Self-publishing platform

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A self-publishing platform is an online portal in the Internet operating company (or part of a company), which after closing a contract for work extensive services for the self-publication (ger .: Self-publishing ) of books as printed matter , as E -Book or in parts also from other publication media .


One of the forerunners of self-publishing platforms can perhaps be the author or literature platforms that have been set up on the Internet since around 2000 . To be able to put their texts up for discussion on the internet and in the portals forums free of charge. In some of the authoring platforms , reference is now made to book publications created in self-publishing platforms .

Since around 2010, service companies for self- published publications etc. have also appeared in German-speaking countries . a. with the self-designation or the characterization as "self-publishing platform", some of them also in several countries at the same time. The first companies of this type existed in the USA as early as 2000 (see the history section at ) and others. a. with the self-designation "Independent Publishing Platform".

The technical requirements for this business model are the book or print-on-demand process and e-books . In particular, the increased sales and communication possibilities of the Internet in connection with this led to a general change in the book market .


Digital service providers - actually service providers for digital media production  - offer the creation of self-publications as online platforms for self-publishing . You position yourself primarily as a manufacturer of book publications in the book-on-demand process or as e-books , but sometimes also in parallel with the offset printing process. Set in the cost estimates for their offers on transparency and on a relatively fair -value price for their base rates to create a book title. The offers are often difficult to compare because of the different calculation methods.


Self-publishing platforms are not:

  • Subsidy publishers or cost publishers who provide similar services for self-publications as self-publishing platforms , but still act as a publisher, but literally charge far more than a printing subsidy and because of the "reversal of the publishing principle" caused by their critics such as u . a. the campaign alliance for fair publishers are also referred to as " pseudo-publishers " with often overpriced price claims. In order to set itself apart from this business practice, the Monsenstein and Vannerdat publishing group , to which u. a. The platform is also part of the company, the FAIR public certificate was launched in order to put an end to the trade with the new seal of “dubious pseudo-publishers” and the so-called “vanity press” or to stand out from these competitors among service providers for self-published media to delimit. According to this, participating companies should commit themselves to standards with regard to author rights, information about their offers as well as sustainability and fairness. A review commission made up of industry experts would have to award the seal and, if necessary, withdraw it again.
  • Smaller companies that identify themselves as service providers for the creation of self-publications, but whose basic offers may, however, be a. Require minimum purchase of published copies and are therefore far more expensive than those of the self-publishing platforms despite the use of the book-on-demand process .

However, self-publishing platforms sometimes also act as service providers for the above examples.


  • Depending Inclusions anyone can self-publishing platforms , the self-publication of books and possibly also give of music and video recordings in order - as a pure service is the products they and irrelevant distributed media and thus not a criterion for them the quality, a To refuse order.
  • Technically take self-publishing platforms "one-stop" or part of the same tasks as a regular publisher ( see eg. B .: trade book publisher ), only that they are not just in one author invest ( embarrassed = present ), but the author any performance - u. a. Advice including corrections and editing , creation of the print template through to production, marketing and advertising of the book ready for sale - with a more or less large profit margin for yourself.
  • Self-publishing platforms offer book-on-demand or e-books as forms of publication .
  • Some self-publishing platforms also offer the self-publishing of music or film recordings.
  • Thanks to book-on-demand, a book can be printed relatively inexpensively once via a self-publishing platform or kept permanently available.
  • There are also different offers for the equipment of a book u. a. as paperback or hardcover as well as in black and white or color printing .
  • The self-publishing platforms are characterized by flat-rate, sometimes even free, basic or basic offers, which usually include ISBN allocation, setup ( mastering ) and the provision of a digital template for book-on-demand or e-mail. Book as well as its display and distribution via online shops . Any additional services such as B. Proofreading are provided by them for an extra fee.
  • The Books on Demand GmbH as European market leader takes u. a. also for regular publishers or cost publishers such as Allitera Verlag the production of books in the book-on-demand process.

Costs and estimates

See also: Calculation in the article self-publication

The costs of using self-publishing platforms differ first of all according to whether the client provides a print-ready template and thus the basic offers can be sufficient - or whether they are dependent on the help of the provider with additional costs. If customers limit themselves to the use of basic offers, self-publishing platforms are currently (as of 2014) among the cheapest providers among service providers for creating self-publications.

