Grant publisher

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The term grant publisher used in the publishing industry can vary in terms of the type of company and the scope of the printing subsidies / cost subsidies / publication fees levied by such a company . First, a distinction must be made between a publisher (who acquires the rights in whole or in part) or a service provider (the author retains the rights, the publication is self-published and individual services are purchased); the term is also used for the latter sometimes used. Second, the amount of the grant and the proportion of the costs can differ.

Assignments and delimitations

Possible grant requests and their derivatives

Subsidy publishers charge a so-called “ printing subsidy” from third parties or the authors themselves for the creation of a book . Such a "printing allowance" can include:

  1. a partial or complete assumption of the costs for printing
  2. assumption of all costs, including those that go beyond printing
  3. assumption of all costs for the creation including a previously calculated profit margin for the manufacturer

In his dissertation, Jong-Rak Shin quotes Eduard Schönstedt from Der Buchverlag , according to which, in view of the different amounts of subsidies to be paid, this is between (see 1.) “ Druckkostenverlag ”, (see 2.) “Manufacturing costs publisher” and (see 3.) “ Selbstkostenverlag ”differs.

These grants, known as "printing subsidies", have been and will be provided:

Book publishers in the “traditional” sense or public publishers define themselves precisely by the fact that they assume the entire entrepreneurial risk and consequently do not demand any printing subsidies from their authors . Nevertheless, to classify grant publishers as a publisher, especially in relation to the authors , requires that they conclude a publishing contract with the authors (e.g. in Germany according to § 1 of the Publishing Act ) and provide them with the requested grants e.g. B. grant a comparatively higher share of the profit on copies sold and assume the costs of editing , storage (if fixed editions, e.g. offset printing ), sales and advertising are at your own risk . If they raise more extensive “grants” (see 2. or 3.) and do not conclude a publishing contract with the authors, they are “not a publisher in the true sense of the word” but, as a service provider for the creation of self-publications , reverse the publishing principle.

Corporate forms

Grant publishers appear in the following company forms or with the following business models:

  • Specialist publisher for the printing of information for professional use.
    • In particular, specialist publishers for scientific works ( science publishers ) have to assume that the works they publish (especially dissertations ) are usually not intended for a large readership from the outset, despite and precisely because of their high quality and / or their demands and / and their special subject matter , therefore only have a small circulation and no sufficient profit can be made with their sale. Printing subsidies are also widespread in some scientific journals, especially in the areas of life sciences and medicine , and are charged for each color image, for example.
  • Some companies that have fiction works in particular - including not least autobiographies ("contemporary witness stories") and poems - have been using self-designations such as service contract or private publishing house "incorrectly" and the like since the 1980s . a. also as a "grant publisher" or " printing cost grant publisher" , but in connection with the amount of the "grants" requested by them, according to Schönstedt, belong to the " cost publishers " and thus to service providers for self-publications .


According to the Tagesspiegel of February 18, 2014, doctoral students from some faculties, such as political science , are already using digital service providers or self-publishing platforms to self-publish their dissertations , since in the described case of a 400-page doctoral thesis alone, 4,000 euros were incurred for the “printing allowance” then the cost of editing would have to be paid. For a publication in Jura , the “printing subsidy” requested for doctoral candidates can amount to “up to 10,000 euros” after some “so-called scientific publishers” have “long exploited” their market position. In view of such “subsidies”, it is questionable to what extent specialist publishers per se still belong to the publishers or, according to Eduard Schönstedt, to the “ cost publishers ”. In addition to the offers of the self-publishing platforms, the much cheaper electronic dissertation is also becoming more and more popular as a medium of publication (→ see also: Publication of a dissertation ).

Since in practice the terms subsidy publisher as well as printing costs publisher , production cost publisher and cost publisher do not appear as self-designations, but all of these companies - in some cases wrongly - appear as publishers , a clear assignment is difficult. In a Zeit article from 1975, Armin Ayren reported how he had requested several offers for volumes of poetry that were generally difficult to sell and was then only able to refer to a single one that would have met the criteria of a printing company. And in a letter from Ernst Rowohlt at Alfred Richard Meyer says again: "With what pride you showed me, for example, once one of the first books from us so beloved Heinrich Mann , the charge of the production costs by the author in a so-called cost Verlag published was. "And in the definition of the" pseudo- publishing "it says on a website of the action alliance for fair publishers :" The publishers in question often claim, however, that the author only has to pay a subsidy towards the production costs because the risk of publishing an unknown author is incalculably large. "The author Fred Breinersdorfer describes such companies as" pathetic money printing machine on the back of authors. "

"Printing costs subsidy publishers" or "subsidy publishers", which according to Schönstedt are to be assigned to the "production costs publishers" and " cost publishers ", literally charge far more than a printing subsidy and are used by their critics such as u. Because of the resulting "reversal of the publishing principle". a. the action alliance for fair publishers also called " pseudo-publishers ". In addition, u. a. according to Armin Ayren since the mid-1970s for the desire to “have your own book in your hands”, in comparison to the performance of such companies: “The printer around the corner, who is fighting for its existence, makes it cheaper.” And even they can now s. o. According to Gemma Pörzgen in Tagesspiegel, the self-publishing platforms and the book-on-demand processes they use are undercut again.


