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Want help picking a self-publishing (print-on-demand) publisher?

June 11, 2009

Tags: self-publishing, print on demand

Dog Ear Publishing has an interesting negative-marketing approach to competition among self-publishers (subsidy publishers), which might be useful to the those considering various print-on-demand publishers. Dog Ear first lists the Self Publishing Pros & Cons, suggests a strategy for comparing various POD publishers/printers
(The Insider's Guide to Self-Publishing)
, and then compares what it offers to other houses. That's where you can get some practical insights into AuthorHouse (good for very small printings, one of the big three firms), Book Surge (Amazon.com sales only), Infinity Publishing Service (Dog Ear's toughest competitor), iUniverse, Lulu.com ("ideal for a graphic designer who only requires a few books"), Outskirts Press, PublishAmerica(they subtly refer you to the huge amount of online criticism of this company, links to which you can find below), Tate Publishing, Trafford Publishing (in Canada), Wheatmark Book Publishers, Wordclay, Xlibris (the smallest of the "big three" self-publishing companies), and Xulon Press (Christian self-publishing).

These are useful comparisons. Now I wish a disinterested group would compare the quality of production from all these self-publishing/POD firms. What I like about this site is that Dog Ear makes it easy for you to see what the issues are in the contracts of these firms! As always, it pays to do your homework. You do not want to sign away rights (or say yes to expenditures) without understanding what you're doing.

Ron Pramschufer, of RJ Communications, wrote about Book Expo 2009: "Ten years ago I made the point that if these Vanity/POD/Subsidy Publishers were really publishers, why weren’t they at Book Expo… Not long after that, they all had large booths at the show manned with dozens of smiling salespeople. This year…. The largest Vanity Press of them all, Author Solutions , who owns Author House, IUniverse, Xlibris and Trafford, had a single 10×10 booth with a few men in suits sitting in chairs behind a table. Lulu? Didn’t see them there at all. Booksurge? Didn’t see them there either. I guess we’re back to the Vanity Press publishers really aren’t publishers now… are they?" You may find his archive of articles on publishing basics helpful.