Thursday, May 18, 2006

iUniverse: Facelift and liposuction success.

In case you haven't checked out the iUniverse site lately (granted, I don't imagine most of you surf POD sites in your spare time), you should see it now. They just re-launched the website and it's all flashy and sexy and exactly 180 degrees from this other POD site. If you can judge the quality of a POD publisher by their website (you know, like judging a book by its cover?) then iU wins hands down.

Talk about new and improved. Even CEO Susan Driscoll has a blog now!

They have, however, increased the price of their packages lately. (Hey, someone's gotta pay for that new site, eh?) What may make the additional price worthwhile is iU's Star program, where they competitively price and market successful titles, along with accepting returns; it's a model that other PODs have yet to mimic. It's no more a guarantee than going the traditional publishing route, but at least it's something.

It seems to me that the marketshare of the POD world is being gobbled up primarily by two companies: iUniverse and Lulu--and both have different offerings and a different approach: iUniverse is costly but full-service; Lulu is cheap and DIY. In the past few months I've only had seven submissions from Authorhouse authors and zero from Xlibris. In the same time period, I've had 317 submissions from Lulu authors and about the same from iU authors.

What does all this mean? Who cares. Remember this simple tenet: If your book is good, go find an agent and a traditional publisher; if your book is good but finds itself niche-less, give POD a shot. Otherwise, use that delete button, baby.