The Truth about PublishAmerica

Book Publishing Company

Some Books


The Pledge

The Straight Dope

Mainstream Press

Other People's Pages


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.  What does "POD" mean?

A.  In the most commonly used context, POD indicates "Print on Demand."  PublishAmerica, obviously, is a Print-on-Demand (POD) publisher.

Q. What is the difference between "Print on Demand" and "Publish on Demand"?
A. There is no difference.  The two terms are completely equivalent.

Q. Is it true that standard royalties are paid on the list or cover price of a book?
A. Yes.

Q. Does PublishAmerica pay royalties on the list or cover price of a book?
A. No.  PublishAmerica pays royalties on the "net" price of a book.

Q. Is it true that PublishAmerica only pays a one-dollar advance?
A. In the majority of cases, yes.  While PublishAmerica claims to pay advances up to one thousand dollars, no one seems to know who that lucky person might have been. (Given, though, that PublishAmerica's founder, Willem Meiners, has published two books through his own company there's a very strong suspiscion as to who might have gotten those thousand-dollar advances.)

Q. Does PublishAmerica publish every manuscript that's submitted?
A. No.  After they reach  each day's quota they apparently stop accepting manuscripts.  Other authors, especially those who seek legal advice,  refuse to sign the contract.  When PublishAmerica misses its deadlines and fails to publish within the contracted period, those books aren't published either.

Q. On average, how many copies of each of their titles does PublishAmerica sell?
A. About seventy-five copies.

Q. Who does PublishAmerica sell most of the copies to?
A. The authors themselves.

Q.  What is the average price of a trade paperback book in America?
A. $14.95.

Q.  What is the average price of a  trade paperback book from PublishAmerica?
A. $19.95.

Q. When bookstores order directly from PublishAmerica, are the books reliably shipped in a timely manner?
A. No.

Q. When bookstores order PublishAmerica books through their normal distributors, do they get the same discount they get from other publishers?
A. No.  PublishAmerica's discount is worse.

Q. What are PublishAmerica's discounts to booksellers?
A. When ordered directly from PublishAmerica, for cash up front, booksellers get a 40% discount.  These books aren't returnable.  When ordered from Ingram's, booksellers get a 20% discount.  Those books aren't returnable either.   A few books are available from Ingram's on a returnable basis.  Those books only have a 5% discount.  Some reports are that PublishAmerica also asks for a 50% re-stocking fee when books are returned.

Q. Why are discounts important?
A. The difference between wholesale and retail is where bookstores  make their money.  They have to pay the rent, pay employees, pay the electric bill, and want to make a profit.  With a 5% discount, even if the book sells the bookstore will lose money on the deal.

Q. What kind of discounts do bookstores expect?
Terms of Sale

"Publishers determine the suggested retail list price and wholesale discount of each book submitted to LSI. The publisher may change the list price and/or wholesale discount by notifying LSI at least 45 days in advance of the effective change, and the change will be updated in the LSI system on the first day of LSI's fiscal accounting month. The publisher determines the wholesale price at which it sells the book to LSI. LSI pays the publisher the wholesale price less the cost of printing for each book printed. A standard trade discount of 55%, with a 'returnable' status allows for the widest availability through our wholesalers and retailers. While LSI accepts short discounts as low as 20% off of list price, setting a short discount significantly limits the the distribution of a title in the retail market. Some major chain retailers and wholesalers will not order a short discount book."

Q. What's "LSI"?
A. That's Lightning Source International, one of PublishAmerica's printers.

Q. Is it normal for bookstores to return books that don't sell?
A. Yes.

Q. Can  PublishAmerica books be  returned by bookstores if they don't sell?
A. A few PublishAmerica books are returnable.

Q. That's good for those books, isn't it?
A. Not with a short discount.  Bookstores still won't touch them.

Q. Has PublishAmerica managed to get any of its books stocked nationally by any bookstore chain?
A. No.

Q. Are PublishAmerica books normally found on the shelves of brick-and-mortar bookstores?
A. No.

Q. Why not?
A.High cover prices, short discounts, poor production values,  lack of returnability,  lack of selectivity, poor editing, and the publisher's bad reputation all work against bookstore shelving.

Q.  Have any PublishAmerica books ever been found on the shelves of any brick-and-mortar bookstore?
A. Some authors have managed to get some books on the shelves of some local bookstores, by appealing to the managers in person.

Q. Why does it matter whether books are shelved in real bookstores?
A. Because bookstores are the single best places to sell books.  Most of the books meant for retail sale (this excludes textbooks, refererence books, and other works not meant for consumer purchase) are sold in bookstores.  Only a small percentage of commercial books are sold on-line.

Q. What is the minimum level of promotion/marketing that commercial trade publishers provide to all of their books?
A. The book is listed in the publisher's catalog that is sent to bookstores and libraries in advance of publication; the book is presented to bookstore/library buyers by the publisher's sales force in advance of publication; review copies are sent to major review venues in advance of publication; the publisher puts ads in trade magazines.

Q. How many of those things does PublishAmerica provide for its books?
A. None of them.

Q. Has any PublishAmerica book ever been on any recognized  bestseller list (e.g., New York Times, USA Today, etc.)?
A. No.

Q. Does PublishAmerica claim that one or more of their books has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize?
A. Yes.

