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... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Self-Publishing Company Consolidation

Marydee Ojala @ 9:40 am

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.

1 Comment

  1. Maybe I should clarify: Lulu certainly offers marketing services–but as an optional choice (actually set of choices), at optional fees. With Lulu, I could do books with zero upfront cost (ditto CreateSpace). Most of Author Solutions’ options, including Xlibris, have upfront costs ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. All of which may be entirely appropriate if you want or need marketing services, or book design services, or editorial services, or whatever (all of which Lulu also offers through a network of providers).

    The book version of Cites & Insights is there mostly so I can have my own bound copy, frankly–and with the zero-overhead model, it wasn’t significantly more expensive than printing it out locally and having it bound, and I get a much nicer result.

    Comment by walt crawford — January 9, 2009 @ 11:38 am

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