In the May/June 2008 issue of ONLINE Walt Crawford devoted his column to his experiences with self-publishing books. He talked about Lulu and about CreateSpace (an Amazon company). His books published witih CreateSpace bear the imprint of Cites & Insights. A friend of mine took Walt’s column to heart and self-published a cookbook to give to her family and friends. I’m thinking iti won’t show up in WorldCat, although Walt’s self-published books do. I just checked and the book he published with Lulu, Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change, is in 64 libraries, while his Cites & Insights books are in fewer. Academic Library Blogs is held by 15 libraries and Public Library Blogs is in 28.
There are other companies in the self-publishing space. Yesterday, one of them, Author Solutions, Inc. bought a rival self-publishing company, Xlibris, further narrowing the field. Author Solutions, based in Bloomington, Indiana, also owns the imprints AuthorHouse, AuthorHouse UK, iUniverse, Wordclay,and Inkubook. Author solutions is owned by San Mateo, California-based private equity firm Bertram Capital Management LLC. Bertram acquired Author Solutions in January 2007 and added iUniverse to the portfolio in October 2007. Author solutions estimates it published 19,000 titles in 2008, while Xlibris, based in Philadelphia, says it has over 20,000 titles in print. Xlibris brings marketing tools to Author Solutions, something that Walt discussed in his column. The publishing on demand companies he dealt with handle printing, order placement, payment, and shipping. They don’t market your book for you. How much marketing do self-published books need? That depends on why the author wants to publish. If, like my friend, you’re creating a book for family and friends, marketing is not an issue. If you want a best-seller, marketing is essential.