Depending on who pays the grants and in what context, the reputation of the works created with them and their authors also vary:

  • If foundations for the promotion of science, such as the German Research Foundation or the VG Wort , consider a book publication to be so important with their upstream review process that they approve the assumption of a printing cost allowance, such funded publications enjoy a high reputation.
  • Provided, however, unknown authors publishing fiction must subsidize works to provide them with various other self-designations occurring "subsidy" - or " cost publishers ", which the authors do not publishing contracts but for the provision of services contracts for work close. This type of company is therefore viewed by the professional world as a service provider for self-publications and not recognized as regular publishers . Books produced by such companies are neither ordered by literary criticism nor by the book trade of their own accord. The Association of German Writers excludes from acceptance as a new member who u. a. can only refer to such self-financed book publications. The same applies to the application for inclusion in the author database of the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis .

See also


Individual evidence

  1. a b Which publishers and literary agents we can recommend Literatur-Café-Redaktion, 23 January 2009
  2. a b c d e f g Armin Ayren : The business with the poets . In: Die Zeit , No. 48/1975, November 21, 1975, accessed on February 3, 2013.
  3. a b c d See pages 21 u. 22 in: Jong-Rak Shin: Self-publishing in the literary life of exile in the years 1933-1945 ; Dissertation , June 2007, PDF file with 220 pages (793 kB)
  4. a b c d Gemma Pörzgen: Doctor Digital - Bringing your own dissertation to a publishing house gives her prestige. But the Internet is cheaper and faster. Digital publishing also depends on the subject. online in Der Tagesspiegel from February 18, 2014
  5. a b c d e Eduard Schönstedt: Der Buchverlag , Stuttgart 1991, pp. 60–62 .; see page 21 and 22, footnote 44 in Jong-Rak Shin: Self-published in the literary life of exile in the years 1933-1945
  6. See page 99 in: Hans Widmann: Tübingen als Verlagsstadt , JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) , Tübingen 1971 ISBN 3-16-933021-7
  7. See paragraph 4 of the judgment of the Cologne Regional Court in the case law database NRW: LG Cologne, AZ: 28 O 334/07, May 14, 2008
  8. a b Publishing Dictionary - D ( Memento from November 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) of the Autorhaus Verlag: “Druckkostenzuschussverlag: Incorrectly used term for companies that allow themselves to be paid by the author to print his work, but usually far more than one Take a subsidy towards the printing costs. ^ Service provider publisher ^ Pseudo-publishing ^ Vanity Press. ” , Available online at
  9. Publishing dictionary - Z ( Memento of November 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) of the Authors House Publishing House : "Grant publisher, ^ Druckkostenzuschussverlag" , available online at
  10. a b Carsten Holm: With heart and soul into ruin in Der Spiegel , online on August 28, 2000
  11. ^ Voices about Alfred Richard Meyer , online on the website for "Munkepunke" alias Alfred Richard Meyer in the second section with the heading Ernst Rowohlt writes the following on Munkepunke's 70th birthday in 1952: at
  12. Definition of terms: publisher, printing costs subsidy publisher / self-payer publisher, pseudo-publishing ( Memento of March 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), in an alliance for fair publishers
  13. Insider quotes online in the authors' magazine of the Autorhaus Verlag
  14. Well-known grant publishers and service providers ( Memento from March 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), online in the Montségur authors' forum
  15. Ronit Wolf: Swap savings book for book ( memento from June 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), Die Zeit , February 20, 2009
  16. ^ Publishing dictionary - P ( Memento of November 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) of the Authors' House Publishing House: " Pseudo-publishing : Companies 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) " , available online at
  17. 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
  18. Grant publishers u. a. Companies and associations ( memento of January 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), see also section “Pseudo-publishers”, online in the authors' magazine of the Autorhaus Verlag
  19. Association's own information on: " Become a member of VS"
  20. Applications for inclusion in the FBK author database , online on the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis website