Spotlight on the Self-Publishing Market

Article excerpt

The recent news that Pearson, owner of Penguin Group and the Financial Times, acquired Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), a provider of self-publishing services, serves notice that the self-publishing market is clearly on the radar of traditional book publishers. And the acquisition comes less than a year after Penguin launched its own self-publishing platform called Book Country.

According to Pearson's announcement, ASI, founded in 2007, "is now the world's leading provider of professional self-publishing services. It has enabled 150,000 authors to publish, market and distribute more than 190,000 books in print and electronic formats and benefits from several powerful growth trends including user-generated content, eBooks and digital publishing and marketing technologies."

Penguin's chief executive, John Makinson, says, "Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry over the past three years. It has provided new outlets for professional writers, a huge increase in the range of books available to readers and an exciting source of content for publishers such as Penguin. No-one has captured this opportunity as successfully as Author Solutions...."

Self-publishing is a rapidly growing segment of the consumer book market. According to a report by Bowker released in June 2012, 211,000 titles were self-published in 2011 in either print or digital form, an increase of nearly 60% from 2010. "Transformation of our industry has brought on a time of rich innovation in the publishing models we now have today. What was once relegated to the outskirts of our industry--and even took on demeaning names like 'vanity press' is now not only a viable alternative but what is driving the title growth of our industry today," says Kelly Gallagher, vice president of Bowker Market Research. "From that standpoint, self-publishing is a true legitimate power to be reckoned with. Coupled with the explosive growth of ebooks and digital content--these two forces are moving the industry in dramatic ways."

The Competition

Competitors in the self-publishing space include Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Barnes & Noble's PubIt!, Kobo's Writing Life, Smashwords, Lulu.com, and Blurb.

With Kindle Direct Publishing, you can self-publish your books via the Amazon Kindle Store. Amazon claims it is "free, fast, and easy." It offers the following options: Do it Yourself, Print & Digital (CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company), and Use a Conversion Service (Professional Conversion Services).

Kobo, Inc., a provider of e-reading services, recently introduced its self-publishing portal, Kobo Writing Life, for independent authors and publishers. It offers key reader insights and marketing tools to engage with fans on a global scale. …