Author Solutions Buys Trafford Publishing

Consolidation continues in the self-publishing sector: the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Author Solutions (which already owns AuthorHouse, iUniverse, and Xlibris) has acquired Trafford Publishing. As with its January 2009 acquisition of Xlibris, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As with Xlibris and iUniverse prior to their acquisition, Trafford appears to suffer from relatively few consumer issues. Writer Beware has received no substantive complaints about Trafford over the past few years, and there’s not much complaint to be found on the Internet either. Not so for AuthorHouse–something that, post-acquisition, seems also to have become true for iUniverse. Which prompts the question: whither Xlibris and Trafford?

In blogging about the Xlibris acquistion, I wrote the following. It’s even more true now:

This new merger is not good news for authors in another sense: it reduces the field of choice. As choices decrease, so does the pressure to compete, and decreased competition does not benefit consumers. While Writer Beware doesn’t generally recommend the use of POD self-publishing services, except in certain specific circumstances (see our Print on Demand Self-Publishing Services page for a discussion), we feel that writers who do choose to self-publish are best-served by having the widest possible range of options, in a robustly competitive environment.

131 Comments

  1. Sorry to say that Trafford in its present incarnation doesn't come close to the service and quality of the company when it was in Canada. I've been trying to get a client's book republished and the runaround is ridiculous. They charge for services we don't want or need and are inflexible. Avoid these people. They are incompetent and charge way too much.

  2. My name is Suchetan Bajaj. I am looking for a publisher to publish my autobiography and I was thinking of using Trafford, but after reading your blog post, I am having double thoughts. Who can you suggest I use as a publisher?

  3. Just to let you all know – I'm still trying to get my royalties for over 900 books sold LAST YEAR. I have no idea how many have sold this year as the reports are never updated – also my royalties have dropped to such a small amount per book that its rediculous. I have discussions with tele sales people from Authorhouse / Trafford, who have english names, and very foreign accents, who give me the run around. This has been going on for over a year! They are, I'm afraid, a load of crooks.
    Anonymous in UK

  4. So far so good! Just over a month ago, I bought a package to publish my first book called 'Mind Control through Breath Regulation' using Yoga exercises from Trafford and have been very impressed with their service ever since.
    I am very pleased with the service I have received and am expecting to see a galley copy of my book very soon. It is a terrific reponse compared to a conventional publisher.
    Nguyen Tran
    3 June 2012

  5. i contacted Trafford a couple of months ago while searching for a publisher. I can honestly say that after reading this blog, i ver seriously doubt if I will use them. Now that I think aboutit, they are very pushy. They call me at least three times a week and I have already told them that I would cal them as soon as my transcript is done. And the sad thing is that my transcript has been done for over two months. Its just that their whole approach is as if they are desperate for authors to work with them. I WILL NOT deal with them. There smells like a rat in the kitchen and its name is Trafford. 🙂

  6. I just received phone calls from Trafford Publishing. I have never heard of them, and I have never given them my details. I don't know how they know I am looking to publish, when not even people close to me know. I think my details have been sold by a publishing company I sent my work to.

  7. To all those "Anonymous" supporters of Trafford, get off your high horse and out yourself already.

    My name is Robert R. Wilkinson of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I write under the name R. R. Wilkinson and J. Kek Maloy. I have not yet had the displeasure of dealing with Trafford, nor will I entertain any ideas of POD or publishers who seem legitimate yet want you to pay into their work.

    Publishers pay the author, not the other way around.

    'Nuf Sed.

  8. Cautionary tale: publishing with Trafford is opening the door to a whole other range of their scams as well.

    While I used to be quite satisfied with my self-publishing contract with Trafford from before they were purchased by Author Solutions, my opinion has changed completely since then. What I have discovered is that their so-called marketing experts are only there to siphon as much money from us aspiring writers as they can. They make you believe that by doing this extra effort – thus paying that little extra thousand dollars minimum – that you will have done everything you want to do for now and that you will surely reach your goal, but the truth is otherwise.

    In truth, there is never a 'last' action before they leave you alone; there are always this or that extra strategy available and that you should really try… or else you would pass up on 'the' opportunity of your life. Of course, they don't say it as blatantly as that, but the message is still the same.

    Worse, even if you tell them that you don't have anymore more money to invest in your book, or that you are not interested, they remain on the line and keep trying to lure you into a longer conversation where they can use their marketing strategies to hook you for another hundred or thousand dollar service… or opportunity.

