There is one factor which singles out Infinity Publishing from many other author solutions services. From the very beginning, in 1997, Infinity Publishing did all their POD printing in-house and offered authors a non-exclusive contract. They describe what they do as ‘originated book publishing’, but the self-publishing industry and the world at large doesn’t really need another way to describe an author solutions service.
I do like Infinity Publishing’s basic premise that the author pays a one-off fee to have their book file set up with them for print, distribution and sale. Whatever service the author chooses to avail of and add on is at their own discretion.
"We offer professionally designed and quality printed promotional materials for our authors as well as highly respected marketing books that will help you find your audiences. Our newsletters, author advocates, conferences and wealth of online articles featuring expert advice and successful campaign strategies focus on teaching authors how to be effective in their efforts to promote and market their published books. Infinity is responsible for publishing and distributing books on demand to fill orders generated by the authors' efforts."
The last line of the above quote from Infinity Publishing is the most important for me and should be for any author considering using an author solutions service—be it Infinity or any other service. Infinity can provide the printed product, accompanying marketing materials; perhaps even help with an author’s own promotion and networking, but ultimately, Infinity are an aid to self-publishing authors, and not a replacement to all the facets of commercial publishing.
Infinity say they keep a replenished ‘micro’ inventory of books printed and can ship no later than 48 hours to customers and all of their books are ‘guaranteed returnable from bookstores’. Many POD author services do not include a returns option of physical books from bookstores, and the few who do, charge a fee in the range of $400 to $800. Infinity pay royalties on a monthly basis (again, highly unusual for other services) on the selling price, 30% of retail price sold directly to customers through their own bookstore, 15% on sales to wholesale and on line sales, and 10% on purchases by the author at a 40% discount.
For the package above, Infinity Publishing includes the following:
Custom cover and internal template (author may provide artwork/images)
Books in Print listing
On line distribution and database listing
Web page on Infinity’s bookstore
1 author copy
Micro inventory held (at least one copy)
It should be noted that the above package does not include listing with Ingram, because by default, unlike most other author solutions services, Infinity do not need to use Lightning Source/Ingram, so they do charge an additional fee of $149 for listing with them. Infinity includes other additional add-on services which you can check out here:
The retail price of Infinity books are competitive—I would expect nothing less from an author solutions service who do their own printing, however, when you look at the discounts and math, on an average 200+ page paperback priced at $12 to $14, authors are still being charged $6 to $7 per book they buy for their own needs and distribution. That is pretty steep if you are planning to be a self-publishing millionaire!
Infinity Publishing offers a cd insertion option (useful for children’s illustrated books and business books) as well as an audio book option and editing services.
Infinity Publishing’s website is very much the site of an author solutions service and there is no real advertising of books themselves. In fact, it is real struggle to get to the website which actually sells Infinity books direct. I don’t like that one bit and it is a serious mark against Infinity Publishing.
While Infinity Publishing provide plenty of contact details on their site from email and phone numbers, the site itself is at times difficult to navigate and get straight to the information you really want. I don’t like that either. All in all, Infinity Publishing is a sound and innovative company approaching author solutions in a creative and thoughtful way.
In some ways, Infinity are ahead of the opposition, and yet, in others, they lag behind with on line distribution and listing, royalty complexity, and difficult site presentation.