Thursday, January 11, 2007

PublishAmerica: POD with a Difference

Think Before You Sign Up: We had a client call us up, excited because she had been offered the opportunity to publish with PublishAmerica. She wanted to know if it was a good idea. PublishAmerica is an interesting outfit, one of those hybrid companies that combine aspects of traditional publishing with print-on-demand (POD) technology. Most of these outfits skew more to printing, charging a "set up fee" of several hundred dollars (mainly for setting the book into pages) and paying a "royalty" for each book sold and sent out to a customer. PublishAmerica skews more to traditional publishing in that it doesn't charge a set-up fee, boasting that it is a traditional publisher in that respect. In addition, it pays a royalty for books sold and even an advance on royalties (though the "advance" is usually a rather cute $1.00). We were intrigued with the lack of a setup fee, especially since they provide some copyediting and compose the book into pages, and wondered how they could do it. Here's how they make out. First, the copyediting and page composition services are quick and dirty. Second, unlike most other print-on-demand publishers, PublishAmerica buys all rights to a book for seven years, locking in potential sales, including author purchases at a very low discount of 20% (or 30% for high volume purchases). Third, they get authors to give them key contacts, who are then offered discounts on the books, effectively locking authors out of sales they might have gotten themselves. Fourth, they aren't picky about which authors they accept, because they can count on selling a couple hundred books to authors and their customers, enough to make a profit on each customer, and enough to do very, very well as a company, thanks to persuading thousands of authors to join the fold. We admire the model, but we advised our client to stay away. She can do better on her own. And so can you. The Publishing Pro, LLC.

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