Publishing Service Index – July 2013

This is the PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX for JULY 2013. This update reflects some review updates and author feedback over the past two months. FastPencil (recently reviewed here) and Turning Stone Press, Hampton Roads Publishing’s new author service imprint (full review due soon – current rating is provisional) are both new to the index.
IngramSpark is listed at the bottom of the index ahead of its July 1st launch. TIPM will complete a full review of IngramSpark (its services, pricing and tools) during the following weeks. Please take note that IngramSpark should not be confused with Lightning Source (Direct), which Ingram has assured TIPM is going to continue as a direct service for publishers and authors.
TIPM continues to receive regular feedback on services through comments under our reviews, via our TIPM Facebook page, and directly to us. Your comments are always welcome and every comment and experience of a publishing service, positive or negative, is always reflected in every new index published through TIPM.


DIY – Do-it-yourself bespoke services

ASS – Author Solutions Services (Packages) – May also include Partnership publishing programs

PUB – Also offers Mainstream Contracts or is a service imprint of a traditional publishing house

PRT – Printer (primarily a printer with some additional but limited services)
FULL – Fulfilment Services provided for distribution logistics, warehousing of stock (including supply to wholesaler and retailers) 

The most asked question we get at The Independent Publishing Magazine is often along the lines of; ‘What self-publishing service should I go with?‘; ‘Is so and so a good service to go with?‘; or ‘Is so and so a scam?

In some cases, that is an easy question to answer, cut and dry, but in other circumstances, the answer is entirely arbitrary. We are not here to review and run down a company’s name, nor are we here to endorse a company’s services. If we were only to review author solutions services according to every point in our ideal list of what an author should get from a company offering publishing services; we would have very few reviews to share with you. In truth, no company has ever attained a 10/10, and only a few have recorded more than 08/10. In the autumn of 2010 we will be posting all our reviews with a rating, and any new reviews since February 2010 have automatically had a posted rating at the bottom of the review.
The reality is that some author solutions services begin in a blaze of glory and we might rate them favourably at the time; others, frankly, are just poor, and yet, they improve (sometimes in response to our reviews) to offer reasonable services for authors. We are constantly updating our reviews, but this takes considerable time, and so do the initial reviews.
We get a vast amount of information from authors and the companies selling author solutions services every day – good and bad. We get a great deal of information from monitoring services week by week against the experiences of what authors report back to us. Simply put, and truthfully, we cannot reflect all of this information through the reviews. That is why the comments section under each company we review is so important. It is your recording and dealings with that specific company, and a positive or negative flag to subsequent authors considering using the same company.
So, how do we reflect the changing ups and downs with services?
We believe the PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX will help to guide authors to services on the up, and those, gradually on the down. If you like, what we are proposing is effectively, a kind of stock exchange for author solutions services.
The PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX was first launched in June 2010.

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