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Publishing News: Traditional publisher tests self-publishing waters

Simon & Schuster launches Archway Publishing, BitTorrent wants to reinvent itself, and publishers can't win playing against Amazon's wallet.

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.

Simon & Schuster ventures into self-publishing

The headline news this week was Simon & Schuster’s deal with self-publishing company Author Solutions to launch Archway Publishing, a new self-publishing house. Leslie Kaufman reports at the New York Times that the company is looking to distinguish itself by offering premium services that go beyond what other self-publishing options offer — such as access to a speaker’s bureau that will assist with speaking engagements, and video production and distribution services for book trailers — in addition to editorial, design and distribution services.

The premium services come at a premium price as well — Kaufman reports that packages range “from $1,599 for the least expensive children’s package, to $24,999 for the most expensive business book package.” She also points out that Simon & Schuster personnel will not be involved in the new company, nor will Simon & Schuster attach their name to any of the final products. They will, however, mine the self-publishing author pool for talent. Kaufmann writes: “Adam Rothberg, vice president of corporate communication for Simon & Schuster, said that another attraction of Archway was that Simon & Schuster would be carefully monitoring sales of books completed through the new venture and would use it as a way to spot authors it might want to sign to a contract.”

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