Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tikatok is a print-on-demand web site for kids, now owned by Barnes & Noble. The site has easy templates for creating a book with text and pictures. For those looking for help finding an idea, Tikatok has some "worlds" (StorySparks), to help generate ideas, such as animals and bugs, holidays and vacations, princesses and fairy tales, and school and family. They're also associated with Build-a-Bear, so children can write stories for that setting (although Build-A-Bear owns the copyright to those stories).

Children will need parents to set up the accounts for parent and child, and decide if the site is safe. From other sources, I believe (but am not certain), that parents will be notified by email of their children's actions. Once a book is created, it can be published in hardbound (starts at $18), softbound (starts at $15) and PDF formats ($3).

The web site could be more open with information. "Starts at $18" for hardcover books refers to additional costs, depending on the page count. The additional cost is not explained, except, presumably, once you start the publishing phase. There's little information about the control that the parent has on the process. One would hope that Barnes & Noble has or will vet this service closely.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Author Solutions Acquires Self Publisher Xlibris

For those of you interested in the Print-On-Demand (POD) market, which is common in self-publishing, here's an industry press release you might be interested in:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), the world leader in the fastest-growing segment of book publishing, announced Thursday the acquisition of Xlibris - a pioneering leader in print-on-demand self-publishing services. Kevin Weiss, ASI president and chief executive officer, made the announcement to Xlibris employees....

Xlibris joins AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Wordclay and Inkubook in ASI's expanding family of self-publishing brands.
You can read the rest of the release here.

Sounds like a consolidating industry. Are authors giving up on POD? Or are the economics not working out as well as was once promised? Or has Amazon muscled out the competition?

For what it's worth, when an author sends me a bio that includes self-published novels, I don't count that as a publishing credit. It shows that the author was focused enough to finish a project -- Lord knows that's uncommon enough -- but not that it was good enough to get someone else to finance. (I don't count it against them, either.) It'll be interesting to see how this market shakes out.


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