Xlibris is now owned by AuthorSolutions - the same company that owns AuthorHouse, iUniverse and Trafford. Xlibris allows you to choose the price you will charge for your book...but ONLY if you pay Xlibris $249!!
Dog Ear: YES
Dog Ear: $4.28
Dog Ear: $7.71
Dog Ear: $1,527
How does Xlibris compare to Dog Ear Publishing?
Xlibris is in the Author Solutions, Inc. family of companies -- in other words AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, etc.
The over arching question that every author should ask is this: "Are all self-publishing companies the same?"
Self-publishing companies, including Xlibris, all use almost the exact same technologies to print books, and in most cases the similarities end there. Every self-publishing company offers a different approach to publishing a book, and has their own 'flavor’. To see what we believe is important in choosing a company to self-publish your book, click here.
On to our coverage and discussion of Xlibris.
We'll be using a very common book spec for titles produced in the trade category by all self publishing companies. Information and self publishing costs are retrieved from the Xlibris web site and contract.
- 6X9 trim size, 150 pages, one color interior, 4 color cover, 5 interior images
- Paperback or hardcover
- ISBN and bar code included, Library of Congress Control number
- Custom cover and interior - not just choices from existing templates
- PDF or laser proofs delivered to author,
- Available through the Google Booksearch Program
- Available as a Google Editions eBook.
- Available at Amazon and most major online retailers
- Available through major distributors like Ingram and Baker and Taylor
- Available for order at over 25,000 retail bookstores.
- Available through the Espresso Book Machine
- Author wanting to purchase 100 additional paperback units
(Our total cost for this package and options is $1,527, our per unit book printing price is $4.28, and you get 5 free author copies of your book.)
Xlibris has modified their site quite a bit - so we've updated our comparison by deleting older information.
They are the smallest of the 'big 3' self publishing companies, though they are now under the Author Solutions, Inc. umbrella of companies (aka – AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, etc.). Xlibris offers self publishing packages that have an incredible range - from $499 to $15,249 (!).
Their $499 Advantage package now provides for an ISBN and distribution. It does not include custom design of your book's interior or cover, instead requiring you to select from a handful of templates.
Options of course increase as you spend more money ($699, $1,249, $1,849, $3,549, $7,349 and a whopping $15,249). We'll use the $499 package as the basis of our following comparison. Be aware though, the $499 package does not provide custom work. Their package only offers a choice of 3 cover templates and only 2 interior templates. Also, this $499 Xlibris package does not include availability through the major wholesale distributors. You'll see below that they're actually charging extra for custom and extra for full distribution.
There's one last "extra" to note before you view the below breakdown... Xlibris has a fascinating profit calculator. Xlibris allows you to choose the price you will charge for your book...but ONLY if you pay Xlibris an additional $249!! Even then, the profit gets cut by a huge margin. We don't understand this approach, but without further ado, see the details below...
Standard Paperback Publishing - $499
Set-Your-Own-Price - $249 (to set your own retail price -- wow!)
Channel Availability and Distribution - $499 (so the major wholesale distributors will carry the book)
Add a cover image - $0
Custom Cover - $225
Custom Interior - it's $20 per page -so we won't even add this...
Library of Congress Control Number - $99
Proofs - $60 if you want hardcopy, digital proofs are free)
Printing Services - $13.99 / unit X 100 units = $1,399 (printing this book at Dog Ear is only $4.28 per unit)
Total Expenditure- Xlibris: $2,931($1,400 MORE EXPENSIVE THAN DOG EAR)
BOOK DESIGN and PRODUCTION
Dog Ear produces a unique design for both the cover and interior for every book. The design is custom (literally from the ground up) for each and every book - no 'templates' are ever used. Dog Ear provides a Design Sample using your manuscript and allows you complete freedom to revise what our team has built. No other publishing services company provides this service FREE OF CHARGE - only Dog Ear. Every one of our books are designed and built by professionals with long histories and lots of experience from the traditional publishing industry. Your book is being built the same staff that created books for Harper Collins, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Wiley, Penguin and many others of the world’s most successful publishers.
Author profit is a tremendous weakness of the Xlibris program - at Dog Ear Publishing author copies are over $8 LESS EXPENSIVE per unit, with that money staying in your pocket. At Xlibris, you have to pay them $249 to set your own retail price. At Dog Ear you have total control over your pricing, wholesale discount and profit without any additional expense.
Your author profit when selling to distribution partners (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc) is 10% royalty through Xlibris. Unless you pay to set your own retail, Xlibris will set it at $19.99. 10% of $19.99 would be the author profit -- $1.99. If you set retail for this spec book at $19.99 through Dog Ear and selected a 40% wholesale discount, profit issued to the Dog Ear author per sale would be $7.71 per copy! This is over $5 MORE with Dog Ear from each sale in profits for the author.
Imagine what these numbers do to your profit over the life of your book.
An interesting note: Why does Xlibris force authors to pay a fee to set a retail price? It doesn't cost them (Xlibris) any more on a per book basis (see their Set Your Own Price page and the Xlibris Book Calculator). You, the author, took the risk to publish. You should be in full control without paying unusual costs.
The Xlibris contract is very strong - apparently revised to reflect a more author-friendly position than the previous edition. We only see a single item or two that may give pause:
1) You DON'T OWN the output files until you've cancelled your contract. We believe that you hire a self-publishing firm as a contractor. We perform services for you and you have paid us. You should have full rights to everything we produce (you wouldn't let your plumber tell you you don't own the sink he installed, right?). That's NOT the case with many self-publishing companies, including Xlibris.
2) Another note of concern, again from the Xlibris contract, is who decides on what your book looks like.
Conclusion - If you don't intend to sell anything other than just a few copies of your book (and none through wholesale distribution) then Xlibris has the best plan available on the market. There are other competitors who offer options at the $199 level, but none that will give you the speed and flexibility that Xlibris offers. If your book is something that you think you may sell at least 100 copies, and you want it available in both Retail and Wholesale accounts, then make sure you take into account the items listed above.
Other Items to Watch For from Self-Publishing Companies
You've got to watch corrections. Remember that it costs money each time your publisher has to go back into your file and change something. That's standard for every self-publishing outfit around. But, you should be able to resubmit your manuscript to them just before it goes into "layout" or “pre-layout formatting”. Also make sure that you don't get charged for making corrections that were THE PUBLISHER'S FAULT in the first place (called Production Errors). This is unfortunately a common practice amongst less trustworthy self-publishing outfits.
Advertising Gimmicks or "Don't New York Times Ads Work?"Only targeted marketing sells books. Expensive ads work for Grisham and Clancy, but the rest of us have to think "Targeted". REVIEWS sell books, not ads - unless your last name happens to be Grisham or Clancy. Bookstores buy based upon marketing dollars thrown at them. Keep targeted! Work book signings and readings! Targeted Search Marketing sells books. Book signings sell books.