Before you publish a book, researching and comparing publishing service providers is key to making the right choice for you and your work. We’ll be the first to tell you that self-publishing is a brave new world deserving of your due diligence and careful consideration. The below comparison is here to help you differentiate publishing offers from AuthorHouse and Dog Ear Publishing. Below you’ll find details on publishing packages, book printing costs, publishing contracts/agreements and return on investment (ROI). All things considered, you may find that in many cases AuthorHouse may not be the best choice for you or your book. Let’s begin…
Dog Ear: YES
Dog Ear: $4.28/unit
Dog Ear: $5.61/sale
AuthorHouse, formerly known as 1stBooks, is a self-publishing company headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana. Parent company, Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI) is comprised of dozens of publishing service providers including AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford, Wordclay, Palibrio, among others. Although headquartered in Indiana, the majority of Author Solutions, Inc. full-time employees (~78%) are based in Cebu, Philippines and perform production, sales, marketing, and support services for authors.
Dog Ear Publishing (DEP), founded in 2004, is a self-publishing service provider specializing in editing, custom-built books, book printing, distribution and book marketing. Dog Ear Publishing is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. 100% of DEP full-time employees performing production, sales, marketing, and support services are based in the USA.
*Hardcover format available at added charge of $350. LCCN available at added charge of $75. Full package details available at the AuthorHouse website.
**Full package details available at the DEP website.
Put simply, publishing a book is an investment – in thought, time, passion … and money. Recouping your initial financial investment, your return on investment, is an important factor in assessing any offers presented by publishers vying for your book and your business. Below you will find a brief rundown.
Spoiler Alert: The AuthorHouse author needs to sell 550+ to achieve break-even while the Dog Ear author realizes the full return on investment after 187 books sold.
As described on the Authorhouse website, Authorhouse will propose a retail price to be set for a book through distribution and shall give “authors a royalty rate of10% through [AuthorHouse’s] distribution channels…” They go on to provide an example of a book priced at $15.99 (retail) yielding the author a royalty of $1.60 per book when sold in distribution. Assuming this book is a 150-page 6x9 paperback, AuthorHouse authors need to sell 550+ books to recover the cost of their initial investment. Here’s the math:
As described on the Dog Ear Publishing website, the author is in control of setting a book’s retail price and wholesale terms in distribution. The Dog Ear Publishing author yields 100% NET PROFIT from the sale of a book. 100% net profit is calculated like so:
Retail Price (RP) – Wholesale Discount (WD) – Print Price (PP) = Author Profit (100% NET)
For the purpose of comparison, we once again will assume a 150-page 6x9 paperback and a retail price of $15.99 to match the above referenced AuthorHouse example. If the Dog Ear Publishing author wishes to maximize profit per sale for books sold through distribution, the wholesale discount can be set as low as 20%. Using these terms, Dog Ear Publishing authors need to sell ~187 books to recover the cost of their initial investment. Here’s the math:
Authors planning a book launch, seeking book reviews, and/or engaging in any number of other book promotions will likely need at least 100 books on hand after publication. Understanding how much you, as the author, pay to order copies of your own book is yet another important factor in assessing publishing deals being offered by self-publishers.
Spoiler Alert: AuthorHouse charges a significant amount more than Dog Ear to print author copies. AuthorHouse authors pay $396 more to print 100 books (based on 150 page 6x9 paperback book)
Researching print cost for author copies is important, but it’s not easy. This is especially true in the case of AuthorHouse. You won't find author copy costs on the AuthorHouse website. You have to actually publish your book first, tell them your order quantity, and THEN you will know how much your own books will cost to purchase. Crazy, right? We think so, too. We’ve emailed and called to glean what we need to form the comparison herein.
Based on a 150 page 6x9 paperback book, author copies through AuthorHouse cost $7.82/book -- $782 for 100 copies.
Researching print cost through Dog Ear Publishing is quite easy, click here. But wait, there’s more! At the 100 unit quantity used for this example, we’ll provide an additional 10% discount. Based on a 150 page 6x9 paperback book, author copies through Dog Ear Publishing cost $3.86/book -- $386 for 100 copies.
Don’t worry, we are not going to delve too deeply into publishing jurisprudence. Scrutinizing and interpreting the level of legalize in a modern contract can be saved for another day and another article. Our focus here is to quickly assess the degree of “author-friendliness” seen in the AuthorHouse contract versus the Dog Ear Publishing contract. Here we go …
As you see above, items of concern run the board. Author rights, or lack thereof, to use the finished work (all electronic production files), is the most alarming. These files are, after all, the fundamental result of service fees paid to any publishing services provider.
Second to that are the omnibus licenses AuthorHouse asks the author grant them as the publisher with respect to use of intellectual property and timing to respond to changes in the agreement (e.g. cancellation), see above items #2-#5.
The third category of note for any researched author is terms for payback, meaning ROI, or if things don’t work out, AuthorHouse’s policy on refunds and other forms of remedy, see items #6-#8. If AuthorHouse’s 10% royalty for authors can kindly be described as inadequate, the AuthorHouse refund policy might best be described as execrable. Charging an author $150 to cancel prior to any file submission and/or work being done is just not right. And being on the hook for 50% the day you submit your raw manuscript, but before any work is rendered – that doesn’t seem right or just either.
The Dog Ear Publishing agreement can be found here. You’ll find that it’s short and to the point, approximately 2.5 pages. Within it we discuss authors’ rights to set retail/wholesale terms for their books, rights to electronic production files (no strings attached), 100% net profits from book sales, and our 100% refund policy (for unfinished work). We pride ourselves on the friendliness of our contract, matched only by the friendliness and professionalism of our people.
Thank you reading the publishing comparison presented above between AuthorHouse and Dog Ear Publishing. Feel free to contact us for more information as you continue your publishing research!