Online self-publisher Author Solutions continued its buying spree today by acquiring rival Trafford Publishing, according to the Wall Street Journal. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Author Solutions buys a Canadian-based publisher that has published more than 15,000 authors from more than 120 countries.
The move — Trafford is a brick-and-mortar publisher — illustrates how online self-publishers are using the internet to form a niche in the traditional publishing world, and are starting to gain market share on their traditional rivals. Many traditional publishers are faced with heavy printing costs from the large number of books they have to distribute that never actually sell. Online self-publishing companies, on the other hand, can manage a much larger number of authors and only print books when they are sold through their online store or other web-based distribution points. As a result, they do more releases that are smaller in scale, creating greater potential for profitable runs.
Author Solutions bought rival online self-publisher Xlibris in January 2009; the purchase of Trafford raises the question of how a traditional publisher will be incorporated into a web-based company. Most likely, Trafford will continue to focus on a smaller stable of professional authors but use Author Solutions’ distribution technology to print books on-demand. Kevin Weiss, chief executive of Author Solutions, says the company will earn about $100 million in revenue in 2009.