Evermont M

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Verified Reviewer

Book sales numbers

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Terrible shyster company. No way to check number of books sold. They told me 11 copies sold in 12 years, for a total of $15.34 in royalties. This is a scam company and a bunch of crooks.
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Loss:
$1200
Cons:
  • Scam company

Preferred solution: Full refund

User's recommendation: DO NOT PUBLISH WITH THIS CROOKED COMPANY. They just want your money upfront.

Anonymous
map-marker Toronto, Ontario

They are a SCAM

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Not only did they scam me out of money, but they gave my information to every scam publisher in the planet. 75 different ones all with the same scam
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User's recommendation: DO NOT EVER GO NEAR THEM

1 comment
Guest

I self-published with iUniverse in 2011—big mistake. I am still receiving multiple calls and emails a day from scam publishers and "literary agents" offering to "adapt my book for the screen." BS! I'm over my book and I'm beyond over iUniverse.

Shake K

I am not reviving my royalties

I was receiving royalties by direct deposit then they send me letter that They dont have my direct deposit I been trying to contact them but no luck My name is shake kasparian and I would like my royalties to be deposit to my account if they lost my account l would like to talk to costumer service and give them my deposit account
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Preferred solution: My royalties

Gerald R Nns

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Verified Reviewer

Iuniverse is a complete SCAM company is not located in the United States it’s Overseas.

Once you pay your money their response will be slow or nonexistent. The graphics are Kindergarten ART. They dont listen when you explain in detail what you want. They stole 3,700 hundred dollars from me. I started 2 years ago and still dont have my book and oh yeah they stopped answering my calls.Please choose another company.
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Loss:
$4
Cons:
  • Costs and fees

Preferred solution: Full refund

User's recommendation: Scam Company Foreign Company

Samantha O Gtp
map-marker Hamilton, Ontario

Worst Company Ever!

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At first, they were fantastic at checking in on me, but after not much progress in my novel, I asked them to hold off on contacting me as I would get in contact with them. Over the last several months I have been trying to get a hold of their Assistant Manager of Operations (who was assigned to me) with no luck. I have emailed numerous times. I even called customer support and I have not received so much as an email back. I don't live in the United States, so it was an even bigger investment for me. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME! THEY RIP PEOPLE OFF.
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Loss:
$2849

Preferred solution: Full refund

User's recommendation: BEWARE

David F Vqw

I'm pissed!

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Iuniverse - I'm pissed!
BEWARE OF THIS. It will take too many words to explain my situation. Suffice to say they have ceased communications with me halfway through the process after I had submitted a correction form of my manuscript, and paid my initial $1000 ! It appears I have been hoodwinked! I have no proof of payment, except my bank statement. >
View full review
Loss:
$1000

Preferred solution: Deliver product or service ordered

User's recommendation: Avoid at all cost, unless you can afford to throw money away and be treated like a fool.

Anonymous
map-marker Los Angeles, California

Do you value your work? iUniverse won't even respect it.

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Close your eyes and envision a member of iUniverse's management team hanging up the telephone, rubbing his hands gleefully and glancing around the conference table at his two colleagues with an evil sparkle in their eyes. His tone is almost maniacal.

We've hooked another sucker.

Yep, I was one of them suckers once until I was wizened up by the fool me once... no, wait... fool me twice routine. I published my second book through iUniverse before I began to suspect the real operation, yet I never came across a single hint in the hundreds of complaints I've perused in the past couple of years.

I couldn't find a single person who was wandering down the same leafy lane as I was, so perhaps I be wrong after all. But the leaves are obfuscating and if I kick them hard enough, I get another glimpse at ... I meansurely I'm not the only one who has realized what is really going on?,

Meanwhile, up in the conference room, the same person picks up the telephone once again. Moments later, he hangs up and unable to contain his mirth, he doubles up in raucous fit of laughter.

He slumps into a chair with his legs spread out and wipes the tears from his eyes. Oh, the poor fools. That one is so irritated with our service he's just terminated his contract and going over to another publisher instead.

Who?

His face is going red as he tries to suppress his laughter. Xlibris.

The three men snicker, barely able to contain their gaiety for a few seconds before they intone in simultaneous accord, and we own them too. All three roll around in their chairs and such a sound of merriment echoes from behind the closed doors and drifts down through the sleazy corridors.

These three men manage twelve self-publishing entities. Same business. Twelve different business names.

Get annoyed with one, and the unsuspecting author moves on to the next, and the chances they will end up with the same company is high. But what of this mystery? you ask.