    Well, I have learnt my lesson now and I only hope that by posting this, I can spare fellow aspiring writers the same mistake I naively made.

    By the way, IUniverse also belongs to Author Solution and they are the ones without scruples about using someone else's dreams for their own profit.

    Beware Author solution, Trafford Publishing, and any other not DIY-completely self-publishing outfit.

  9. simple solution to the problems my author friends. seeing as Pearsons group who owns Penguin Books who has bought Author Solutions who owns Trafford Publishing, just leave your complaints at the Penguin Books website. i did and am getting positive feedback. the more complaints left there the more we can help each other through our dreadful experiences with Trafford Publishing. Graeme

  10. I agree with all the above comments. I published two books through Trafford in Victoria, BC, and dealt through the Oxford office, and had no complaints. Since they moved to the USA I have received poor service, few royalties and they keep contacting me promoting expensive 'marketing deals' thst are aimed purely at the US market: my two books are very much written for British readers!

  11. I like many of the people who have left comments on this site, published a book through the Canadian publishing company, Trafford. I was very impressed with the way they did things and although I didn't sell many books, the royalty issue seemed to have been covered.
    Everything went well until the company was taken over. At first I wasn't aware that it had been, but when I wrote asking for my royalties they said that anything sold before the takeover would not be paid. So I like a fool persevered with them until in February 2012 I finally give in and asked for my contract with them to be cancelled. I told them that I wanted to republish the title with another company in the UK and asked for my files to be returned. They argued and argued about this and in the end they agreed to send them to be if I paid for them. I argued and argued, emailed, wrote to them and made such a nuisance of myself that in the end they just sent them to me.
    My new book has now been published by Matador of Leicester, England and although they are a self-publishing company I feel I could recommend them to any one.
    My republished MATADOR version of A PASSING STORM came out on 1st February 2013.

    Going back to Trafford,my books were always offered PRINT ON DEMAND, but I being a fool didn't check on amazon.com. or that despite the fact that POD books had to be ordered before they would be printed, Trafford were offering copies of it on both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

    After 1st February, 2013 I went into both Amazons: to my surprise I found that when I typed in the name of my book A PASSING STORM and my name, what do you think came up? Yes, you've guessed it, THE TRAFFORD VERSION the copyright of which they no longer had anything to do with: it was mine, not theirs and the book was now published by Matador.
    Trafford were offering POD COPIES OF MY BOOK for the staggering price of $24.50 odd on amazon.com AND £15.00 odd on amazon.co.uk. and, to make matters worse, my newly republished Matador version was relegated to a box under OTHER FORMATS at half the price, but unless you clicked on OTHER FORMATS you wouldn't have known that the legally published book was even in existence. How can this be right?
    I tackled Trafford Customer Support over this and they said there was nothing they could do.
    Where did these copies from? Did Trafford copy my files before they returned them to be republished and if so, who receives any royalties due? Certainly not me.. I'm not saying that I've sold many, because I haven't,(not many people would buy it at that price), but it is the principle of the thing which ignites my anger.
    The last email I had from them this week, said that according to their Book Department one copy still existed and it would have to stay on the amazon.co.uk site until it was sold and in a PRIME position with the proper edition hidden.

    I have just bought that copy. But the fact that 'there is still one more copy left' is still on there and my MATADOR published book at half the price, is still relegated to OTHER FORMATS.
    IF ANYONE FROM TRAFFORD reads this I hope you feel ashamed of yourself.
    I'm afraid I give them no stars at all and would not recommend them to anyone.

  12. Can anyone pls inform me that once paying the Trafford Publishing, US for their publishing package, how much money do i get back as per the sales? Is there any % return on sales of the book or certain amount is pre decided from them and they pay back?

    If you do not have the complete details of the above questions, pls just inform this much that do i get to earn something if i get my book published with them…?
    Thank You…!

  13. Mayank,

    Trafford, like other self-publishing services, pays a "royalty" on each book sale. Your publishing agreement should tell you the exact amount.

    Whether your book will sell is a different question. Self-publishers face substantial challenges with distribution, marketing, and discoverability.

  14. I have been reasonably satisfied with Trafford since 2008. My fifth book will be out in a few days.

    A lingering problem is shipping handling charges for free books in my contract. Complimentary copy comes free without any S & H charges. But for getting the five free copies, under my contract, they insist on charging S&H, while the contract language is identical for Complimentary and free books.
    It is really a sticky thing. I have spoken with so many reps, and they all ignore the issue, rather than resolving it once for all in a professional manner.
    Any help will be appreciated.

