Xlibris Publishing has been around for quite a while and is known as one of the most reputable self-publishing companies. However, does that mean that it is the best option for you? This article will provide a thorough Xlibris review for you, and hopefully, by the end, you will be able to make a decision about whether this company is right for you and your book.
What is Xlibris?
Xlibris is a self-publishing company founded to find writers more control of their hardback, paperback, and e-book publishing process. The print-on-demand company publishes manuscripts from different genres like fiction, non-fiction, children's books, memoirs, etc. As the author, you also decide the length, design, and format for the process.
Xlibris promises three main benefits for all authors looking to publish their manuscripts with the company;
- To publish your book within your budget.
- To meet your publishing deadline.
- To produce a first-class high-quality book.
Where Is Xlibris Located?
Xlibris is an American company with its headquarters in Bloomington, Indiana. The printing and distribution company was founded in 1997 and named after a Latin term, ex libris, which translates into from the library of.
In 2009, the company was acquired by Author Solutions Inc, and it announced several expansions to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australian markets.
Is Xlibris A Legitimate Publishing Company?
Xlibris is a legitimate publishing company with a real address and legitimate registration in Indiana, USA. However, while they are not likely to run off with your money, they offer services at a considerably high price, and these are tasks you can accomplish for free on a platform like Amazon.
In addition to the expensive publishing costs, many authors have complained about not receiving royalties from books sold by distributors associated with Xlibris. Thus, you would need to be cautious if publishing your work with the company.
That said, you can use Xlibris when you want services such as cover design, copywriting, formatting, electronic fulfillment, and tax management done for you. You can also outsource marketing services from the company, albeit at a high cost.
What Type Of Publishing Is Xlibris?
Xlibris is a self-publishing company that follows the print-on-demand publishing model. You can seek printing services for hardback, paperback,leather-bound, and e-book projects. This company offers various printing options categorized into different packages. These include:
- Black and white publishing
- Full-color publishing
- Specialty publishing
In addition to these publishing options, Xlibris also offers editorial, marketing, and other add-on services. Some editorial services include copy editing, indexing for easier navigation, and advanced services such as content, plot, and pace adjustments.
Xlibris also offers marketing services such as book reviews, cinema advertising, audiobook services, radio and TV advertising, print advertising, online advertising, and more. Finally, their add-on services include cover designs, interior color illustrations, format adjustments, interior page layouts, and edge bundles.
Xlibris Publishing Packages
Now that you've seen the various types of publishing and marketing services to expect from Xlibris, it is also essential to understand their packages to make an informed choice. They categorize their primary services into three packages; Black and White Publishing, Full-Color publishing, and Specialty publishing.
Each of these categories is further broken down into more plans you can choose from. For example, the Black and White publishing package has six offerings, as shown below;
The package has six plans for different publishing services;
- The $999 Basic plan is the cheapest of this publishing package. You can expect to transform your manuscript into a book with the plan, but you also get a few more benefits here. Apart from choosing between eight quality book cover templates, five interior templates, up to 25 corrections, and book formats, you will also get your book listed on popular sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
- The $1699 Professional plan. Apart from the services offered in the Basic plan, the Professional plan also provides more paperback copies, US Copyright and Liberty of Congress registration, hardback copy option, professional interior and cover templates, and other design options.
- The $2399 Custom plan. The third plan offers all Basic and Professional plan services, more cover images, more paperback copies, five hardback copies, and a marketing website service.
- The $4499 Premium plan. On top of the Custom plan services, the Premium plan has more marketing features, including a starter website service, Xlibris Bookshop access, more hardcopies, advanced editing, citations and footnotes, among other marketplace-friendly features.
- The $8999 Executive plan. When you want even better features, you can pay for the Executive plan that includes the Basic, Professional, Custom, and Premium services. On top of those, this plan also has a leather-bound edition, extensive promotional tools, more hard copies of your book, additional marketing features such as a regular website design, and more customization options.
- The $16999 Platinum plan. The most expensive plan will avail all services in previous plans, plus a book video and voice-over service, two leather-bound editions, 24/7 support, Full-page book marketing, extensive Google and social media marketing, and a 100% Royalty program, among other features.
Besides the Black and White publishing package, the Xlibris Full-Color publishing package also comes with six plans ranging from $999 to $16999, while the Specialty Publishing package comes with even more plans and features. You can read more about the packages here.
While it can be an excellent step to have a professional company handle most publishing steps on your behalf, it is vital to note that most Xlibris packages are pretty expensive. It may not be the best option for you if you lack the money to spare and when you have the time to fulfill the steps by yourself.
However, if left no choice, Xlibris offers custom payment plans that you can pay slowly until your book is fully published and ready to sell.
When you publish your books with Xlibris, they offer you the option to market the book through their website. The Bookstore section features different books with prices, so you might also purchase one to see how the process works. The Bookstore shows New Releases, Featured Books, Trending Books, and Palibrio Books.
When looking for a book, there is a Search button where you can input the author's name. Alternatively, you can open any of the New Release, Trending, Featured, or Palibrio books sections to access an Advanced Search button.
