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The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 48 Major Self-Publishing Companies--Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed Paperback – July 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Levine, Minnesota based author and CEO of Hillcrest Media Group, has been working with self-published authors since 2003.  The Fine Print of Self-Publishing is now in it's fifth edition, so if you're reading this, you may want to search for the 2014 version of this book on Amazon.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Bridgeway Books (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933538562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933538563
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,055,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gadgester HALL OF FAME on November 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this small book generally helpful in selecting a POD publisher. I say "generally" because the first few chapters on the general topics are interesting. While some readers may like the quartiling of the covered publishers, there are several serious problems with this part of the book:

1) At least one popular publisher, Wheatmark, is not covered;

2) Some publishers have changed their package pricing, e.g., iUniverse (much more expensive now!);

3) I fear (but can't be sure) that some publishers have also changed their publishing agreements for the worse (Levine does not provide updates via his website, which is mostly a promotional site for the book and his other services);

4) The coverage of the POD publishers is not uniform, with some publishers covered in more detail than the others. Also, Levine does not make it easy to compare two covered companies side-by-side. It would have been nicer, much nicer, if he provided a comparison table. As it stands, the review part ends up giving you an overdose of information and, at least in my case, makes the decision even harder.

I also think the book could have used a more professional editor. Because this is self-published through Bookspro (I believe, since the backcover says "Bridgeway books", which is one of the imprints of Bookspro), the quality of the book reflects this. At least this convinced me to stay away from Bookspro! To see what I mean, just lay this book next to a paperback from a traditional publisher. I wish Levine had picked a POD company that offered a better quality than this.

Overall, though, I think this is a must-have book for people interested in hiring a POD publisher. Like I said, the general stuff in the first few chapters are quite valuable. Mark, if you are reading this, please take my criticism as suggestions for improving future editions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a catalog of options, Mark Levine's book occupies a unique position in your library of self-publishing manuals. However, he leaves out one important option and he neglects some essential economics of self-publishing.

First--the important option: Becoming your own publisher via Lightning Source Inc., a subsidiary of Ingram.

What is LSI? They are a POD (and recently offset) printer. I emphasize they are only a printer, not a publisher. You have to become a publisher yourself to use them. This is not free.

Business License ............. $ 236

Ficticious Name Application ... $ 28

Ficticious Name Ad ........... $ 39

Bank Account ................. $ 100

ISBNs ........................ $ 270
(block of ten; need one for each title and format)

SAN .......................... $ 75
(You only need one.)

LCCNs ........................ $ 0
pcn.loc.gov (one per title regardless of format; best version when available)

Altogether, you'll spend about $750 getting ready to do business. Contrast that with, say, Outskirt Presses Diamond Plan of $999. So far it sounds like a bargain but there can be hidden costs. For example, interior formatting can cost you the price of Adobe Acrobat, and cover formatting can cost you the price of Adobe Photoshop. If you only have one book in you, going the Outskirts Press way may be more cost effective. If you plan to publish lots of books, the software expenses become mitigated.
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5 Comments 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Recently, I wrote an article entitled "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" which revealed the number of folks in the industry out to get over on unsuspecting authors. Though I didn't focus on print on demand (POD) companies, I probably should have, since there are a lot of them out to profit from what authors have worked hard to produce -- their manuscripts. Fortunately, I don't have to get back on my soapbox, because I can refer authors to THE FINE PRINT OF SELF-PUBLISHING: The Contracts & Services of 48 Major Self-Publishing Companies -- Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed.

Self-Published author and attorney Mark Levine has created a wonderful resource for those who are considering publishing their book through POD. I would suggest a writer do extensive research and consider establishing their own publishing company; however, if they are determined to go with a POD, I'd definitely recommend this book. Levine breaks down the pros and cons of many of the POD companies, as well as offers various tidbits on each, such as fees and issues with contracts and other terms affecting the writer's bottom line. This type of in-depth information can prove helpful in guiding you away from a publisher who is definitely NOT focused on the best interest of the author.

Levine even goes one step further and categorizes each of the 48 companies in one of four categories: Outstanding Self-Publishing Companies, Some Pretty Good Self-Publishing Companies, Publishers Who Are Just Okay, and PUBLISHERS TO AVOID. What makes the book even more valuable is the terminology. Levine has written it so anyone can easily understand the often confusing terminology found in legal contracts. Though there were a few editorial issues, it is my hope that THE FINE PRINT OF SELF-PUBLISHING will be updated annually (or more often) to provide revisions and additional information regarding the various POD companies.

Reviewed by Tee C. Royal

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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