What is a Vanity Publisher?

Vanity publishers–AKA vanity presses, vanity book printing, or subsidy publishers–are companies that offer commercial book printing services for authors who pay them to publish their books. This is very different than the “traditional” model of book publishing where the publishing company pays you for the right to print, distribute, and sell your books.

Vanity Book Printing’s Bad Reputation

Vanity book printing and self-publishing book printing are terms used interchangeably to represent any author who takes control of the publishing process to produce his/her own books.

Books printing at a vanity publisher

Vanity book printing has a negative connotation because it suggests that an author who uses such a service is vain and that if the author did not pay the book printing company it would never be accepted for publication or sold successfully by a traditional publisher. Vanity book printing also got a bad reputation because of a few unethical book printers who would overcharge the author for printing the book, take over the publishing rights to the work, and provide nothing in return. No editing services. No book cover design assistance. No marketing support. If the author wanted any of these services, he/she had to pay a premium for them on top of the book printing fees. All the author got in return was pallets of overpriced books sitting in the unfortunate author’s garage.

In a traditional book publishing arrangement, the publishing house takes on all of the risks—and thus the expense—of printing the book, and this makes it in their best interest to see that the author succeeds. As a result, these publishing houses provide editorial services, professional book cover designs, illustrators, book manuscript layout, distribution, and many other services in exchange for a large portion of the book’s earnings.

Vanity Book Printing vs. Self-Publishing Book Printing

Vanity book printing operates under a different business model than a self-publishing book printer. Where a vanity press earns most of its income by charging the author a mandatory premium for extra services such as editing, book cover design, and much more by overcharging the hopeful author who dreams of seeing his or her book on the NYT Best Seller list. A self-publishing book printer makes money primarily by printing a large number of copies of the author’s book. They provide these services at reasonable, competitive rates, and may offer additional services such as editing and book cover design as options if they are interested in using them. The focus on the self-publishing book printing model is empowering the author to make all of the decisions to make his/her book exactly as envisioned. From the book manuscript layout to the color of the lettering on the book cover, are all determined by the author with the self-publishing book printer as a partner in the process.

Self-Publishing Means You Assume All of the Risk

Even if you work with a reputable self-publishing book printer, it is important for you to understand that in this publishing approach you assume all of the risks. You are the one responsible for everything. You write the book, design the book cover (or hire someone to design it for you), you write the back-cover copy for the book, get the book reviewed by reputable book reviewers, distribute the book to sellers, handle all of the accounting for the book sales, etc.

If the thought of this level of control over the publication of your book excites you, then maybe self-publishing is right for you. If the thought of doing all of these things overwhelms or terrifies you, then maybe you should consider a traditional publishing contract.

InstantPublisher is Your Premier Self-Publishing Book Printing Services Provider

Whether you call us a vanity publisher or a self-publishing book printer, you get high-quality book printing at an affordable cost. We provide additional publishing services such as custom book cover design, typesetting, and book layout services at reasonable rates if you want them, or just do it yourself. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.

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