Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vanity Presses

I have been asked a lot about Vanity presses here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.A vanity press or vanity publisher is a book printer which, while claiming to be a publisher, charges writers a fee in return for publishing their books. Jonathan Clifford claims to have coined the term in 1959 [1]. In its very simplest terms, while a commercial publisher's intended market is the general public, a vanity publisher's intended market is the author him/herself. Many authorities consider an author mill to be a kind of vanity publisher. A vanity press is distinguished from a small press publisher in that the small press acts as its larger cousins do, performing the traditional roles of editorial selection, binding and review, and marketing at its own expense, rather than at the expense of the author.
The so-called "vanity" companies often refer to themselves as joint-venture or subsidy publishers, because the author "subsidizes" (or finances) the publication. A vanity press will generally agree to print and bind any author's work if the author is willing to pay for the service; these fees typically form a vanity press's profits.
Commercial publishers, on the other hand, derive their profit from sales of the book, and must therefore be cautious and deliberate in choosing to publish works that will sell, particularly as they must recoup their investment in the book (such as an advance payment and royalties to the author, editorial guidance, promotion, marketing, or advertising). To better help sell their books, commercial publishers may also be selective in order to cultivate a reputation for high-quality work, or to specialize in a particular genre. Because vanity presses are not selective, publication by a vanity press is typically not seen as conferring the same recognition or prestige as commercial publication. Vanity presses do offer more independence for the author than does the mainstream publishing industry; however, their fees are often higher than the fees normally charged for similar printing services, and sometimes restrictive contracts are required.

I will find other interesting viewpoints so watch this space.

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