Author Solutions (ASI) solves the problem of overbearing, pesky, or plain uninterested publishers. The company serves writers by offering several self-publishing websites in the US and the UK, as well as traditional publishing and support services. Its brands include AuthorHouse, Wordclay, Trafford, Xlibris, Palibro, Inkubook, and iUniverse. ASI offers publishing, marketing, distribution, sales, and editorial services, as well as a variety of resources to aspiring and established writers. All total, the company has published more than 120,000 titles from some 85,000 authors. ASI, which was founded in 1997. Private equity firm Bertram Capital Management is selling the company to British publishing firm Pearson.
Pearson is acquiring ASI for $116 million. It is doing so to gain a leading position in professtional self-publishing, a fast-growing segment of the publishing industry. Penguin will gain access to ASI's capabilities in online marketing, consumer analytics, professional services, and user-generated content. ASI will benefit from Penguin's design, editorial, and sales skills, as well as its global presence.
The company had been engaged in expansion efforts since it was purchased by Bertram Capital in 2007. ASI entered the movie business in 2011 through the formation of a film development fund. The fund has $1 million of seed money, which the company is using to acquire the film rights to titles by its authors. The previous year, it launched Palibrio, a new imprint for Spanish-speaking authors that covers all genres. Also in 2010 ASI introduced its AuthorHive offering to provide authors with a one-stop shop for book marketing, publicity, and promotion.
In addition to acquisitions and internal product launches, ASI also achieves growth through the formation of strategic partnerships with third-party publishing firms. In 2010 it partnered with Hay House to launch Balboa Press, a self-help self-publishing division. Terms of the deal have ASI managing Balboa Press on behalf of Hay House. This adds to an existing alliance with Christian publisher Thomas Nelson; the two firms operate Christian self-publishing imprint WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson. ASI also oversees Dellarte Press, the self-publishing division of Harlequin Enterprises.
Like the rest of the publishing world, ASI is focused on digital publishing efforts. In 2010 it signed an agreement with Amazon.com to distribute all new black-and-white AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, and Xlibris titles through its Amazon's Kindle e-reader. Also in 2010 it inked a deal with Scribd, a startup that operates a social reading and publishing website. As part of the deal, ASI books were made available for purchase through the Scribd website. The previous year it announced plans to convert every new title and tens of thousands from its backlist into digital formats.