Publishing Service Index: December 2014

This is the PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX for December 2014. It is of course the last one this year. It reflects some review updates and author feedback over the past eight weeks. The most significant change is that Amazon KDP has slipped to third and also reflects the growing discontent self-published authors have with the introduction of Amazon Unlimited and recent communications regarding the new VAT  law  in Europe for 2015. We also have five new providers entering the Index this month.


TIPM continues to receive regular feedback on services through comments under our reviews, via our TIPM Facebook page, and directly to us. Your comments are always welcome and every comment and experience of a publishing service—positive or negative—is always reflected in every new index published through TIPM.


1 2 CreateSpace USA DIY/ASP 616.58 UP
2 3 IngramSpark GLOBAL PRT/FUL 610.7 UP
3 1 Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) GLOBAL DIY 603.74 DOWN
4 5 Smashwords USA DIY 525.2 UP
5 4 Lightning Source (Direct) GLOBAL PRT/FUL 524.62 DOWN
6 6 Matador UK ASP 460.22 SAME
7 7 Mill City Press USA PUB/ASP 431.03 SAME
8 8 Lulu GLOBAL DIY/ASP 404.8 SAME
9 10 Blurb GLOBAL DIY 397.09 UP
10 9 SilverWood Books USA ASP 395.89 DOWN
11 11 BookLocker USA ASP 371.3 SAME
12 13 Bookbaby USA DIY/ASP 345.8 UP
13 15 Kobo Writing Life GLOBAL DIY 344.1 UP
14 14 USA PRT/FUL 338.16 SAME
15 16 Publish Green GLOBAL ASP 327.46 UP
16 17 Dog Ear Publishing USA ASP 327.41 UP
17 18 York Publishing Services UK PRT/FULL 320.07 UP
18 81 Unbound UK PUB/CRW 318.7 UP
19 19 John Hunt Publishing GLOBAL PUB/ASP 307.26 SAME
20 20 Wingspan USA ASP 302 SAME
21 21 CPI UK Antony Rowe EUROPE PRT 301.7 SAME
22 23 Thomson-Shore USA PRT/ASP 300.06 UP
23 24 Mijn Bestseller EUROPE DIY 298 UP
24 22 Aventine USA ASP 297.88 DOWN
25 NEW eBookIT 296.1 NEW
26 26 Book Country GLOBAL ASP 292.94 SAME
27 25 Checkpoint Press IRELAND PUB/ASP 291.34 DOWN
28 27 VirtualBookVorm USA ASP 290.89 DOWN
29 28 SelfPublishBooks/Lettertec IRELAND ASP 287.43 DOWN
30 31 Infinity Publishing USA ASP 287.01 UP
31 29 Acorn Independent Press UK ASP 285.75 DOWN
32 NEW Wheatmark Publishing USA ASP 284.87 NEW
33 32 Apex Publishing UK PUB/ASP 284.38 DOWN
34 30 Grosvenor House Publishing UK ASP 283.23 DOWN
35 34 Wasteland Press USA ASP 283.23 DOWN
36 33 iUniverse USA ASP 282.99 DOWN
37 35 Outskirts Press USA ASP 282.1 DOWN
38 37 The Choir Press UK/USA ASP 281.23 DOWN
39 36 Cold River Studio USA ASP 278.63 DOWN
40 40 Tate Publishing USA PUB/ASP 276.67 SAME
41 38 Xulon Press USA ASP 276.08 DOWN
42 41 Americas Press USA PRT 276.01 DOWN
43 42 Pumbo EUROPE DIY 274.68 DOWN
44 39 FastPencil USA DIY 273.25 DOWN
45 43 PubliBook EUROPE DIY 272.78 DOWN
46 NEW Telemachus Press USA ASP 272.42 NEW
47 45 Janus Publishing UK ASP 269.32 DOWN
48 46 Diadem Books UK/USA ASP 267.95 DOWN
49 NEW Kbuuk USA DIY 267.9 NEW
50 48 Llumina Press USA PUB/ASP 266.64 DOWN
51 49 Open Book Editions USA ASP 266 DOWN
52 50 Direct POD UK PRT 265.55 DOWN
53 47 Abbott Press USA PUB/ASP 265.51 DOWN
54 51 Book Guild Publishing UK ASP 265.21 DOWN
55 NEW Pyjama Press UK/EUROPE ASP 265.03 NEW
56 44 AuthorHouse GLOBAL ASS 264.95 DOWN
57 52 A.H. Stockwell UK ASP 264.02 DOWN
58 54 Eprint Ireland IRELAND PRT 263.24 DOWN
59 53 Original Writing IRELAND ASP 261.6 DOWN
60 56 True Directions USA PUB/ASP 261.24 DOWN
61 57 The Book Producers IRELAND ASP 260.46 DOWN
62 58 Pomegranate Press UK/USA ASP 260.29 DOWN
63 60 UKUnpublished UK ASP 256.59 DOWN
64 61 Better Book Company UK ASP 256.15 DOWN
65 55 Austin MacAuley UK ASP 254.72 DOWN
66 62 Turning Stone Press USA ASP 253.72 DOWN
67 63 Archway Publishing GLOBAL PUB/ASP 253.51 DOWN
68 59 Xlibris GLOBAL ASP 253.1 DOWN
69 64 Balboa Press GLOBAL PUB/ASP 249.83 DOWN
70 66 Arima UK ASP 248.42 DOWN
71 67 Trafford Publishing USA ASP 247.79 DOWN
72 65 WestBow Press USA PUB/ASP 247.63 DOWN
73 68 Gemini International IRELAND PRT 246.22 DOWN
74 69 Epic Press UK ASP 242.2 DOWN
75 70 Chandler Book Design UK PRT 241.87 DOWN
76 71 Choice Publishing IRELAND ASP 240.75 DOWN
77 72 Dolman Scott/Oak Press UK ASP 238.66 DOWN
78 NEW Spire Publishing UK/USA ASP 238.66 NEW
79 73 DellArte Press USA PUB/ASP 238.52 DOWN
80 NEW Dorrance Press USA ASP 232.85 NEW
81 74 ShopMyBook (Unibook) GLOBAL PRT 228.23 DOWN
82 75 Spiderwize UK ASP 221.42 DOWN
83 76 Olympia Publishers UK PUB/ASP 211.12 DOWN
84 77 Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie UK PUB/ASP 210.01 DOWN
85 78 PublishAmerica/America Star Books USA ASP 209.93 DOWN
86 79 Melrose Books UK ASP 206.69 DOWN
87 80 Dom Tom Publishing UK/USA ASP 204.02 DOWN
88 82 Raider International Pub./Green Shore GLOBAL ASP 105.71 DOWN
89 12 Authors On Line UK ASP 102 DOWN
  • DIY – Do-it-yourself bespoke services
  • ASP – Author Solutions Services (Packages) – May also include Partnership publishing programs
  • PUB – Also offers Mainstream Contracts or is a service imprint of a traditional publishing house
  • PRT – Printer (primarily a printer with some additional but limited services)
  • FULL – Fulfilment Services provided for distribution logistics, warehousing of stock (including supply to wholesaler and retailers)
  • CRW – Crowdsource 

