ASI CEO Responds To Harlequin/Thomas Nelson Paid-Publishing Debate With Statement

Author Solutions CEO and president, Kevin Weiss, has today formally responded with a press statement and video address about the current debate on Harlequin and Thomas Nelson to launch self-publishing partnerships with ASI to provide paid-publishing services for authors.

Here is the full text of the press release.

Bloomington, Ind. (PRWEB) December 7, 2009 — Kevin Weiss, president and CEO of Author Solutions, the world leader in indie book publishing, issued a video statement Monday addressing the importance of providing expanded choice and opportunity in the book publishing industry.

During the three-and-a-half-minute statement Weiss addresses concerns that the rise of self-publishing, including ASI’s groundbreaking partnerships with leading traditional publishers, signals the destruction of the industry. Rather than the end of an industry, Weiss views these new alliances as signs the industry is adapting to new realities.

“The publishing industry has been around for many, many years, and it will continue to be around for many years into the future, but what it looks like will be different,” Weiss said. “And that’s the thing that’s difficult for people today. Change is hard. You can either be impacted by change or you can embrace change.”

Weiss also addresses protests lodged by writer’s guilds in response to last month’s announcement of a publishing partnership with women’s fiction publisher Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Weiss takes exception to these guilds’ position that only traditionally-published books can succeed.

“There are plenty of books in traditional publishing today that just don’t make it; it’s a hits business,” Weiss said. “It’s why the publishing industry is going through a transformation today and the consumer has everything to say about what is good content and what isn’t good content. To say that in order for a book to make it in the marketplace it has to blessed by a traditional publisher doesn’t make any sense in 2009.”

While a formal response from Author Solutions CEO Kevin Weiss is welcome in this debate, his video and press release does little to address the core issues which have led to Harlequin’s delisting by the MWA and RWA. Weiss sticks to the line Author Solutions have been driving home for more than a year in press releases that publishing is changing, and in the great spirit of independence, ASI and other like services are providing choice and opportunity to both authors and readers. This video and press release is more an advertising opportunity for ASI to trumpet their services and the broader arguments for the acceptance of self-published books and authors in the greater industry.
I’ll hazard that Weiss chose not to address the issues of a publisher using rejections to direct authors toward their own paid-publishing service; using traditional branding, no matter how tenuous, to lure authors into paying for publishing services in the hope they may be picked up by the traditional imprint of a publishing house; using the MS slush pile as a means of additional profit stream—for Weiss and ASI, those nuggets of criticism seem to be something they would much rather see Harlequin, Thomas Nelson and any other mainstream publisher who enters the paid-publishing arena, deal with on their own. And that’s a great pity.

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