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So you write a book.  Technically, you write a manuscript and you are hoping someone will publish it as a book.  You pursue various avenues to try to get it into the hands of publishers because you know in your heart of hearts that you have just written the next great American novel (or British novel, or Christian novel, etc.).  You work blogs and forums and Twitter and Facebook and publishing companies’ websites and contacts and everything else you can think of.  Suddenly, you check your email and you see the following:

“On behalf of *****, thank you for giving us the privilege of seeing your work and considering it for publication. We’re very excited to be able to offer you the opportunity to co-publish your book through *****.”

Wow, you’ve made it, right?  Hold on, what do they mean by “co-publishing”?  Do they want to publish your book or don’t they?  Well, read the details and see what you think:

Option 1: “The premium plan requires that the author purchase a minimum of 2,000 copies.”  Yes, you have to agree to buy a minimum of 2,000 copies of your book up front at prices depending on the size etc.  For a 5.5 x 8.5 of a little over a hundred pages, these bargain prices for 2,000 copies started at over $6 for a paperback and over $8 for a hardback.  To put it in perspective, you can print the same paperback through createspace for no upfront money and generate a profit with a list price of around $5.  The “total” cost to the author of this offer ranged from $13,340 to $27,900 depending on the options chosen and the number of books purchased.

Option 2: “The standard plan requires that the author purchase a minimum of 1,000 copies.”  You only have to buy 1,000 copies, but the “discount” price for a hardback starts at almost $11 and almost $9 for a paperback (see what I said about createspace above).  Total costs to the author start as low as $8,820 for this one.

Option 3: “You will pay a one-time “pre-press fee” to get your book ready for printing, and you will then purchase digitally printed books in quantities as low as 100 copies.” You only have to purchase 100 copies, but that kind of defeats the whole concept of “Print On Demand”, doesn’t it?  The books cost about $5 each at this level and you “only” have to pay $5,631 (the extra $5k is for a “pre-press fee”

Option 4: “You will pay a one-time “pre-press fee” to get your book ready for printing, and you will then purchase digitally printed books in quantities as low as 25 copies.”  Same issues as above, but now you are paying over $8 per book.  You are “only” paying a pre-press fee of $2,850, so your costs are as low as $3,061.

Option 5: “E-book self-publishing” For “only” $1,966 you can get your manuscript published as an E-book on Kindle, Nook, & Sony.  Of course, with a minimal effort (a couple of hours) you can do that yourself.

What’s the bottom line?  In my opinion co-publishing is a scam that takes advantage of hopeful/wishful authors by charging them excessive amounts with the promise of getting their book published.  The authors pay (in many cases) more to get the book printed than they would pay to print it themselves or they pay an exorbitant amount to get it formatted as an e-Book.

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