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      January 22, 2019

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iUniverse vs Xlibris

Best Self Publishing Companies

To help you find the Best Self Publishers, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of iUniverse and Xlibris.

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Publishing a book used to be an expensive chore both in terms of time and money. You had to submit your work to a major publishing house, hope that it was accepted by their editors and review boards, and pay exorbitant publishing fees. After all that, there were extensive marketing and distribution methods and fees - all of which conspired to force many would-be authors to abandon their craft.

Thankfully, times have changed. Today, anyone can have their work professionally printed, marketed, and distributed through a variety of self-publishing services.

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Best Reviews

2019

Self Publishing Reviews

3 stars
iUniverse

IUNIVERSE Visit Site

Cost:

From $599 to $2,099

Royalties:

20%

iUniverse provides an easy to navigate website and clearly laid out publishing package information. iUniverse provides on-demand printing and therefore does not require the author to purchase a specific number of books with the initial order. The only disadvantage to print on demand is the cost per book is slightly higher, but that is offset by not requiring a minimum upfront order size and paying for extra storage.

All packages offer a basic set of features, including volume book discounts, custom covers, ISBN assignment, and book distribution to leading bookstores.

With the two top packages the author can choose the best book trim size, from 5 by 8 to an 8 1/4 by 11-inch book. The book is available in both hardcover and paperback formats. They also include one round of author proof corrections and an editorial evaluation.

The Bookstore Premier Pro package also makes your book more attractive to bookstores by allowing them to return unsold copies. This encourages bookstores to stock your book and can improve your chances of scheduling book signings and appearances.

With all programs, you receive a number of free soft cover books for distribution to friends and family. With all of the programs, you can also buy copies at a discounted rate. The amount of the discount depends on volume.

Unfortunately, the author royalty provided by iUniverse is only 20%. This compares to 100% offered by our top-rated selections. That means for every $5 you earn from selling a book through them, you'll only earn $1 for selling through iUniverse.

Overall, iUniverse provides a good self-publishing site. They offer a range of services that should appeal to most book authors. Having said that, the author royalties at our higher rated sites are more, and the cost-per-book for printing copies is less. For these reasons, we suggest you first check out those companies for your self-publishing needs.

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2 stars
Xlibris

XLIBRIS Visit Site

Cost:

From $899 to $15,299

Royalties:

10% to 50%

For two decades, Xlibris has helped more than 40,000 authors publish their work. According to the company, their promise is "to create and deliver a first-class quality book, to deliver to your timetable, and to suit your budget."

If you choose Xlibris as your self-publishing service, you'll definitely need a big budget! They offer six general packages, starting with the Basic at $899 and going all the way up to Platinum at $15,299. What's included in Xlibris' packages? The easiest way to determine which package you need is by looking at the Pricing Chart under the Services tab at the top of the page. In general, however, every package includes the following services:

  • Paperback and E-book editions
  • Interior templates
  • Author photo and cover art
  • Cover templates
  • Electronic galleys
  • 1 paperback author copy
  • At least 5 paperback package books
  • ISBN and Books in Print registration
  • Worldwide distribution and online listing
  • Author homepage and book page (online)
  • Google Books Preview, Amazon Look Inside, Barnes and Noble Read Instantly
  • Online sales and royalty accounting
  • At least 50 business cards, bookmarks, and postcards
  • At least 5 posters

From there, depending on your needs, you can access additional services - either for an extra fee or as part of a higher-tier package. Some of these services include Library of Congress registration, web design services, and press release campaigns.

You can also choose a Specialty Publishing Package, depending on the genre of your book and/or your goals for your book. These can be found under the Services tab as well and include Christian, Sci-Fi, Poetry, Romance, and Children's Book Publishing packages and Title Pitch Publishing (i.e. getting your book displayed at bookstores and libraries).

Keep an eye out for special offers that can give you extra savings. For example, at the time of our review, we found a promotion for saving 10% on publishing packages and a free upgrade for ALC subscribers. What is an ALC subscriber? ALC stands for "Author Learning Center", but unfortunately all of the links on the Xlibris site that referenced the ALC provided no information: the pages were blank or didn't go anywhere. This was disappointing.

We also found that, Xlibris' royalties structure is not only confusing but also leaves you, the author, without getting much in return. How much will you be paid? That depends on how your book is purchased: 50% in royalties for e-books, 25% for printed copies or audiobooks purchased directly through the Xlibris bookstore, and a mere 10% for printed or audiobook copies purchased through a distribution channel like Amazon. Xlibris does offer a 100% royalty program for 3 years, but only as part of the higher-end Executive and Platinum packages.

And, of course, you will probably want to buy copies of your book to sell at author signings and other events. You will get an author discount ranging from 30-60%, but if your book is more than 165 pages long, you'll have to get a custom price quote - their pricing chart only goes up to 145 (we have no idea what happens for books between 145 and 165 pages long, as the disclaimer only mentioned custom quotes for books over 165 pages).

We were pleased to see that Xlibris' parent company, Author Solutions LLC, maintains a solid "A+" rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. On the BBB site, we did find out that Author Solutions LLC owns two of the other self-publishing businesses in our review, iUniverse and Trafford Publishing. This could be useful to know if you're comparing the three services.

On the other hand, we found more than 200 complaints on the BBB site alone from Author Solutions' customers, with many specifically criticizing the services received from Xlibris - or lack thereof. Authors described frustration with the quality of promotion and marketing services purchased, poor editing, and challenges with copyright issues.

Overall, Xlibris is the most expensive of all of the self-publishing services in our review, charging the most for packages and offering the lowest royalties. If their results were astronomically better than their competition, it might be worth the higher expenses - but lackluster author/customer reviews left us believing that most writers will get more bang for the buck with another self-publishing business.

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Continued from above

Self publishing companies create books for thousands of authors every year thanks to advancements in computer technology and a concept called Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing. This concept allows for books to be quickly printed and shipped as they are ordered, which eliminates the need for large upfront costs and storage.

However, not all self publishing companies are created equal. There are a wide range of services that are (or are not) offered by these companies, including professional editing services, custom graphic work, book cover options, personalized photos, marketing methods, distribution services, fees, and perhaps most importantly, royalties paid to you, the author.

There are a number of self publishing companies that exist today. They all have different fee structures and specific services that they can provide. You should consider important aspects of each self publishing company before you decide to choose one. Some of these aspects include:

  • Cost and Fees. What is the cost to self-publish your book? Will they keep a percentage of each future sale?
  • Included services. Does the company provide a wide range of self-publishing services for one set fee, or do they provide a list of services that you can choose from?
  • Turn-around time. How fast can the self-publishing company produce your book?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best self publishing companies available today. We hope this information helps you start your publishing career right away!

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