According to a New York Times article published on
January 28, 2009, Xlibris, along with AuthorHouse, Wordclay, iUniverse, Inkubook, and
Trafford are now all owned and operated by a single company, Author Solutions
Inc. Author Solutions is capitalized by
Bertram Capital Management. They seem intent on buying up as many POD
publishers as they can. They use "economies of scale" to provide self
publishing, which basically means the work is outsourced to the Philippines,
India, and other third world nations.
Xlibris was previously owned by Random House. Under Author
Solutions, Xlibris still charges a lot more
than most POD publishers, anywhere from $299 for very little to $12,999 for a book.
One difference is in the quality of the cover: For $299, $499, and $899, writers get a
generic cover made from a template. For $1599, you get a custom cover. Packages lack
flexibility, and all
too often you cannot buy a less expensive option and complement it only with the
services you require.
Their website is huge and fully automated. Writers can
choose interior fonts and cover styles from templates depending on which package
Xlibris takes anything
that comes in,
maintaining no editorial standards. In addition, their books are priced
significantly higher than books of the same type and page number found in bookstores, and they've
discount to wholesalers as well, making their books even more unattractive in
terms of price. They do offer what they call "copyediting," but this
consists of what is usually termed "proofreading." It's priced at $.012
per word. They don't tell you the cost until you fill out the form to buy the
Some of the key points in the contract include:
The author's discount starts at 40% of retail on paperbacks and 35%
of retail on hardcovers. For 25 books the discount is 49% on paperbacks
and 44.75% on hardcovers. But because the retail prices are high, the cost
of books to the author is also going to be high.
Their royalties are low (10% for books sold through
third parties and 25% of retail sales directly through their web site).
Distribution is through their site and most on-line
On the plus side:
-Large automated site.
-Marketing services are comprehensive (but costly).
-Copyediting available (really proofreading with
-Custom publishing service available (cost: $1600)
On the negative side:
-Well known as a vanity press
-All services are expensive
-High retail prices on books
-Low royalties (10% - 25% of retail)
-Author's discount sounds good but is based on high retail pricing.
-Little or no flexibility in their packages
-Large company: Authors can get lost in the "system"
-No returnability option through Ingram