The most asked question we get at The Independent Publishing Magazine is often along the lines of; ‘What self-publishing service should I go with?‘; ‘Is so and so a good service to go with?‘; or ‘Is so and so a scam?

In some cases, that is an easy question to answer, cut and dry, but in other circumstances, the answer is entirely arbitrary. We are not here to review and run down a company’s name, nor are we here to endorse a company’s services. If we were only to review companies according to every point on an ideal dream list of what an author wants/should get, we would have very few reviews to share with you. In truth, no company has ever attained a 10/10, and only a few have recorded more than 08/10.
The reality is that some companies offering publishing services begin in a blaze of glory and we might rate them favourably at the time; others, frankly, are just poor, and they improve (sometimes in response to our reviews) to offer reasonable or better services. We are constantly updating our reviews, but this takes considerable time, and so do the initial reviews.


We get a vast amount of information from authors and the companies selling author solutions services every day – good and bad. We get a great deal of information from monitoring services week by week against the experiences of what authors report back to us. Simply put, and truthfully, we cannot reflect all of this information through the reviews. That is why the comments section under each company we review is so important. It is your recording and dealings with that specific company, and a positive or negative flag to subsequent authors considering using the same company.


So, how do we reflect the changing ups and downs with services?


We believe the PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX will help to guide authors to services on the up, and those, gradually on the down. If you like, what we present is a kind of stock exchange for companies supplying publisher services..


The PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX was first launched in June 2010.




  1. Jennifer said:

    Where are Barnes and Noble and Draft2Digital? Also AllRomance eBooks, iBooks, Google Play… “DIY” self publishing isn’t limited to Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Lulu, and Kobo. Indeed, most of the self-pub people I know use all five I listed but you didn’t. And most find everything after Amazon on your list to be more work than they’re worth.

    • Mick Rooney said:

      Different authors have different requirements, Jennifer. The majority of authors entering the self-publishing arena want a lot more handholding than many DIY platforms offer. Equally, some authors don’t want to open multiple accounts with individual ebook distributors and its why Smashwords combined with AMZ KDP remains a popular choice for authors. The self-publishing arena just isn’t a one-size fits all choice for all authors.

      There is a review of Draft2Digital coming soon.

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  3. Marion Gropen said:

    How do you define the DEC value index? And are you looking for what writers DO want, or what they SHOULD want if they’re to sell more books and make more money doing so? Those are rarely similar lists.

  4. Fred Zimmerman said:

    Great idea, but useless without transparency about how it is calculated.