Q. Has any PublishAmerica book ever been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize?
A. No.

Q. Did PublishAmerica claim that Robert Bly, the award-winning poet, had sold a book to them?
A. Yes.

Q. Had Robert Bly, the award-winning poet, actually sold a book to them?
A. No.

Q. Does PublishAmerica directly solicit writers to submit manuscripts?
A. Yes.

Q. Does PublishAmerica admit that they directly solicit writers to submit manuscripts?
A. No.

Q. Is it true that PublishAmerica has never missed a deadline?
A. No.

Q. What does PublishAmerica mean by "We want your book, not your money"?
A. "We want your money."

Q. Has any PublishAmerica author taken PublishAmerica to court?
A. No.

Q. Why not?
A. The PublishAmerica contract specifies that all disputes must be settled through arbitration.

Q. Okay, has any PublishAmerica author taken PublishAmerica to arbitration?
A. Yes.

Q. What happened?
A. PublishAmerica lost.

Q. What are PublishIcelandica and PublishBritannica?
A. "Daughter companies" of PublishAmerica.

Q. Is there any evidence that either PublishIcelandica or PublishBritannica have any separate existence?
A. No.

Q. Where does PublishBritannica claim to be headquartered?
A. "The company is headquartered in Milton Keynes, midway between Birmingham and London."

Q. Where is PublishBritannica actually headquartered?
A. In Frederick, Maryland, USA.

Q. How are royalties paid to PublishBritannica authors?
A. In checks written in US dollars drawn on an American bank.

Q. How can British authors cash those checks?
A. With great difficulty.

Q.  How did the Encyclopedia Britannica people feel about PublishBritannica?
A. They sued PublishAmerica for trademark infringement.

Q. How did that turn out?
A. PublishAmerica lost.

Q. What happened then?
A. PublishBritannica's name was changed to PublishAtlantica.

Q. Is that the first or only trademark that PublishAmerica has violated?
A. No.

Q. Is it possible that the only reason PublishAmerica created PublishIcelandica and PublishBritannica was to allow Willem Meiners to visit Europe and write it off on his taxes as a business expense?
A. It's possible.

Q.  Wouldn't that be tax fraud?
A. It would.

Q. Would this be the first or only time that Willem Meiners has been accused of fraud?
A. No.

Q. Does PublishAmerica use false and misleading advertising on their webpage and in other communications to induce writers to sign their contracts?
A. Yes.

Q. Isn't  false and misleading advertising illegal?
A. It is.

Q. Does PublishAmerica actually pay all the royalties due to their writers?
A. No.

Q. Isn't that fraud?
A. Perhaps.  It may be theft.

Q. Does PublishAmerica allow a writer's accountant to examine that writer's records?
A. No.

Q. Does PublishAmerica continue to print and offer for sale books for which they no longer have publishing rights?
A. They do.

Q. Doesn't that violate copyright?
A. It does.

Q. Do any major writers' organizations (e.g. Authors Guild) accept PublishAmerica books as qualifications for membership?
A. No.

Q. What are the RITA Awards?
A. The RITA Awards are presented annually by the Romance Writers of America to the best novels in romantic fiction. RITA Award entrants are judged by fellow romance writers for quality in writing and overall excellence.

Q. What does it take to become a RITA award-eligible publisher?
A. A RITA-eligible publisher is defined as a non-subsidy, non-vanity publisher that has released books on a regular basis via national distribution for a minimum of  one year and has sold a minimum of 1,500 hardcover/trade paperback copies or 5,000 copies of any other format of a single fiction book or a novella or collection of  novellas in book form.

Q. Is PublishAmerica a RITA award-eligible publisher?
A. No.

Q. What is Barnes & Noble's corporate policy toward PublishAmerica books?
A.  Not to stock them.

Q. Do  PublishAmerica books get catalogued by the Library of Congress?
A. No.

Q. Why doesn't the Library of Congress catalogue PublishAmerica books?
A. Because the Library of Congress doesn't catalogue vanity books.

Q. What effect does this have on PublishAmerica books?
A.  It makes it less likely that any library will buy or shelve them.

Q. Does PublishAmerica accept purchase orders from libraries?
A. No.

Q. If PublishAmerica's business model is so ground-breaking and certain to  prevail in the world of publishing, why hasn't anyone else followed suit?

A. Because it's neither ground-breaking nor certain to prevail.

Q. What is PublishAmerica's business model, anyway?
A. Selling cheaply-produced, overpriced, poorly edited books directly to their authors and the authors' families and friends.

Q. What's so ground-breaking and innovative about that?
A. Nothing.

Q. Why are folks upset with PublishAmerican and not with the other vanity presses?
A. The other vanity presses don't use false advertising to mislead authors into thinking that they're real publishers.

Q. Of the three original partners of PublishAmerica, how many are failed authors?
A. Three.

Q. Is it true that Willem Meiners ran another vanity press before he founded PublishAmerica?
A.  Yes. It was called "Erica House," which later changed its name to "AmErica House."  Many PublishAmerica books are still listed as being published by "AmErica House."

Q. Was Willem Meiners involved with another literary fraud while he was running Erica House?
A. Yes.  He referred authors to Edit Ink.

Q. What are Larry Clopper's qualifications for running a publishing house?
A. None.

Q. Why isn't Miranda Prather in jail?
A. She copped a plea.

Take a poll

PublishAmerica Jokes

Q. What's the difference between a PublishAmerica "booster" and a PublishAmerica "basher"?
A. About six months.

Q. How is PublishAmerica like an electric fan?
A. If you stand behind it, it sucks.  If you get out in front, it blows.  If you stand beside it, it won't do a thing for you.  And if you get into it, it'll cut you to pieces.

Q. How do you recognize the PublishAmerica author at a wedding?
A. He's the one trying to sell you a book.

Q. What's the difference between a PublishAmerica royalty check and a large pizza?
A. A large pizza will feed a family of four.

Q. How many PublishAmerica partners does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. Three.  Two to hold down the author....

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