This might be the turning point which is positive for everyone. The traditional (and huge) Penguin Publishing Empire (actually Pearson) has enveloped a self-publishing site into its corporate bosom. I hope this will be the beginning of the trend to have some sort of gate-keeper looking after self-published books. The avenue is still there for anyone to publish any way they want on the internet, but a more serious cachet (I hope) is opened with a traditional publisher having its oar in the water. And I hope other traditional publishers will follow.
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Pearson Acquires Self-Publishing Vendor Author Solutions For $116 Million
By Calvin Reid
In a move that can be traced to last year’s launch of Book Country, Penguin’s writer community and self-publishing venture, Pearson has acquired Author Solutions Inc.,one of the largest self-publishing ventures in the world, for $116 million from Bertram Capital.
In a conference call from ASI’s headquarters in Bloomington, Ind., Penguin CEO John Makinson and ASI CEO Kevin Weiss, said the deal marks the “mainstreaming” of self-publishing, will provide Penguin with “scalable” data and expertise on self-publishing and offers opportunities for global growth and wider distribution to selected ASI authors through Penguin’s channels. Last year Penguin was the first conventional publisher to launch its own self-publishing service, Book Country, and they’ve followed that landmark venture with the acquisition of Author Solutions, a self-publishing firm with around 1,600 employees, revenue of just under $100 million in 2011 and that that has published nearly 200,000 books by more than 150,000 authors in print and e-book formats.
The company has net income of $4.2 million laat year. Author Solutions also partners with about six other houses—Thomas Nelson and Hay House among them—to provide “white label” self-publishing services and both Makinson and Weiss said those ASI partnerships will continue. Bertram Capital began looking for a buyer for ASI this winter. Answering questions from the Author Solutions offices, Makinson said “there’s no other acquisition like this with systems of scale behind it.” Makinson also said there will be no layoffs. “We’re looking to upsize not downsize. There are no plans for layoffs, this is an opportunity for growth,” he said. Weiss said they will not change Author Solutions name, “the brand will not change but we have time and we will decide what makes sense.” Citing its own launch of Book Country, Makinson said Penguin has been looking at the self-publishing market “with growing respect and admiration,” noting that “we try to keep up with the game.” Makinson said, “It’s become more professional and added more value for writers and readers.”
Makinson pointed to the growing number of self-published writers like E.L. James and Amanda Hocking, “self-publishing is growing and converging with traditional publishing. It's an important market and it's not unusual for self-published titles to hit the bestseller lists.”