Frankly, I’m surprised that so many self-publishers use a service like iUniverse. I’m an advocate of using a self-publisher that doesn’t call attention to the fact that it’s a self-publisher. Though many people familiar with self-publishing immediately know the difference between iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Lulu, and so on, there are many more people who do not know the difference – especially readers who are not also writers.
Your least savvy reader is going to know that a publishing entity called iUniverse is not your typical press. It has something to do with printing a book via a computer. Right off, it sounds less legitimate. The names AuthorHouse or Mill City Press do not have the same issue. But iUniverse is one of the best known self-publishing services, so it is one of the most widely used.
The cost of publishing with iUniverse isn’t much different than the other subsidy services that fall under the Author Solutions umbrella: AuthorHouse, iUniverse, and Xlibris being the top three Author Solutions’ services.
- At iUniverse the cheapest package is $599. The most expensive is $2099
- AuthorHouse: $598 – $1298
- Xlibris: $299 – $12,999 (not a typo)
Let’s set aside Xlibris’s most expensive package, which includes 250 copies of the book, postcards, bookmarks, and other promo materials. It’s likely out of most people’s price range. So what do you get for the cheaper package with iUniverse that you don’t get with the other services?
Xlibris’s cheapest package is very bare bones – a book cover that looks like a pre-made template, interior design template, and ISBN. Useful if you don’t want to do any work and don’t care what the book looks like. The better comparison is between the cheapest packages at AuthorHouse and iUniverse, which are priced identically.
With both AuthorHouse and iUniverse you get: One-on-one author support (even the terminology is the same on both sites), custom cover, ISBN, and online distribution – the basics. With AuthorHouse you get custom interior design. With iUniverse you get 5 free copies.