Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Vanity press

A vanity press is a company that charges writers a fee in return for publishing their books. They are so called because part of the appeal is that the customer can then tell people they have published a book. These companies often call themselves "subsidy publishers".

Unlike conventional publishers, vanity presses pay no royalties and have no distribution apparatus. At best, the author pays a fee and receives a garage-full of books, which she or he is free to attempt to sell. In many cases, however, most of the copies the author pays for are not even bound, let alone distributed to bookstores.

Vanity presses earn their money, not from sales of books to readers like other publishers, but from sales of books to the authors. Writers who want to self-publish are better off working directly with a printer. In fact self-publishing expert and poet Peter Finch goes so far as to state in his book How to Publish Yourself that such presses are To be avoided at all costs.