Home or Bust: Shrink or Swim?

About a year and a half ago Author Solutions (ASI), the largest global company offering self-publishing services to authors, decided to pull the plug on their AuthorHouse operation in the UK. It still surprises many authors I speak to when I tell them that AuthorHouse has no staff presence in the UK and all operational functions have now reverted back to the ASI headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana, as it was pre 2003/4.

Rattle in any of the big ASI self-publishing names owned by the company – Trafford, Xlibris, AuthorHouse – into Google, and though you may be dealing with a co.uk website, you are dealing with the big cheeses in Indiana. While the behemoth of ASI has been expanding for many years, subsuming other self-publishing services like WordClay and iUniverse, all clicks will lead you to mirror sites of the Bloomington, Indiana, enterprise. I noticed just this week, a sure sign of ASI’s central strategy on one of their previous self-publishing acquisitions – Trafford Publishing UK:
For Existing Trafford Authors
If you are a Trafford author and your book has already been published, or if your book is in production with Trafford, we can help you with your needs.
Please call 0845 230 9601 if you have a question about your book, or you would like to order copies of your book.

For Prospective Trafford Authors

If you want to get published, one of our sister companies, AuthorHouse, can help you get your book in the market fast, professionally and affordably.
Claim your free publishing guide or call 0800 197 4150 to speak with an AuthorHouse publishing advisor.
There is a dichotomy working in the world today with self-publishing services, just as there is in all lines of business today. As large companies like ASI expand their global partnership network to printers and wholesalers, often, the control room of companies is retracting, not expanding. It is the rule and law of commercial economics that says – if someone else, somewhere else, can do the job you are trying to do far cheaper, then let them do it, rather than stretch and expand your resources and investment. It makes sound business sense.
However, for many self-published authors, using global services to begin with may no longer be the approach that will work best.  It certainly won’t work for an author publishing in print only, and with a limited national fan base, particularly if that author is based in the UK or Ireland, it certainly won’t work if that author is based on the European continent with all its diverse languages.
While ebooks and the free market has thrown the gauntlet down to the publishing industry – booksellers included – survival  will be about seeing the book as content to sell in various formats and how best to find the right access platform and merchandise that content to the consumer. I’m not convinced publishers or authors are quite so sure how all this will work out. And while we may spend the next ten years dealing with how far ebooks will bite into the traditional way of selling books; the ease of access to publishing for authors combined with the disintermediation of the industry will lead to the greater challenges of territory rights, and critically, translation rights further down the road. I didn’t sense at the Frankfurt Book Fair or earlier this year at the London Book Fair that the industry was really giving any serious thought to how globalising is about to change territory and translation rights. I got the feeling publishers still have an entrenched bunker view of these issues – “Well, it’s our ball, and if we’re not happy, we’ll just take it home with us.” Unfortunately, after ten years in publishing, there won’t be such a thing as ‘home’ and ‘our territory’.
Unlike ASI in Bloomington, Indiana, traditional publishers are about to learn that the world they live in, or where their office is based and what appears to them out the window, will not necessarily be quite where the commercial world is headed.

Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply