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Watchdog Reports

From our Author Advice Centre’s Watchdog Desk

Watchdog: Review of Amazon vs. Apple Self-publishing Services

Everyone knows that Amazon sells more books than Apple, but it’s becoming obvious that Apple has moved past B&N into the number two position, and Apple is continuing to grow. According to iBooks Store Director Keith Moerer, addressing publishers at Digital Book World 2015, Apple’s ebook businesses is gaining 1 million new customers every week. That’s a lot of new readers. [...]
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Watchdog: Big Changes at Bookbaby

Everyone knows that the publishing industry is experiencing massive changes and at the center of that is ebook distribution. For a long time (as measured in the rapidly changing self-published market) Smashwords dominated ebook distribution. Soon enough though, the growth of the industry attracted competition. Some were reputable and some fell on the other side of the ethics coin. I’m not going to talk about the companies I can’t recommend, but that still leaves room to discuss more than a few players. Bookbaby is one of them.[...]
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Watchdog: Review of Nook’s New Author Services

ALLi’s Watchdog, Giacomo Giammatteo, assesses the value of Nook’s author services. How Does Nook’s Author Services Stack Up? A lot of authors were surprised when Nook sent out an email announcing a new POD and author services addition to their self-published offerings. At first glance it seemed like a welcome addition for authors and a [...]
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Watchdog: Ingram Spark vs CreateSpace for Self-publishing Print Books

ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo provides an invaluable detailed analysis of the two biggest print service providers for indie authors, Ingram (via its two different subsets, Lightning Source – for publishers of many books – and Ingram Spark – for individual self-publishers) and Amazon’s CreateSpace. I have done a few posts on printing for the self-published [...]
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Watchdog: Review of Bookbaby

As part of our regular monthly self-publishing Watchdog series, our official ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo turns the spotlight on Bookbaby and investigates what this well-known service provider’s recent changes mean to indie authors wishing to use its distribution services. We covered a lot of aggregators in the “Choosing a Self-Publishing Service” book, released earlier this year, [...]
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Watchdog: Is Kirkus Selling Dreams – or Do They Deliver?

ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo continues his examination of the Kirkus book reviews service. A lot of companies have jumped on the bandwagon and decided to ride the wave of independent publishing. And why not? It’s an easy way to make money. Indie authors, for the most part, are naive, and to make matters worse, they [...]
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Watchdog: Is A Kirkus Review Worth The Price?

ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo provides a balanced and objective appraisal of Kirkus, the paid review service used by some indie authors who hope it will add credibility to their self-published books – but does it also bring sales? While researching this post, I spoke to six authors on the phone and communicated with more than [...]
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Watchdog: Review of Lulu

ALLi is delighted to welcome Giacomo Giammatteo to its Watchdog team, which on behalf of our membership and for self-published authors everywhere keeps a close check on all services affecting indie authors. Below Jim introduces himself and defines the Watchdog function, before hitting the ground running with his first post evaluating Lulu and finding it [...]
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The Alliance of Independent Authors Watchdog Warning: New Self-Publishing Resource from Writers & Artists

Another once-venerable publishing brand, Writers & Artists, an imprint of the Bloomsbury group, is showing little regard for writers as they move into the self-publishing arena. We’ve written here before about trade publishers like Penguin and Simon & Schuster showing insufficient care for authors as they trade on their brand-names to sell over-priced and under-performing [...]
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ALLi Watchdog: Agent Assisted Self Publishing.

Agent-assisted SP takes many different forms. At one end of the scale, it means an agency encouraging one of their authors to upload their backlist, and showing them how, without taking any payment, content with the revenue boost this will give to the trade-published titles they represent. At the other are the many agents now [...]
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ALLi Watchdog Warning: Archway Publishing

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is concerned about the email approach being made by Archway Publishing to a number of our advisors and colleagues. Archway is a new joint venture between publisher Simon & Schuster and Author Solutions (AS) an umbrella company operating self-publishing package brands such as AuthorHouse, Xlibris, and iUniverse. Several [...]
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Smashwords Commended by ALLi’s Author Service Award 2014

In today’s Opinion slot, Giacomo Giammatteo of our Watchdog team, fresh from updating ALLi’s guide book Choosing A Self-Publishing Service, pays tribute to Smashwords, which has just been awarded ALLi’s Author Service Award 2014. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll come right out and say it – the publishing world is in an obvious state [...]
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Review: Penguin’s Author Solutions Still The Worst Self-Publishing Choice

It’s update time for our Choosing A Self-Publishing Service Guidebook. Our latest edition will be released next week on Amazon and all major retailers and will launch at Book Expo America. Orna Ross, Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors, sounds a warning note from the guide – and invites you to tell your story about your self-publishing service below. You [...]
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ALLi Welcomes Authors’ Legal Action

The Alliance of Independent Authors welcomes the news that three authors have filed suit against self-publishing service provider Author Solutions (ASI), and its parent company, Penguin Pearson. Law firm Giskan & Solotaroff, on April 26, has filed a class action complaint on behalf of writers Kelvin James, Jodi Foster, and Terry Hardy. The complaints listed in [...]
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Vantage Press Suspends Operations

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is concerned about reported happenings at Vantage Press, a US-based self-publishing service which also owns two small trade publishing imprints. The company has “suspended operations” leaving many authors out of pocket and with books undelivered. According to The Independent Publishing Magazine (TIPM) who broke the story, several authors began [...]
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Is Exploiting Self-Publishing Authors To Be The New Publishing Model?

Is the new business model for publishers to be selling over-priced and under-performing services to writers? That’s the question that needs to be asked as Simon & Schuster (S&S) links with Author Solutions (AS) to run their new self-publishing service, Archway. And same question to Penguin-Pearson, who kicked off this sorry trend with their purchase of [...]
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