  15. WARNING!!! DO NOT USE TRAFFORD!!!
    I published " La leyenda del Gato Voltaire in 2008 and I never received any penny, not one cent. From the beginning it's been impossible for me to acess my sales/ royalties for the past 8 years. How do you call that? Defrauded? Scams???I'm a latin author and I have been descriminated??? For everywhere everybody is complaining abaout such conduct.

    Maria José de Lima-Neto ( Maria Moura-Botto)
    in " La Leyenda del Gato Voltaire".

  16. Hi fellow authors:

    It's heartbreaking really to hear so many grouses about Trafford Publishing. Being a new author, I just got my poetry book "Chronicles of Life in Poetry" published within 4 months. Got my consignment sent & am now doing my own marketing. Got great news about my book lately too and keeping my fingers crossed, based on my phone conversation with Charisse. Another great person out there too, especially Kelly Smith who had helped me secure good bargains. Both are Filipinos. At least they were very honest with me throughout our phone conversations.
    Generally, I'm happy with the services rendered by my book consultant, Kelly – very professional. Trafford just needs to be more mindful of its clients – AUTHORS are gifted. Give them back what is rightfully theirs and business will be back to normal. Am with you because of your God-sent Kelly Smith.
    TQ.

  17. I registered to a website to get guidelines on how i can publish my books worldwide and in a few days i got a call from Trafford who explain to me how to self=publish them then offered me an Imperial package so i took it and paid for it with a discount of course then after a day i got a call from their check-in coordinator as expected and obtain the materials from me, it has been 3 months now since they got my book and one more month to wait it will be published worldwide, I have 3 books, 2 of them were published locally and the other one was submitted to Trafford for international publication. Every time i have a question which i email it to my publishing consultant is answered almost immediately. if i am happy with the book i submitted to them then i will surely republished my other 2 books and so far it is doing just great. i cannot wait to get the printed copy of my book though. Cheers!

  18. My experience was not so good. My draft was not edited. I believe my book would have been successful if Trafford did their job. They took my money. They have the nerve to keep contacting me.W

  19. Trafford Publishing took advantage of me they are still doing it. In Oct/2010 I published A Desperate Journey by D.H.Clark with them in Nov.2012, I cancelled with Trafford and throughout my experience I had received approximately $40. in Royalties. But in April 9 to May 3according to Neilson there was 53,000 of my books sold by Trafford. I have recently revamped A Desperate Journey by D.H.Clark with Createspace and would you believe Trafford is still selling my book. They have balls of steel and do not care about anyone but themselves.
    Jacqueline Greeno

  20. desperate author–

    If you don't mind my asking, how did you get those figures from Neilsen?

    On Amazon, the Trafford edition of your book is still listed, but it's not available for sale new–only through Marketplace sellers (who don't typically have the books they list in stock, no matter what their listings may make it seem like). Once Amazon lists a book in a particular edition, it never removes that listing, even if the publisher is no longer publishing or selling the book.

    I also searched the Trafford website, and your book is not listed there, so it does look to me as if Trafford has taken it out of circulation.

  21. I had my book published at Trafford Publishing Counting Smiley Faces By Pami L. Wahl it was published in July 2014 and in Aug 2014 my second book Contaando Caras Sonrientes by Pami L. Wahl and my third book came out in Aug 2014.
    .. ..
    Zahlen Lacheln Gesichter by Pami L. Wahl and Cindy L. Perry
    I have two more book coming out soon.
    You can order them from Amazon.com and Indigo.CA website or go to yor local book store and order them.
    You see I had know problem with Trafford Publishing and already I sold 90 copies for a new author online and where I live in the Apartment building I sold 2 copies I had at home I will find out the second week in Sept how many more I sold. Also I'm on ebook and Kindle.
    How many can say this.
    When you read something online from another author just think maybe their book did not sell any copies and if it did not sell any copies how can Trafford Publishing pay you.
    Being a first time author it take time for the public to get to know you and if you don't go out and market your own book, and email book store and facebook that book store facebook people will not know nothing about your book.
    so don't get mad at Trafford It harder when you self Publish your own book you have to do 99% more work then if you went non self publish.
    If you are still looking to self publish then try FAITH PUBLISHING online and stop giving Trafford Publishing a bad name.

