Penguin books moves into self-publishing

Pearson PLC, the parent company of Penguin books, announced last Thursday the purchase of self-publishing company Author Solutions Inc., paidContent reported.

The US$116 million deal indicates that traditional publishers are more aware of the potential and power of author-published books, largely due to the rise of e-books and tablet devices. A good example is EL James’ erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, which began as a self-published title and became the first bestseller on Amazon’s Kindle.
Penguin already offers self-publishing services through Book Country, which is also a platform where readers and writers of genre fiction share opinions. According to Penguin CEO John Makinson, self-publishing “has become more professional and added more value for writers and readers.” He added that “it 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.”
This acquisition will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future,” stated Makinson in a press release.

In response to a Publishers Weekly question as to whether there are any concerns about the acquisition of a self-publishing company damaging Penguin’s reputation for editorial selectivity, and he said, “there’s no concerns. Penguin is associated with editorial selection and standards, while Author Solutions is using different filters, they’re allowing more writers to find more readers. We will work to make sure our audiences know what they’re getting.” 

As Author Solutions CEO Kevin Weiss said the acquisition “means more opportunity for authors and more choice for readers.”
Both Weiss and Makinson emphasised that Author Solutions will continue its partnerships with other publishers.

“We separate all of our businesses with big fences from the other imprints and do not mix leads. We have security for our data and give assurance to our partners that they are segmented out from our other imprints. We do not share info with our paren,” Weiss said.

However, Deputy General Secretary of The Society of Authors, Kate Pool, claimed told the BBC that “ASI companies are very misleading to aspiring authors. They are not self-publishing, nor are they proper publishers, though the apparent endorsement of the Penguin/Pearson brand may lead some authors to think they are.”
“The acquisition by Penguin of Author Solutions is another way for a trade publisher to source and find product which it will hopefully edit and enhance and thereby find new readers,” explained agent and former editor Peter Strauss in the Guardian.
Since its founding in 2007 and based in Indiana, ASI has enabled 150,000 authors to publish more than 190,000 books in print and electronic formats. Last year the company generated revenues of approximately $100 million, growing at an average annual rate of 12 percent over the past three years. The company has approximately 1,600 employees, located primarily in Bloomington, Indiana and Cebu City, the Philippines. 

This entry was posted in Author Solutions, ebook, Pearson, Penguin, self-publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

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