Oh … the surprises that get buried within the Holiday merriment. Here’s what happened in Predatorland on December 31, 2015:
“Penguin Random House has sold its Author Solutions division to an affiliate of the Najafi Companies, a private investment firm that at one point owned Bookspan and made an offer to buy several hundred Borders outlets after the chain filed for Chapter 11”was spotted in a Publishers Weekly blurb.
Their three year affair (Penguin Random Book’s 2012 courting and acquisition) appears not to be the amour anticipated. Author Solution’s and its various imprints have lost ground. Some imprints were shuttled in 2014: LifeWay’s Crossbooks and Harlequin’s DellArte Press along with Abbott Press that had been developed with Writer’s Digest and F&W Media. In 2013, Bowker reveal that there were major production declines within the Author Solution imprints.
I would love to think that the massive number of loud shouts outs by myself and many other courageous publishing consultants is behind the decline in overall Author Solution sales. Most likely, the mirror will say—look to the giant online publishing gorilla: Amazon.
With the creation of CreateSpace, Amazon’s entry into the self-publishing arena, I suspect that it has gleefully noticed that as its published book numbers grew, Author Solutions declined. In early 2013 (just after the marriage of Penguin and Author Solutions), Bowker’s latest report in 2013 showed that total output for Author Solutions fell to 44,574, a decrease of 5,311 from the preceding year. Over in Amazon’s CreateSpace land, 186,926 books birthed, an increase of 55,466 books. Who knows what the numbers were this past year.
They deal closed on the last day of December with no terms being disclosed. Penguin paid $116 million in 2012 … I wonder if the company wished they had done a “Publishing Big Short” and never got involved? With the reputation of rotten customer service, payment questions and grossly over-priced “add-on” services—the $14,000 marketing package is a real head-turner—only time will tell. Eventually, the sale amount will surface. Maybe Penguin made a profit?
For me, knowing that 5,311 less books … most likely 5,311 authors side-stepped Author Solutions tendrils puts a smile on my face.
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 34 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #34 was published this summer: The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors & Writers. Get your copy.
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