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Criteria to examine when selecting a book publisher are:
- Will publishing with this publisher enhance your academic career?
- What are the publisher's copyright requirements - will I retain copyright ownership?
- What quality control processes does the publisher use - will my work be professionally edited and formatted?
- Will my work be sent out for review?
- What is the standing of the editors?
- How does the publisher distribute the books that it publishes?
- Does the publisher require a financial commitment to publish my work?
- Will I receive royalties for the sale of my work?
A commercial publisher is an entity for which the core business is producing books and distributing them for sale. Commercial publishers take on a financial risk when committing to publish a book. To minimise risk, they have a selection process. Once a manuscript is selected for publication, the publisher provides copy-editing and proof-reading editorial support. Once published, the publisher provides further investment by marketing the book.
Self publishing, vanity presses and companies that specialise in the publication of theses do not have a selection process, provide little or no editorial support or marketing and so do not meet the definition of a commercial publisher.
Print-on-Demand (POD) Publishers use digital technology to print copies of a publication as they are requested. This is a cost-effective alternative because publications may be printed at the point-of-need, dispensing with the expense of warehousing and distribution. POD publishing is used by ERA eligible publishers and non-eligible publishers.
Self-publishing is when the author takes responsibility for publishing their work, independently of an established publisher. The Internet provides self-published authors with the opportunity to publish and promote their work.
Vanity Presses usually charge authors a fee for publishing their work.