The Advanced Search Button offers different search mechanisms, including by Author, Title, ISBN/SKU, Genre, Print type, Format, etc.
Xlibris Author Copies
Most Xlibris packages have free author copies once publishing is done. The Black and White Publishing package has the following author copies;
- 5 paperback copies with the Basic plan
- 10 paperback copies and one hardback copy with the Professional plan
- 15 paperback and 5 hardback copies with the Custom plan
- 10 paperback and 10 hardback copies with the Premium plan
- 60 paperback copies, 20 hardback copies, and 1 leather-bound copy with the Executive plan
- 120 paperback, 40 hardback, and 2 leather-bound copies with the Platinum plan
On the other hand, the Full-Color Publishing package comes with;
- 3 Paperback author copies with the Basic plan
- 5 paperback copies with the Professional plan
- 8 paperback copies with the Custom plan
- 15 paperback and 3 hardback copies with the Premium plan
- 35 paperback, 8 hardback, and 1 leather-bound author copy with the Executive plan
- 70 paperback, 15 hardback, and 2 leather-bound author copies with the Platinum plan
The Xlibris Royalties is one area where many authors start getting problems. Wondering why? Many new authors get the impression that they can quickly sell loads of books after publishing with Xlibris. While this may work for some, most authors complain of getting little to no money from Xlibris even when they can prove the publisher sold their books.
According to the Xlibris FAQ section, they do not pay royalties for;
- The sale of used copies of your book
- Sales of the work to yourself
- Copies given out for free
Besides these three instances, they promise to pay royalties for each book sold as follows;
- 10% royalty rates for all books sold through Xlibris distribution channels for all formats. The royalties are calculated from money received from each sale after deducting additional tax, shipping, or handling charges.
- 25% of the retail price of any book sold through the Xlibris Bookstore.
- 100% of the difference of a suggested retail price for books when someone buys an audio format. However, this does not include any discounts offered to the buyer.
If you would like to understand how much money is owed to you after each book sale, you can check the Report section from your Author Center. When you search your book title, the PDF report will indicate sale prices and royalties owed to you by Xlibris.
Xlibris sends royalties quarterly, that is;
- During the first quarter, the sales period between 1st January to 31st March.
- During the second quarter, the sales period between 1st April to 30th June.
- During the third quarter, the sales period between 1st July to 30th September.
- During the last quarter, the sales period between 1st October to 31st December.
However, while the payments are made for each quarter, there will be some delays between the end of each quarter and when you can receive your royalties. According to the publisher, the wait is caused by delayed distributor reports that can take upto six weeks after a quarter closes. In addition to this delay, Xlibris will also take some more time to audit the reports so they can eventually release your payment.
However, while there will be delays with payment, you can still see how your books are selling from Author Center. This page will show you how many books you've sold, but only through the Xlibris Bookstore. You will not tell how many books you've sold through a distributor, and this is information that will be sent to Xlibris quarterly.
When royalties are so clearly spelled out, are you wondering why many authors online complain they did not receive any money from books sold? Some authors have explained instances where they receive feedback from happy readers, or others found their books on sale as Used from other booksellers. Yet, Xlibris did not send any money from the sale.
According to Xlibris, there are instances where third-party sellers or retailers employ a marketing and inventory policy called Virtual Stock. They can indicate they have copies of your book even before it hits the market, just after publishing. It is unlikely they have the book, so Xlibris will not have sold the book to them. As a result, no royalties are applicable if that's the case.
On the other hand, you will not see how many books have been sold by other distributors from your Xlibris Author Center. This instance is when many authors indicate their book is selling, yet they do not receive any money from Xlibris.
Unfortunately, many Xlibris-published authors complain they've gone many years without receiving a single payment from Xlibris, yet they can see how many distributors are actively selling their books. With this in mind, it is best to investigate other distributors such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as feedback from readers to estimate how much you should receive in royalties.
Xlibris Class Action Suit
As a result of failing to pay owed royalties to many authors, Xlibris has been subject to several class-action suits against them. One of the most significant lawsuits affecting Xlibris was directed to its parent company, Author's Inc, and was filed in May 2013 but was later dismissed in 2015. In the lawsuit, the publishers were accused of, among other crimes, unjust enrichment and breach of contracts.
While the 2013 playsuit by Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP was dismissed, Xlibris has also attracted possible class-action suits where disgruntled authors continue to come together to compile evidence of the breach of contract and potential scamming by the company. You can read more about these authors' experiences and class-action suit possibilities here.
Are There Any Famous Books Published By Xlibris?
While it may appear tricky to establish the legality and professionalism of Xlibris, the publisher seems to have gained the trust of a few notable writers, including New York Times Bestseller Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob. Piers Anthony is believed to have published a book titled Volk with Xlibris in 1996.
Besides Piers Anthony, Xlibris also notes collaborations with notable authors whose books performed well to attract movie adaptation possibilities. The authors and their books include;
- Pete Liebengood's Accidental Droning
- Chelsea Ashe's Happy Hour Stories