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Judging by Its ISBN Registrations, Author Solutions Continues to Decline

Bowker likes to claim that their ISBN book serial numbers (the ones that come with a free side of credit card fraud) can be used to count the number of indie titles published each year. This obviously isn’t true, but their annual report is good for one thing.

It’s a good way to track the decline and fall of Author Solutions, the vanity press that Penguin Scamdom House sold off in 2016. Given that all Author Solutions package deals include one, ISBN registrations is a good way to estimate its activity.

As I reported a couple years ago, Author Solutions has been in a decline since 2011. As indie authors rose, Author Solutions fell, until they were only registering half as many ISBNs in 2015 as they did in 2012.

And according to the Bowker report released last month, things have only gotten slightly better for Author Solutions in the past two years. Following a brief spike in ISBN registrations in 2016, Author Solutions' ISBN use fell in 2017 to within 5% or 6% of their figures for 2015.

Looking at the print and ebook charts, it’s clear that the resurgence was entirely in ebooks.  Author Solutions isn’t registering nearly as many ebook ISBNs as they did at their peak, but they did register more in 2017 than in 2015.

Author Solutions' print ISBN usage continues to decline, however. They only registered half as many in 2017 as they did in 2012.

While it is pleasing to watch a scammer’s decline and fall, I’m still meeting a lot of authors at book fairs who were fleeced by Author Solutions.

Clearly there’s a need for a more aggressive public awareness campaign.

Let me see what I can do about that.

P.S. Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I decided to start giving a damn again? This is me giving a damn.

image by Leeber via Flickr

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G.B. Miller November 28, 2018 um 6:58 am

Apparently ASI is adding something new to the repotoire: selling phone numbers.

In the bast four months or I receive at least two phone calls per month from vanity presses wanting to talk to me about one of the two books that I foolishly published with ASI back in the late 2000"s (strangely enough it was the one book that I asked them to take down, which they did).

Usually, the first question out of my mouth (clean as you will soon see) is how did you get my work number? My work number is the only contact number that ASI has left of mine.

They’re answers usually either, "We’re partnered with Amazon." (so what, Amazon doesn’t ask or require your phone number to publish); or "We saw you at a book fair" (no. last book fair attended was in 4th grade, 45 years ago).

I then finish up the phone call by saying that I think you purchased my # from ASI, which throws them for a loop because they actually have to deviate from script, and please put me on your do-not-call list.

Nate Hoffelder November 28, 2018 um 7:44 am

They’re also aggressively emailing all past contacts. Every so often I get a wave of 7 or 8 emails from them.

Will Entrekin November 28, 2018 um 9:33 am

I look forward to the coming reports that "self-publishing" has, for the first time in years, declined, based on this data point and Bowker’s credit card-leaking data breach thing. (It sounded like they’ve only been able to take fax payments for a month or more now?)

Nate Hoffelder November 28, 2018 um 9:57 am


Don’t give them ideas!

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