and in promoting a career as a writer should take a look at the Northern California Publishers & Authors 2010 conference in Sacramento, April 24, 2010. Details will be posted within days at www.norcalpa.org. The keynote speaker is to be Dominque Raccah, founder of Sourcebooks. Others will include a book distributor, literary agent, specialist in finance for small publishers, marketing expert, and more.

--Ken
 
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I've copied the question over to BR&BC, here.
 

BlueWolf

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I used Grosvenor House Publishing, who are based in the UK.

Now, although they initially got a few things wrong (and one of my proof readers spotted errors in their contract!), and I had to contact them several times, but my book 'Smith' was released quickly and professionally, and is available Worldwide. Not only that but it looks good, too.

Each to their own I guess.
 
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