The price-performance ratio of the self-publishing platforms differs (albeit at a falling level, as of 2014). In some cases it is considerable, and the way in which your fee claims for further services are collected is not uniform. As a rule, however, cost estimates for your basic or basic offers can be found directly on the portal pages, which makes it easier to compare them. For more extensive projects, price calculators provide an overview of any total costs.


See also: Reception of self-publications in the article Self-publication

The appreciation of literary publications via a self-publishing platform is subject to the same criteria as publications by publishers, i. H. their success is measured by copies sold and perception by literary criticism . The self-publishing platform Books on Demand, for example, refers to several titles it has published that have appeared in bestseller lists . In July 2014 , Der Tagesspiegel even spoke of a “ boom ”, especially for the e-book area within the self-publishing industry .

Basically, the book trade of its own accord orders almost no books from self-publishing platforms and their titles will not be noticed by literary criticism or “the literary public” without the author's own commitment. Authors who only finance self-financed book publications etc. a. using self-publishing platforms are excluded from applying for inclusion in the author database of the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis , but are now accepted by the Association of German Writers , which has fundamentally changed its position on this, which it had held for decades: It is called Although the admission requirements still state that a “certificate of professional ability” must be adequately identified, such as B. by “publishing a book that cannot be bought through the use of own funds”, but since February 16, 2019, several publications “also as a self-publisher or self-marketer” are sufficient.

Company forms and business models

Today, self-publishing platforms can be roughly divided into the following types of company:

  • with charging a flat rate for their basic offers
  • Free provider
  • , The mixing company as a traditional publisher (or within a publishing group) at the same time also with a self-publishing platform occur

Anton Goldberg compared a total of 30 eBook distributors in the blog at and prepared them for 6 possible interest groups of self-publishers (status: October 2016) and also created a comprehensive table in PDF format with information in 18 columns . This is another reason why only a few examples (such as market leader and / or the subject of a Wikipedia article) are listed below.

Provider against flat rate

  • Books on Demand GmbH is currently the European market leader in digital publications for authors and publishers . Presumably in competition with the free providers , BoD increased its prices for the basic offer (including mastering and ISBN allocation for print and e-book edition) from a good 158 euros plus follow-up costs to a one-off 19 euros without further follow-up costs between 2012 and 2014 and the contract period has been reduced from 5 years to one year.
  • The platform GRIN Verlag advertises in its word mark with “Verlag” and, despite the statement “Author for free”, charges a flat rate of 50 euros for the production and distribution with any sales proceeds for the print-on-demand version.

Free provider

Examples of self-publishing platforms that offer book-on-demand or e-book editions free of charge:

Print editions (Book on Demand)

  • In 2005 Amazon took over the self-publishing platform BookSurge , founded in 2000, and renamed it in 2009 . Since then, “self-publishers” around the world have been able to use this English-language “Independent Publishing Platform” to have their publications produced free of charge - but only with Amazon as a sales partner. In the case of the delivery of a smaller number of author's copies in Europe, the author discounts granted by CreateSpace are offset by comparatively significant shipping costs for a delivery from the USA that usually takes several weeks. For clients within Europe it can therefore be cheaper for small quantities (approx. Up to ten copies) to purchase their own titles like a regular customer via the domestic Amazon providers. In addition to the free “basic offer”, there are also paid extended offers on Amazon (e.g. for marketing).
  • Under the BoD Fun offer, a digital print template can be provided at Books on Demand , but without an ISBN.
  • With epubli , free print and e-book editions can be created (see also the next section E-books on neobooks ).
  • , based in Raleigh (North Carolina) , USA, has been one of the first free providers for the creation of print and e-book editions since 2002.


  • Under the BoD E-Book offer , Books on Demand e-books including ISBN can be created and distributed free of charge.
  • The online platform neobooks was introduced in Germany in 2010 as a digital imprint or as an "acquisition platform" for the Droemer Knaur publishing group . In 2012 neobooks started as a self-publishing distributor and concentrated the first few years solely on the free production of e-books . Since 2016, neobooks has been a company of Neopubli GmbH and part of the Digital Content Group by Holtzbrinck and is now directly associated with epubli , which includes print and e-book editions. Currently (as of 2017), in addition to Droemer Knaur, publishers such as Kiepenheuer & Witsch and Rowohlt are also looking for new talents for their publishing programs at neobooks. In 2011 neobooks received the AKEP Award for the “best publishing achievement in the field of electronic publishing”.
  • Kindle Direct Publishing , one of the first free providers for the creation of e-books worldwide (in Germany since 2011) - however, also in association with (see also information above on free print editions (Book on Demand) ), only for the Kindle reader and exclusively with Amazon as a sales partner.

