Continued reasons why I dislike iUniverse.

Before e-books were the big thing, there was vanity publishing (“print on demand” or “self publishing”).  Basically, anyone with money could (and still can) publish a book.  I was one of those people.  I don’t regret the decision – I had my own reasons for not going via a traditional publisher (maybe I’ll get into them later).  However, I did make a bad choice on which of the vanity publishers I chose.  Before there was CreateSpace (Amazon’s venture), there were limited options: Lulu, Blurb and iUniverse.  I went with iUniverse (mostly because they did print on demand – and I didn’t want to be responsible for carrying around and distributing a bunch of books).  iUniverse had distribution rights with Amazon, which was also major factor in me choosing them.

To date, there have been a number of issues (which also may be worth a post).  As my sales are trending mostly towards e-books, I thought I was free of them – however, today I got an e-mail proving me terribly wrong:

Good day!

We are glad to inform you that your Book*, A Fine Line , has been successfully converted to a new eBook file format.  This new eBook version, called EPUB**, is quickly becoming the new standard for the eBook industry.  The new eBook file does not affect any previous eBook versions you may have for this book.  iUniverse has submitted the new eBook file to our partner eBook vendors to increase the overall distribution of your book***.  Your new eBook will appear on each vendor’s website after each company has had a chance to review and process the file****.  Please note we cannot guarantee your eBook will be accepted by every vendor. 

We will do our best to get your book included on as many sites as possible including future partnerships we are or will be working on.  If you are curious to know which eBook vendors are carrying your new eBook file, we encourage you to search online using an online search engine*****.  The results there will show you which vendors are currently carrying your title.

*Nice capitalization, guys.

**EPUB is in no way ‘new’ – for a company that should be leading on trends in the self-publishing industry, I’m actually sad they would use this in an e-mail to their customers.

***YOU NEVER ASKED ME – THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORK.  And here’s where I get angry.  Upon my own research, I chose to digitally list my books YEARS ago with vendors.  And now iUniverse is going to try and get in the game, confuse readers by adding my book to the list of titles?

****I’ll repeat again, there should always be a chance for an author to OPT into these sorts of endeavors (see, Smashwords, who do this better than anyone).

*****Seriously??  That has to be one of the worst sentences ever.  Also, duh!

I’ve written to them to ask they immediately take down my book from any 3rd party vendor and/or let me know how to opt out of this so called ‘service.’

We’ll see how it goes.

2 thoughts on “Continued reasons why I dislike iUniverse.

  1. I was attracted to this post because I recently signed with iUniverse, and I’m interested in hearing other people’s opinions of them. After reading this post, I’m a bit confused as to what your major problem with their email is. Obviously the fact that they didn’t ask your permission to do this is a big factor, but in regards to the “new” epub file format – are you saying that you had already submitted epub files to various sites, and now iUniverse is trying to do the exact same thing? I just don’t really understand why having your book submitted to more websites is a bad thing. Clearly I’m missing something here, lol. I’d love some clarification if you have the time 🙂

    1. Hi Michelle, and many thanks for commenting. This post was actually the last in a LONG line of frustrations I had with the company (dating back to 2007). Furthermore, if you haven’t already committed, why would you pay for this service when Createspace can print your manuscript for free? If you choose iUniverse you are using funds you could put towards marketing, etc. Amazon’s option is just as good and completely FREE.

      My biggest concern was that – without permission – they took my property and distributed it. I feel this is a huge violation. Surely, they could’ve come up with a solution that involved opting in. Additionally, they look a bit silly when it becomes clear they aren’t aware my books are available on digital resellers (and have been for years). The scenario I wanted to avoid was having multiple versions of my book available to potential buyers. You are completely correct – I had already submitted the files to various sites (years ago). I think it would look incredibly unprofessional to have this option, especially considering I’ve made changes to the books such that the iUniverse versions are out of date.

      Please let me know if you have additional questions, however, again, I cannot stress how much there are great sources out there right now so that you can avoid their services.

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