Penguin's Parent Company Acquires Vanity Presses Accused Of Scamming Authors
Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, just purchased Author Solutions for $116 million.
Author Solutions owns Author House, Xlibris, Trafford, and iUniverse, vanity publishers with not-so-great reputations. They've been accused of bilking authors out of money, upselling them on services they don't need, and not providing any real support or value in return.
Penguin’s CEO John Makinson said:
“This acquisition will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future.”
Author Solutions brings in about $100 million a year in revenue. One-third of that comes from royalties from the books they publish. Two-thirds comes from the products and services they sell to authors. That speaks for itself right there.
It's a little surprising that a company that owns a reputable publisher would get on board with this. Or is it? Penguin announced last year they would be offering self-publishing options--but, as our own Brandon Tietz pointed out, the numbers didn't really work out in favor of authors.
What do you think? Is Penguin adapting to a world of self-publishing? Or does this feel a little shady to you?
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