The Great Depression is still depressing the book business

Book returnability is a destructive artifact of the Great Depression Sales of books, like most non-necessities, had fallen off greatly. In an effort to get bookstores to take in new books, the publishers offered guaranteed sales. Stores received the books “on consignment,” and, after several months, the money for the books that had been sold … Read more

It doesn’t get much better than this:
Vanity publisher Outskirts Press brags about its vanity award from a scam organization

In December, Outskirts Press — the vanity publisher I love to hate — issued a press release that said: Outskirts Press, Inc. Receives 2009 Best of Business AwardSmall Business Commerce Association’s Award Honors the AchievementOutskirts Press, Inc. has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Publishing category [That’s not true. The default … Read more

Author Solutions wants to conquer the universe, and has help from Writers Digest

Is Author Solutions emulating Emperor Palpatine’s Stormtroopers from Star Wars, or the “Resistance is Futile” Borg from Star Trek? Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is a massive pay-to-publish empire which has grown by acquiring and combining such former competitors as AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, Wordclay and Xlibris. Last year ASI started a Spanish-language division called Palibrio. ASI also operates the self-publishing businesses for traditional publishers Harlequin, … Read more

Report from Self-Publishing Book Expo, Part One

On Saturday I attended the fourth annual Self-Publishing Book Expo in Manhattan. I boycotted the first one in a feeble effort to protest what I viewed as a misuse of the term “self-publishing.” By the time of the second expo, I stopped fighting a losing battle, and went over to the dark side. In reality, I was not … Read more

An alternative to celebrity blurbs

Every author dreams of having cover blurbs (endorsements) from famous people who’ll say nice things which may entice people to buy books. Often, especially for a new author with a new book, it’s just not possible to get the attention of a a superstar or an expert who will add authority to yours. That doesn’t mean … Read more

A new candidate for “World’s Worst Index” — and some indexing advice

I previously declared that the world’s worst index was in Best in Self-Publishing & Print-On-Demand by David Rising, a charter member of the Self-Publishing Hall of Shame.  The index was apparently assembled by a robot and never checked by a homo sapiens. A smart orangutan or lemur might have made a better index. (above) In the index, before the … Read more

I was very impressed with ebook publisher PRONOUN—until I tried it

Pronoun is a strangely named company that formats and distributes ebooks. Its technology is very impressive and so is its price: ZERO. The company is a few years old and now belongs to giant publisher Macmillan. It’s based in Manhattan—home to many publishers. Pronoun tells prospective customers: “Pronoun is a free publishing platform where authors can … Read more

Optical delusions and other marvelous manipulations

The optical center is a concept that demonstrates that it can be better if you use what looks right rather than what measures right. Because the true vertical center often looks too low, if you want something to appear equidistant from the bottom and top, position it a little bit above the true center. (The dot on the right is probably a … Read more