has purchased one of the world's biggest self-publishing companies, Author Solutions Inc
(ASI), for $116 million, according to the Financial Times
. Since 2007, ASI has published books by some 150,000 writers and around 190,000 books. ASI was owned by Bertram Capital Management.
In a statement
, ASI explained why the sale had taken place:
"The acquisition gives Penguin a leading position in this fast-growing segment of the publishing industry and brings significant opportunity for the two companies to collaborate. Penguin will gain access to ASI’s expertise in online marketing, consumer analytics, professional services and user-generated content. ASI will benefit from Penguin’s design, editorial and sales skills, and its strong international presence as it looks to expand outside the US."
The move by Pearson to move into self-publishing is significant and it indicates a change in the marketplace where self-published books are becoming increasingly more popular. This is largely due to the rise of the e-book and the popularity of e-readers and tablet computers.
Some writers have enjoyed great success through the self-publishing route, most notably EL James' erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey
, which has topped several best-seller lists.
The purchase is a further development in the long and respected history of Penguin books
. Penguin books was founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane. Penguin was very successful, especially during its first few decades, by publishing what were generally regarded as high quality yet inexpensive paperback books. The company also published under the Pelican (largely non-fiction) and Puffin (for children) brands.
Author Solutions will continue to run as a separate company, at least to start with. In time, it might prove strategically more viable to use the Penguin imprint.