Monday, June 16, 2014

Please Stay Away from Art Bookbindery...

Do yourself a favor and do not use Art Bookbindery (ABB) to self-publish. It is not worth whatever they would charge you.

Someone just hired me for a project. In the project description, it said they needed me to format a children's book for CreateSpace (CS). Normally, this means I take their MSWord document, format it, and turn it into a PDF.

Wrong. This person had gone to Art Book Bindery. All she had was a PDF that was not set up for CreateSpace, the images (JPEG), and the text (Word Document) in three separate files. Because I was not hired to do page layout I did not want to re-set up the pages (This would have taken much longer than the four hours I spent on the project). So, I had to print out the PDF at Staples, physically cut the pages apart, and rescan all the pages back into the computer.

Here is where it got interesting. When you are setting up a children's book, you want the font on every page to read the same size. Well, I was cutting and pasting into the same sized JPEG, and the words were getting larger and smaller depending on the pictures. At first, I thought I was doing something wrong, but then I checked the original. Yes, the ABB did not do the layout very professionally (Yeah, I know. It's free if you don't have pictures and cheap if you do. You get what you pay for). Now, maybe my client did the layout and did it wrong. However, why wouldn't she have JPEGs with text and pictures combined if that is what happened?

I went to the ABB website, just to check things out, and I wasn't pleased. First, they encourage you to get an ISBN. They claim that if anyone else gets an ISBN for you and gives it to you free, then you will be signing away your rights. Say what???

I read CS' contract. Basically what it says is that if I choose another publisher (one that isn't CS), I have to use a different ISBN number. To make matters worse, if you do what this woman did and go to ABB first, purchase your ISBN number and then go to CS, you will lose the ability to be distributed through the libraries and institutions channel. Why limit any of your distribution options? (ABB will not distribute - they offer everything else, including free layout, but not distribution.) You also have to pay for a minimum of 25 - 50 books.

The fact that comb binding is even mentioned on their website should scream "Stay away!" I am not a fan of vanity presses, but this one is tricky because it doesn't come right out and tell you that is what it is. Instead, it offers to give you services that aren't really a service.

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