Penguin's Parent Company Acquires Vanity Presses Accused Of Scamming Authors

News, Penguin, Author Solutions, Scam

via IndieReader

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? 

To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account.


Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated July 23, 2012 - 8:46am

They could view this as a chance to own their own farm team that turns a profit/pays for itself. Honest it up so they are the go to guy for self publishing, and the ones who do well there get a real book deal.

Sadly, it sounds like Penguin is trying to adapt to a world of self-publishing by being a little shady.

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading currently too many to list July 24, 2012 - 2:07am

That makes me nervous. I'm not sure how to feel about it or what to think, but it makes me very nervous. I understand that self-publishing is becoming a huge industry, but it is because the publishing industry is very hard to get into. Many authors still want traditional publishing to back them, but as many of us know, it is hard to get past the gate keepers. We'll see what happens!