Book Path

$116 Million – Penguin Parent Pearson Purchases Author Solutions, Inc.

July 19, 2012 – Lakshmi Desai-Caan

Bloomington, IN – Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has been bought by Pearson for $116 million in cash from Bertram Capital.

Pearson, headquartered in London, UK and part of Pearson PLC, is the world’s leading publisher of education materials.  Operating in more than 70 countries, it owns several imprints including Financial Times Press, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, and Penguin Books. Approximately 60% of its sales come from sales in North America.

ASI, with 190,000 print or e-books by 150,000 authors, is the world’s leading provider of professional self-publishing services.  Its revenue is equally generated mainly by services – publishing, marketing and distributing – for self-publishing authors.  Through its different imprints, it offers various priced self-publishing packages that include everything from professional editing, graphic design, formatting, marketing, publicity, and distribution in print and digital formats.

ASI imprints include AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris. It also provides "white label" self-publishing services to leading trade publishers, like Thomas Nelson and Hay House.  ASI offers self-publishing imprints in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Wordplay is ASI’s free self-publishing imprint.  Company executives liken its operation to Lulu, another online free and fee self-publishing e-book and POD book house.

ASI, now part of Penguin Books, will operate separately but will be integrated into Penguin's back office and technology infrastructure.  Penguin, as an imprint of Pearson, has an international presence.  ASI has expertise in online marketing, customer-user-generated content, and data analysis.

According to Bowker, the bibliographic information solutions company, 211,000 titles were self-published in 2011 in either print or e-book form.  That’s a 60% increase over 2010.

Increasingly talented authors, taking advantage of technology and direct access to an open marketplace, have chosen to forego traditional routes to being published in favor of self-publishing.  Bestselling authors, E.L.James, Amanda Hocking and John Locke are all self-published.  Penguin itself has acquired the rights to On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves and Bared to You by Bella Andre, which are two bestselling previously self-published titles.

"This acquisition will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future," said Penguin CEO John Makinson.