Publishing Service Index: May 2017 (Notes Included)

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news_3This is the PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX for May 2017. Our last index was released in February 2017. Originally I compiled the index, month-to-month, but I found the work involved to update almost 90 companies and service providers was not being compensated by enough changes on the index over a short period of weeks. Indeed, some months the changes were very modest, and sometimes hardly noticeable. I held off releasing an index during the months of last summer because I began to see some changes within the service industry providers and I was curious to see how these would all play out in 2017.

Unfortunately publishing service providers continue to fall by the wayside and close their doors, either because of a downturn in business from authors seeking full service providers, and combined with increased competition from freemium publishing platforms (online platforms that offer free basic services, but charge for more advanced services). There is one positive aspect of this. It means highly predatory companies are finding it more difficult to sucker in authors unfamiliar with the publishing landscape. This week TIPM reported on Tate Publishing. The company closed in February but was planning to return to operations in recent weeks. Fortunately the Oklahoma Attorney General had other ideas.

Richard Tate, the firm’s founder, and his son Ryan Tate, its CEO, were arrested Thursday morning and held on eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge filed by Oklahoma’s attorney general, Mike Hunter’s office, that accuses them of embezzlement, extortion and racketeering.

It is a welcome but sad end to a publishing services enterprise that has for many years preyed upon the gullibility of new and existing authors.

As a publishing consultant, one additional point of note. I am finding it increasingly difficult to suggest a large and varied pool of reputable full publishing service providers to authors looking to go in that direction, particularly if an author wants both print and ebook editions of their book. More and more, we are moving to a publishing landscape where authors need to take greater control in the management of their book projects, and that means looking to publishing marketplaces to connect with professionals, whether an author is looking for a book designer, a skilled book formatter, an editor, or marketing and promotional assistance. While it is still possible to find all those services under one roof, so-to-speak, this area and the options available are shrinking, and when it comes to quality, efficient delivery of services contracted, and reputation; these are not the kind of things any serious independent author wants to compromise on.

Turning to the May Publishing Service Index TIPM has just released: the top six show no changes, but there are changes from positions seven through ten. CreateSpace has consolidated its position, and for the first time since last year actually rises one place to ninth. Thomson-Shore, for the first time ever, enters the top ten. Mill City Press, now owned by Xulon (Salem Communications), exits the top ten for the first time. This is never a good sign and the author feedback I am getting continues to suggest that the new ownership transition has been a less than satisfactory experience for some authors.

We have one new entry for the latest index, Nook Press. Entering at number 28, its position is still provisional and may take a while to settle. Nevertheless, despite some limitations with Nook, and how long Barnes & Noble will continue to operate and support it; it’s a respectable entry position on the index.

TIPM continues to receive regular feedback on services through comments under our reviews, via our TIPM Facebook page, and directly to us. We want to thank all of those who took the time to share their publishing experiences. 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.

 

