Friday, January 25, 2008

iUniverse Dies,
Leatherface Lives
This sure does look like a bad horror movie.

iUniverse is dead. The doors will close on March 31, 2008.

I spent 6½ years at iUniverse from November 1999 through September 2006. I met some of the most amazing people there among my coworkers and am very pleased that many of them remain my closest friends. I also had the pleasure of working with some of the best as-of-yet undiscovered authors publishing today. So it was with great disappointment that I greeted the news that iUniverse would close its Lincoln, NE office.

I’m extremely proud of the work we did at the company and the many quality books we helped bring to the public. I’ve featured many of those books on this blog, titles like The Death of Milly Mahoney, Tom’s War and The Quest. I was proud to help get other titles like Cagney & Lacey… and Me, My Father’s Voice and Subterranean Towers out to the public.

What’s that you say, iUniverse isn’t dead? It’s just moving to Indiana?

Authorhouse and its parent company, AuthorSolutions, purchased iUniverse in September of 2007 and is moving the iUniverse operations to its headquarters in Bloomington, IN. The name and the logo may go to Indiana, but the heart and the soul, the employees that made iUniverse what it is will remain in Lincoln. The iUniverse in Indiana will be akin to a reanimated corpse in a George Romero film. Some iUniverse employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to Indiana, but I don’t believe many will be willing or able to take advantage of the offer.

A few years back 1st Books Library changed its name to Authorhouse for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was to distance itself from a less-than-stellar reputation. It seems that original reputation was hard to shake. So now Authorhouse will go around dressed in the iUniverse name and logo. Kind of like Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Good luck with that. Good luck to authors who venture too close to that house.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

consolidation is healthy for any business, especially one that is fragmented and unstable as self publishing. No one likes to see others lose their jobs or choose between moving 400 miles away, but it's business.

January 26, 2008 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger PubGuy said...

Just business — I expected that response from some. A rather classic way to relinquish responsibility. Ranks right behind, just following orders. The employees at iUniverse trusted their CEO to have their back while they busted their ass to make the company work. The company sold out its employees. They may say its just business, but the employees take it very personally.

Moving to Indiana? Not very likely when the job offers are for less than their current salaries.

I'm not even sure why AuthorHouse bought the place. The reputation that the iU employees worked so hard to build is instantly sullied by its association with AuthorHouse, a company consistently ranked at the bottom of the industry in terms of customer service.

January 26, 2008 at 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those employees in the room during the announcement now know the truth about this "middle manager at best" CEO. She faked sadness and sorrow almost as poorly as pretending to be a CEO.

January 26, 2008 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadness and sorry? Oh, puh-leeeze. I've been in the room when she gave her little speeches and she should really go into acting. If she cared so much about the place, why did she move back to NYC instead of actually LIVING in Lincoln? Her little commutes back and forth didn't help the financials out at all.

I'd quit working at iU a few months before they were bought out, but I was still shocked that it happened - I knew the financials were bad, but they completely SOLD OUT to AuthorHouse, one of iU's biggest competitors. It felt like a stab in the back. I can't imagine how the employees felt then. But now? I talked to a current employee and she loves her job - but does not trust the company at all. Sadly, she saw the light - when she started her job, she just loved the place. But after a few months, she saw what it was really like.

January 28, 2008 at 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just business - true, but exactly what is the business they're in?

The speed at which this move is being pushed with only vague, wishful ideas of a business continuity plan makes it highly questionable that Author Solutions is still in the publishing business. Instead, they seem to be in the business of making the balance sheet look as good as possible to try to make a quick profit on another sale.

The iUniverse logo, name and author lists are assets. The empolyees and facility, liabilities. The ability to sustain an ongoing buisiness providing publishing services doesn't matter at this point.

January 30, 2008 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazon.com has stopped selling all Author House and iUniverse books on their website.

Other rumors are that Bertram Capital, the financial backing of AH and iU are looking to flip the business within a year. Now I almost feel bad for the AH employees that will also lose their jobs. I wonder if Susan D and Diane G ever gave a crap about this company or just their pocketbooks.

I know where I'll place my money.

January 31, 2008 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still see plenty of iU books for sale on Amazon.com.

Supposedly Susan D. has received numerous emails from very unhappy authors.

February 5, 2008 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole Amazon.com not selling iU or AuthorHouse books has apparently blown over. Presumably a SNAFU at the top?

February 5, 2008 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Supposedly, iUniverse moved because the new CEO doesn't approve of "satellites." iUniverse was a "tech company," but everybody needs to be present under one roof, doncha know? Then why are Susan D. and Diane G. (who ran this company into the ground) still allowed to work out of their New York homes? It's the ultimate in unfairness and hypocrisy.

February 6, 2008 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

iUniverse is no longer a sinking ship... that metaphor is far too slow for what is happening to this distinguished POD publisher. The newbies at AH who are supposed to be taking over iU programs and procedures haven't a clue. This is now an exploding star. Authors, beware. There now is no best choice for POD publishing. My sympathies go with you, and with all the iUniverse talent that gave heart and souls to serving their authors with class and A1 customer service.

February 21, 2008 at 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word has it that Kevis Weiss, CEO of ASI, the parent company, has personally read authors' manuscripts and responded to the authors directly. I don't know how much weight his endorsement gives authors, since he claims 'to know nothing about publishing', but it's worth a try for authors who are seeking a foot in door with mainstream publishers.

February 21, 2008 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger R.W. Ridley said...

Well, it's terrible news for the folks in Nebraska. It's always tough when you lose your job. The good news is that if they want to stay in POD, there are a number of different companies to chose from now.

Charleston is a great place to live! Just saying.

February 28, 2008 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a company flip. The folks from Cali will use the gang in the state of Indiana and toss them aside when the're done. Bloomington will have the same job loss shock in 2-5 yearks.

March 15, 2008 at 5:59 PM  

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