Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Outskirts Press has yet another way to soak its author customers

Pay-to-publish company Outskirts Press is frequently inept and dishonest. I've written about the company many times on this blog, and in a book. One of the company's sleaziest business practices is getting no-interest loans from its authors.

The company recently announced its "Boston Review Co-op Advertising Option for authors." A press release says, "With this new addition to its popular co-op advertising programs, Outskirts Press allows authors to reach the growing intellectual market of 30,000 Boston Review readers with a full-color ad for their books at an affordable rate." Each ad for an author’s book occupies a 2” by 2.5” space within a full-age ad, and includes a color image of the book’s cover, a short synopsis and ordering information.

Each full-page ad includes a dozen Outskirts Press books. The price to advertise a book is $199. For 12 book ads, Outskirts collects $2388. Based on the "6 times" rate, Outskirts would pay $1050 to have the big ad published, so it makes a nice gross profit of $1388 per ad -- which sells the company's services to prospective authors in addition to selling books. This is a great deal for Outskirts. It get a highly visible ad, completely paid-for by its customers.

Outskirts has a new definition of co-op advertising.
  • Instead of its customers (authors) paying half of the cost of the ad, they pay more than TWICE the cost of the ad.
  • Instead of the ad being an expense for Outskirts, it is a source of profit.
  • Where's the cooperation?
Even if you are also paying for the Outskirts corporate advertising campaign, $199 is not a huge amount of money to reach an upscale intellectual audience. However, for just $225 you could have YOUR OWN AD in the Boston Review. It would be about twice the size as the small chunk of the Outskirts ad, and your ad probably won't be right next to a competing book.

OH SHIT! Book ads normally announce the publication of new books. It's important that advertising be coordinated with other promotional efforts near the publication date. However, Outskirts says, "we are unable to schedule a specific week/month for the ad, or even estimate when the ad will appear." 


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