FEB POS DEC POS COMPANY/SERVICE PROVIDER PRIMARY COMPANY BASEMARKET SERVICE CLASS FEB INDEX VALUE INDEX POS MOVE
1 1 Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) GLOBAL DIY 846.02 SAME
2 2 IngramSpark GLOBAL PRT/FSP 845.27 SAME
3 3 Matador UK FSP 716.12 SAME
4 4 Smashwords USA DIY 694.80 SAME
5 5 Kobo Writing Life GLOBAL DIY 628.30 SAME
6 6 SilverWood Books UK FSP 572.70 SAME
7 8 Blurb GLOBAL DIY 555.10 UP
8 7 Lightning Source (Direct) GLOBAL PRT/FUL 554.20 DOWN
9 10 CreateSpace USA DIY/FSP 539.66 UP
10 11 Thomson-Shore USA FSP 513.20 UP
11 9 Hillcrest Media/Mill City Press USA PUB/FSP 511.82 DOWN
12 13 Draft2Digital UK/USA DIY 491.96 UP
13 12 BookLocker USA FSP 486.51 DOWN
14 14 Epigraph Publishing Service USA FSP 444.97 SAME
15 15 Dog Ear Publishing USA FSP 437.68 SAME
16 16 Selfpublishing.com USA PRT/FUL 43.78 SAME
17 17 Mijn Bestseller EUROPE DIY 429.33 SAME
18 23 CPI UK Antony Rowe EUROPE PRT 418.39 UP
19 22 Lulu GLOBAL DIY/FSP 417.46 UP
20 20 Pressbooks USA DIY 416.52 SAME
21 18 Publish Green GLOBAL FSP 415.56 DOWN
22 19 Bookbaby USA DIY/FSP 414.20 DOWN
23 21 Unbound UK PUB/CRW 412.29 DOWN
24 24 York Publishing Services UK PRT/FUL 410.98 SAME
25 26 John Hunt Publishing GLOBAL PUB/FSP 399.27 UP
26 25 Google Play Books GLOBAL DIY 397.93 DOWN
27 27 Wingspan USA FSP 384.90 SAME
28 NEW Nook Press (B&N) USA DIY 379.50 DOWN
29 32 Grosvenor House Publishing UK FSP 376.07 UP
30 28 Checkpoint Press IRELAND PUB/FSP 375.93 DOWN
31 29 eBookIT GLOBAL DIY/FSP 372.36 DOWN
32 30 Aventine USA FSP 371.40 DOWN
33 31 SelfPublishBooks/Lettertec IRELAND FSP 368.54 DOWN
34 33 The Choir Press UK/USA FSP 367.83 DOWN
35 34 Wheatmark Publishing USA FSP 367.14 DOWN
36 35 Cold River Studio USA FSP 367.02 DOWN
37 36 Book Guild Publishing UK FSP 364.95 DOWN
38 38 Wasteland Press USA FSP 360.75 SAME
39 39 Infinity Publishing USA FSP 360.71 SAME
40 37 Virtualbookworm USA FSP 360.20 DOWN
41 40 Acorn Independent Press UK FSP 353.57 DOWN
42 41 Americas Press USA PRT 352.66 DOWN
43 42 Apex Publishing UK PUB/FSP 348.61 DOWN
44 43 Authoright UK/USA FSP 347.03 DOWN
45 44 FastPencil USA DIY 346.93 DOWN
46 45 Pumbo EUROPE DIY 346.54 DOWN
47 46 Telemachus Press USA FSP 344.68 DOWN
48 47 Janus Publishing UK FSP 342.31 DOWN
49 48 Outskirts Press USA FSP 341.02 DOWN
50 49 Kazoo Publishing Services IRELAND FSP 338.63 DOWN
51 50 Diadem Books UK/USA FSP 338.23 DOWN
52 52 Pyjama Press UK/EUROPE FSP 335.61 SAME
53 51 Xulon Press USA FSP 335.34 DOWN
54 53 A.H. Stockwell UK FSP 335.20 DOWN
55 55  PubliBook EUROPE DIY 334.70 SAME
56 56 Direct POD UK PRT 331.76 SAME
57 57 Kbuuk USA DIY 331.43 SAME
58 54 Lluminia Press USA PUB/FSP 331.19 DOWN
59 58 Eprint Ireland IRELAND PRT 329.43 DOWN
60 59 iUniverse USA FSP 327.09 DOWN
61 62 Arima UK FSP 324.76 DOWN
62 60 Pomegranate Press UK/USA FSP 324.05 DOWN
63 61 The Book Producers IRELAND FSP 323.63 DOWN
64 64 Abbott Press USA PUB/FSP 318.07 SAME
65 63 Turning Stone Press USA FSP 317.46 DOWN
66 65 Gemini International IRELAND PRT 316.62 DOWN
67 66 Archway Publishing GLOBAL PUB/FSP 308.61 DOWN
68 67 Chandler Book Design UK PRT 304.13 DOWN
69 68 Dolman Scott/Oak Press UK FSP 303.35 DOWN
70 69 Choice Publishing IRELAND FSP 302.06 DOWN
71 70 WestBow Press USA PUB/FSP 300.33 DOWN
72 71 Epic Press UK FSP 297.92 DOWN
73 72 Austin MacAuley UK FSP 293.33 DOWN
74 73 Trafford Publishing GLOBAL FSP 293.29 DOWN
75 74 Balboa Press GLOBAL PUB/FSP 289.31 DOWN
76 75 Spiderwize UK FSP 283.94 DOWN
77 76 ShopMyBook (Unibook) GLOBAL PRT 283.41 DOWN
78 77 Dorrance Press USA FSP 281.05 DOWN
79 78 AuthorHouse GLOBAL FSP 267.16 DOWN
80 79 Xlibris GLOBAL FSP 258.09 DOWN
81 80 Melrose Books UK FSP 253.66 DOWN
82 81 PublishAmerica/America/Star Books USA FSP 244.95 DOWN
83 83 Better Book Company UK PRT 217.61 SAME
84 82 Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie UK PUB/FSP 213.59 DOWN
85 84 Tate Publishing USA PUB/FSP 187.14 CLOSED
86 85 Olympia Publishers UK PUB/FSP 165.73 DOWN
87 86 Raider International Pub./Green Shore GLOBAL FSP 107.30 DOWN
(KEY)
  • DIY – Do-it-yourself bespoke services and basic conversion and formatting services
  • FSP – Full Service Provider (Packages & Bespoke) – 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

* Denotes that company no longer offers publishing services

** Denotes former service provider turned traditional publisher

*** Denotes that publisher/imprint no longer exists or has closed operations

 

There is a much more detailed explanation of what the Publishing Service Index is and how authors can best use it in this post.

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.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Nancy Starkman said:

    Mick, we should be on this list. Please check us out at https://www.starprintbrokers.com. Since 1999, we’ve been printing high-quality books on press, in Asia and USA. We are based near Seattle. Star Print Brokers offers options that are often hard to find elsewhere. We pride ourselves on NOT doing print-on-demand books, either digitally output or on press, without a critical eye to detail.

    We strive to provide the finest in book printing and secure bindings. Our focus is on color reproduction, manufacturing high-quality books for our clients, and at an affordable cost. Star Print Brokers works not only with American self-publishers, but also authors from other countries. We stand behind the books we print.

    As other providers go out of business, we continue printing the best books for self-publishing authors, small publishers, photographers, fine artists, art galleries, and anyone who wants the best in fine book printing. We also design books.

    • Mick Rooney said:

      Hi Nancy,

      If I get a chance I’ll take a look at Starprintbrokers. But I guess your name, in itself, raises a question for me. Are you a print broker or a dedicated in-house printer? I ask, because if I were reviewing mortgage companies, I’d want to review the mortgage companies themselves, and not a middleman broker that delivers the bests deals from external partnerships whether based on service quality, product etc.

  2. H.R. Sanderson said:

    Is this the way it’s going? Are there no traditional publishers left, except for celebrities, including politicians? And what about those Marketing Guides that tout Christian Publishing Companies that turn out to be nothing but scam artists? After a negative experience with Tate (listed in Jerry Jenkins CHRISTIAN WRITERS MARKET GUIDE), and again with a so-called traditional publisher who stole my manuscript and put it on CreateSpace for himself, I am too stunned and skeptical to even want to continue in this scam-ridden business. Is this because people in general have just stopped reading, therefore no longer interested in books by unknown authors? Has this lack of demand for books resulted in the business of self-publishing, which is a dream opportunity for swindlers? I am only letting off steam. Tomorrow I will be writing again, even if I can’t find an honest place for my next book.

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