  22. This company is total ripoff and their are charging your credit card and then get your ebook in form of manscripts and they never come forwad with their end of bargin. DO NOT DONT PUblish with this compay

    Dr. Bahman Zohuri

  23. All Trafford Publishing complaints should be directed to the Indiana Attorney Generals Office Gov web site and file a consumer complaint. Trafford is based in Bloomington Indiana.

  24. HI, i am the author of" Anabolic Steroids and Making them" by Professor Frank. I published with Trafford when it was a Canadian company. They did SO WELL for me as to even design my book cover and back. I had NO PROBLEM with them….. THEN!!!!! Got royalties and statements quarterly…OK.But when Author Solutions took over, everthing changed… sales went down…I was doing the same marketing, and NOW as of 1/14/2019, BOTH COMPANIES phones are TEMPORARILY ???????? DISCONNECTED!!!! Need to republish my niche book…Any ideas??? oh, yeah, I DID MAKE MONEY from the book…never calculated, but at least 4 times what I paid for the publishing package!!! Think my last check was 3Q 2018

  25. This is AMAZING…About three hours after I made the above (hopefully) blog post, TRAFFORD CALLED ME!!! Sure they had Filipino accents, BUT…. said they were redoing my file???? Whatever the heck that means… they had no clue as to WHY!!!!

  26. Unknown 1/14,

    Be very careful. There's a plague of Philippines-based publishing and marketing scams trolling for authors right now, and because a lot of them are staffed by former Author Solutions call center employees, they are especially interested in poaching authors with Author Solutions imprints (they also watch this blog because of the several exposes I've written about them). Do not pay anything extra for whatever service they may offer you, and make SURE you are actually talking to Trafford (frankly, I doubt it) and not one of the scams. And please let me know what you find out.

  27. I published with Trafford 2010 when still in Canada-all went relatively well…redid my book 'QUITE EARLY ONE PLANET' a four colour book -an illustrated cosmology on the Alphabet. Trafford Indiana did a not bad job but colour quality not great. They charged too much for the book and knowing friends bought books I only ever recieved a cheque for seventeen dollars ( which I never cashed)

    NOW I have received statements from THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT-DISTRICT OF DELAWARE regarding All Creditors and Equity Holders …It's about FW MEDIA.Inc…I am assuming Trafford was one of their acquisitions and I am one among many who has lost.

    DOES anyone know if ones copyright is still intact/ is this a way of reclaiming authors copyrights -feeling a little paranoid .Jerome McNicholl

  28. F+W Media, which filed for bankruptcy in March, was the owner of Writer's Digest and many other niche magazine properties. It did not own Trafford–Trafford was bought by Author Solutions, which still owns it–so this bankruptcy doesn't affect your book.

    I don't know why you got a notice–might you have a subscription to one of F+W's magazines? Googling F+W bankruptcy might turn up information that will shed some light.

  29. I'm having problem getting Trafford to pay me my Royalties also.
    I only got paid once and I know my book is selling a friend told me to look on eBay I have my books selling there. So someone has bought my books or how can they be selling on eBay.

  30. I don't think you will get anything back they took full advantage of two vulnerable adults first was Author House and the same happened with Trafford publishing between the two they had over £10,000 we are both disabled and they knew that my wife wrote the 2 books on life after her strokes, they promised her that we would be invited over to appear on the Oprah Wimfry show and they promised so much they kept asking a £1000 for this and more and more we are only on disability money and they knew that and we kept telling them that we can't afford anymore we took out loans we used all of our overdrafts and credit card limits we sold everything we had all for nothing we are still struggling to put food on the table and pay bills I go without eating so that my wife can eat. I am at breaking point. Mind you they sent a cheque for the sum of 8 cents from the USA to us in the UK at the cost of 1 dollar and 25 cents it would have cost £25 to cash the cheque.

  31. I published with Trafford in 2008. I have NEVER received a royalty for books sold online. After being approached by several people to sign my book, I confronted them about the royalties. They told me to prove it. I do have evidence but I doubt I can make a case against them whereby I’ll ever get repaid. I will be filing against them to the RCMP, as I am Canadian. Meanwhile, I will be reaching out to all online vendors of the book, starting with Amazon, to deal with me directly for any sales, as I own the rights to the book. I have found a local publisher to be able to POD to take on any orders. I am so ticked off for getting ripped off from these scoundrels. And, I don’t have it in me to calculate how much I invested in programs with Trafford to promote my book. Makes me sick to my stomach.

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