Mixed company

Examples of mixed companies (publishing and also the creator of book- and print-on-demand - and e-book - Self publications ) are:


No publishing contract is concluded between self-publishing platforms and their clients (e.g. in Germany according to Section 1 of the Publishing Act ). Even if a self-publishing platform in the imprint z. B. is named as the manufacturer, the entire copyrights remain with the client. The clients, however, necessarily grant the self-publishing platforms restricted distribution rights for the distribution services they usually also want .

Individual evidence

  1. Search result “Self-Publishing Platform” in the Börsenblatt
  2. ↑ The term digital media production introduced in the training information for certified media specialist digital . ZAW Center for Education and Training Leipzig GmbH, accessed on March 8, 2014.
  3. The Self Publishing Revolution ?!
  4. Advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing . RP Online , October 24, 2013
  5. a b c For the business model of self-publishing platforms, see also the fair-public initiative ( memento of March 26, 2014 in the web archive ), which was launched by the Monsenstein and Vannerdat publishing group with the participation of a. by Sandra Uschtrin .
  6. a b What do you get with Book-on-Demand? HAF Hamburg Academy for Distance Learning ; "Book-on-demand companies offer you as an author and self-publisher advantages, but also disadvantages compared to other publishing models."
  7. Ronit Wolf: Swap savings book for book . ( Memento from June 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Die Zeit online, February 20, 2009
  8. Carsten Holm: With heart and soul into ruin . In: Der Spiegel . No. 35 , 2000 ( online ).
  9. ^ Publishing dictionary - P of the author house publishing house: "Pseudo-publishing: company for prints paid for by the author. Practices the reverse of the publishing principle: It is not the publisher who submits (word origin of publishing), but the author. ^ Vanity Press, also known as ^ Druckkostenzuschussverlag. Usually the books of such companies are rarely offered in bookshops. (Permissible statement according to OLG Munich Az 6 U 2250/09) "
  10. Definition of terms: publisher, printing costs subsidy publisher / self-payer publisher, pseudo-publishing ( Memento of March 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), action alliance for fair publishers
  11. a b “FAIRublicen” is supposed to put pseudo-publishers down . ( Memento of March 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Press release of the Monsenstein and Vannerdat publishing group of January 23, 2013
  12. ^ A b Anton Goldberg: Selfpublishing: 30 eBook distributors in comparison. Detailed evaluation plus recommendations , online on October 20, 2016 at
  13. Since the middle of the 17th century, “publishers have become especially popular for those who take on the costs and distribution of printing works”. ( Grimm's Dictionary )
  14. Sabine Sasse: The self-publishing industry is booming . Der Tagesspiegel online, July 11, 2014
  15. Applications for inclusion in the FBK author database , online on the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis website
  16. Helma Nehrlich: Contribute to the narrative of society , article from February 18, 2019 in kunst + kultur (online magazine of the VS ) on the 5th Federal Expert Group Conference on Literature, which met on February 16, 2019 as part of the four-day VS Congress, online at
  17. Service: Become a member of VS , VS - Association of German Writers at
  18. Anton Goldberg: Table for article: Self-publishing: 30 eBook distributors in comparison. Detailed evaluation plus recommendations (readable from around 270% zoom factor, PDF file, 2 pages), online on October 20, 2016 at
  19. a b c ; Prices at Books on Demand
  20. See page 7, section 6, paragraph 7 of the Grin authors' contract, which can be called up as a 9-page PDF file
  21. ^ A b Matthias Matting: New trend self-publishing - bestseller without publisher . focus .de, October 14, 2011
  22. website of the "CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform" (English)
  23. Buying Copies of Your Own Book ( Memento from January 31, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Price calculator from CreateSpace, in which the shipping costs for author's copies are to be calculated under Order Shipping Calculator .
  24. Press information on neobooks , online at