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Books Just Books approaches publishing differently than many companies on this list. Books Just Books is not a Print On Demand publisher; instead, they are a book printer, first and foremost. While their publishing services will be useful to most authors, they don't have a long list of extra services available
Books Just Books acknowledges that on demand is better if the author can sell only a few dozen or a couple of hundred books. Print On Demand can reduce an author's upfront publishing costs to just a few hundred dollars, and they don't have to stock inventory. However, if sales start to number in the hundreds, on demand publishing can actually decrease the author's profits.
With Books Just Books, the author has to order and pay for all the books he or she will sell with the initial order. This upfront fee can easily be $10,000-$20,000. This further emphasizes the author as both the book distributor and primary salesman. While this can be a negative for most aspiring authors, the profit potential of this option can be much more attractive if large numbers of books will be sold.
Books Just Books offers a surprising amount of marketing help for a company that is only a book printer. They assist their authors with getting listed in Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Books Just Books also has an online bookstore. They help each author with a website to promote and sell his book.
Books Just Books offers fewer services but allows the novice author to choose only want they want and need. We would have liked to have seen an on-demand option with Books Just Books to meet even more customer needs.
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:
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.
Self Publishing Services
To help you find the Best Self Publishers, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Books Just Books and Xlibris.
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.
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:
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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