  5. Wonder said:

    Llumina Press is much too high on the list. They stole my money, refusing to publish my book as per our agreement. Unfortunately, I believed their verbal cooperation, not knowing that if it’s not in writing, they won’t honor their agreements, which deviate from usual and customary printing.
    Their person who designed the cover sent me two choices, both showing exactly what I emailed that I did Not want. I had to pick one or pay more. That 2 choices stipulation was in the agreement. Nothing said I could or could not give parameters like foliage or people or animals on the cover.
    The page spacing, font, indentations etc. were all given by verbal agreements. Live and learn, and with this company, lose the full amount of the payments.

  6. christine tripp said:

    I love that so many of the really dangerous service providers that take full advantage of new writers continue to go down in rank on this list! Now if only all new writers who wish to not go the commercial publishing route could all know the list exists. I let new Authors know about your site (and of course Writer Beware) every chance I get.
    There is another service player I am hearing of from some new writers entering self pub for the first time and that is Page. Don’t see it on the list as yet, any plans for it’s addition Mick?

    • Mick Rooney said:

      That really is the key to the publishing index, Christine. The index reflects the performance and feedback about a company’s services. It’s not a snapshot from a single period, but how the company is ranked from the time TIPM first reviews it and floats it into the index. That means a company can improve or under perform over a period of time. My advice to anybody looking a company on the index is to look and see what position that company was in 12 months ago. This will indicate if the index (and the author’s using the services) rate the company as one that is developing and on the up, or in a gradual slump. Ultimately, a good reputable company doesn’t become so overnight, or over a single month. Equally, a period when a company experiences a poor patch combined with poor feedback doesn’t automatically send a company to the basement.

    • Mick Rooney said:

      I’m not familiar with Page, Christine. Perhaps you would like to share a link and I can take a look. I would add that I don’t tend to do full reviews of new starter companies or companies that have not been around for at least a year or two.

      • christine tripp said:
        Here is the link Mick. I see too that Janice below has commented and mentioned Page. I’ve been hearing new writers say they have been contacted directly by Page, either thru email and/or phone.

        • Mick Rooney said:

          Christine, authors contacted directly by service providers via phone or email (when they haven’t provided the company with their contact details) is usually an early red flag for me.

  7. Janice Ellis said:

    I have been a columnist for over 30 years and am in the process of completing my first book, and have some work completed on two others. I am really struggling as to whether I should use one of the companies in your index to publish, at least, the first book.

    Do you have any data on sales results for traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? Are we seeing more books being self-published vs. going the traditional publishing route?

    I am receiving follow-up calls from two self-publishing companies, Page Publishing (not on your list), and Xlibris Publishing (ranked 68 on your listing).

    I became aware of the Publishing Index today. I have found the review and comments informative. Thank you!

  8. samuel david said:

    Regardless of what you write good or bad, pay sites do not offer much more than the freebies. Get your book edited at free lancers and cover design.
    Lot less capital then self publish.
    After this find sources to promote.
    Now if you think you will make best seller list then good luck. Most likely not. However as in my case I am into the multi thousands of readers and that in itself is gratifying.
    So…, keep writing.

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  10. John Schwartz said:

    This is the first time I studied the Index. It’s quite revealing. Although I have white hair, I am still a young author after a full international career, with two manuscripts completed and ready go to. But where? The Index may be helpful. Create Space checks in with me regularly where I stand and offers its services. Then there is Bookbaby that keeps sending me messages. Both seem genuine. Lately, a Virginian hybrid (traditional-emerging authors) company, which is not on your list, offered a full package costing about $5,800 (linked with Ingram and Lightning Source). Currently I plan to self-publish my debut book with a small local one-person outfit using Create Space and Ingram just to see how that works. Since I am a foreign (Dutch) writer writing in English, I probably need all the help I can get with my second book (a romantic novel) to get started with a publishing company that offers a complete package (design, editing, printing and distribution/market assistance). I am not optimistic about recovering the cost. Do authors reveal this important aspect to TIPM?

    • Mick Rooney said:

      Hi John, good to talk to a Dutch writer. CreateSpace and Bookbaby are reasonably good options for a self-published author, though I tend to advise authors to steer clear of CreateSpace’s premium services. I just feel they are overpriced. Self-published authors should concentrate on using CS as a DIY publishing service rather than availing of its assisted services.

      On red flag for me (and one every writer should look out for) is submitting to a publisher under the belief that you are submitting to a traditional publisher. I’ve heard from other writers who submitted to hybrid publishers like Koelher who had no idea they would be asked for a financial contribution. If you intend to pursue a traditional route to publication then you should never be swayed to switch to paid-publishing because a publisher says it will publisher your book and it has merits. My biggest problem with Koelher and other such publishers like this is not being clear and upfront about co-publishing contracts.

      If you are going to invest in professional services like editing, design and marketing for a first book – that’s good – but you need to be aware that it is an investment in your book and writing career. Few self-published authors recoup their initial investment in sales. Indeed, many new books published by traditional publishers never earn-out the advance offered to the author.

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