Thursday, April 09, 2009

More Info on the Sale of Trafford ...

From Quinn & Quire
More details on Trafford Publishing sale
April 9, 2009 6:31 PM By Scott MacDonald

Earlier this week, Q&Q Omni reported on the sale of the Victoria-based self-publishing firm Trafford Publishing to its U.S. competitor, the Indiana-based Author Solutions. Since then, details have arisen that shed new light on the sale. Author Solutions has purchased Trafford’s author contracts and intellectual property, including the Trafford name and trademark.

In a recent missive to Trafford shareholders, Reid explained that he was forced to sell the publishing business because it had been experiencing “significant losses” over the past two years. “The self-publishing business was bleeding money and our ability to staunch the flow was severely hampered by a lack of working capital,” he wrote. “The print business was profitable but not enough to offset the losses in self-publishing…. Early this year, it became clear to Trafford that it was time to make some hard choices.”
Well now, makes you wonder, doesn't it, especially with all the media hype of late stating how self-publishing is doing so well. Maybe Trafford just had a bad business model, or maybe not. -- cannegardner


Shannon Yarbrough said...

I've never even read a Trafford Book. I looked at their website a long time ago and, of course, the front page is very appealing. But sifting through their bookstore pages is like flipping through cards in an old library card catalog. I think Author Solutions stepping in was a mercy buy.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Agreed, it seems like a no-brainer. How could they be bleeding money??? The authors are paying them, and they were one of pricier options. So I am guessing their business model had something that went awry. Or their service wasn't up to par for what they were charging.

Floyd M. Orr said...

Here is a little tidbit for you. Take it for whatever it is worth. I have been researching certain relationship issues between POD and Kindle over the past few months. I plan to eventually organize a comprehensive article on the subject for PODBRAM. What I have discovered is that about 30% of all Trafford books are available in the Kindle format, as opposed to only about .2% for AuthorHouse. The figures are about 2% for Lulu and .6% for iUniverse. Of course I think these last three are grossly understated: I bet the actual figures are much closer to 5-10% for the three biggest monsters of POD, considering how many authors have likely not repeated the original POD company imprint with the Kindle listing at Amazon.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Interesting Floyd ... I can't wait to see where you are going with this. I would really like to see what ebook pricing/listing graphs look like. Even I figured that if a big name best seller kindles for 9.99, there is no way I should price mine that high. First, I write novellas, so we are talking 150 pages or less, and I am a nobody. Therefore, I tend to price mind in and around the 2.99 or less range.

I can't wait to read your article and look at the numbers.

Shannon Yarbrough said...


I wonder if some of your findings may be based on the fact that most POD authors are still relying on physical book sales and don't know how to take advantage of Amazon's DTP publishing system for Kindle? I look forward to your article.


I've had much success with pricing my latest on Kindle at $5.99. Amazon discounts it to $4.79, but I still make $2.10 per sale as opposed to my .69 cent cut of hard copy sales.