Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Subsidy Presses – Pros & Cons

A subsidy publisher takes payment from an author to print and bind a book, but also contributes a portion of the cost and/or provides adjunct services. Some subsidy publishers may be selective and/or screen submissions before committing to publish.  Subsidy publishers generally claim at least some rights, though these may be non-exclusive. Completed books and ISBN’s are the property of the subsidy  publisher, and remain in the publisher’s possession until sold.  Like commercial publishing, authors receive a royalty. Subsidy presses often turn out to be overpriced vanity publishers using artful language to make their services sound more like ‘legit’ publishing.

Pros:

  • May contribute a portion of the cost
  • May provide adjunct services such as editing, distribution, warehousing, and some degree of marketing
  • May be a way to get a book to print faster than through traditional routes.
  • Offer more freedom/independence for author than conventional publishers
  • May offer web-based sales, or make a book available via online booksellers

Cons:

  • Take payment from author to print and bind a book
  • Adjunct services are often minimal
  • Books are owned by publisher and remain in publisher’s possession, with authors receiving royalties for any copies sold
  • Most subsidy publishers keep a portion of the rights
  • Authors have little control over production aspects
  • Often only distribute to online retailers
  • Stigma within industry against vanity and subsidy presses – can result in books not being carried by certain stores or libraries

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