I know iUniverse brag of their ties to Penguin Books, because they have done so to me many times, so I wouldn't be surprised if 11 more are doing the same. But why would Penguin Books ties themselves to such a crooked enterprise preying on the Indie author, the unsuspecting newbie ...

or could it be that Author Solutions is the self-publishing side of Penguin Books. I mean, they've been around since 1927, a traditional publishing house with a reputable history spanning 90 decades.

Now let's consider the difference between a traditional publisher and a self-publisher, and consider the awesome possibilities should one discard a few ethics, stir in some deceit, and the word fraud is spoken in whispers. Are you all falling into line, yet?

I was never happy with the use of the word Royalty. The throw it around a lot.

You will get 100% royalties.

You're not going to take out a 15% management fee?

Nope, you get everything. 100% royalties is yours.

You are feeling really thrilled, perhaps to the point where you might forget to ask how much you should expect with each sale, but just in case you didn't, you will be told that it is 10% of the retail price.

O-only 10%? you may stutter. How much is the retail price?

Oh, it's not so bad.

The cost of publishing a book each time one is ordered, distribution, retailers fees, and of course, your royalty have to be all factored in, but we won't know the retail price until the book is ready to roll, you know, how many pages, the cost of paper, ink, card and so on. Don't worry, we'll sort it all out for you and let you know what the retail prices will be before the first one is printed.

You hang up the phone and stare across the room in silence with dollar signs in your eyes, or perhaps the word royalty is gnawing around in your stomach like a gnarly cancer that just won't go away. You've reread the contract a hundred times before signing it, looking for the verbiage that indicates you've been duped. Nothing to see here.

Royalties are mentioned at 10%, all yours for the keeping. It stipulates that I will agree for them to determine the retail price, but then that would ensure I wouldn't mess up be setting a retail price lower than the cost of production. They're the professionals, after all. Hmmm...

royalties. Am I missing something here?

The big day comes. You've paid a $4,500 publishing package, $3,500 for a professional editor, which they arrange for you. You send it to them.

They send it to the editor. The editor sends it back to them. They send it back to you. Perhaps you approve after making a few adjustments and corrections that the editor appears to have missed.

But yeah, they're only human and not perfect. You may be forgiving. You may not. You finally approve of the editing, the cover design, the interior layout, and now you wait.

A few days later they come back at you with the paper to sign to approve the retail price, and your jaw drops in astonishment. Surely that can't be right for the paperback? $25.95!!

Yes, they said, that is right. Wow, I might be able to twist an arm of a friend or two, but keepers, you know, I'm unknown.

Little old me. Even I wouldn't buy an unknown me book for that price when I can buy Stephen King paperback for $15. But then they reminded me that I was self-publishing. Costs are higher than mass-produced paperbacks.

Point taken... for now. Time for the second book in the series, but did anyone notice....

The first day it became available on Amazon, I rushed to sign on and stare with pride at my first book in a six-book series. Underneath was a link to other retailers in the Amazon marketplace.

New, 4 in stock from $25.95. Used, 8 in stock, $15.99. Still, unhappy with the retail price and with an overwhelming sense that I'm still missing something, I embarked on with enthusiasm on book two. The same procedure, it was all beginning to get familiar.

This time I got jerked around, a totally different experience to the first time around. I wanted the interior layout to be identical throughout the series, and said so. I may as well have give the same instructions to the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. And he wouldn't have to read my lips.

But we got there, and this time they set the retail price at $21.99, but there were about forty pages less in this one. It was still too over priced in my opinion. The first book had sold about ten copies, if I'm to trust their ledger, but I tried to convince myself it's because it is a series. Once I have all six books out there, then I might have more luck.

Of course, iUniverse told me otherwise. I need to invest in a promotional package for $6,000, but you know what, I was getting phone calls and emails offering promotional services for $6,000 (strange how they were all $6,000) in 3 or 4 easy payments starting on the first day book one went on sale. iUniverse insisted that they never gave out my telephone number or email address to anyone, like I should be so gullible I would believe them. The callers were aggressive, so much so, I had to start screening the calls.

The same number came up on the caller ID no less than 7 times in a ten-minute period. I had already spent $15,000 on the two books, and I declined the promotional offer.

Oh, goodie, book 2 is going live today, and I rush to sign on Amazon with less enthusiasm than I did the first time. There it was, complete with a link to the market place: New, 5 in stock from $20.99. Used, 10 is stock, $13.99.

I stared at the price of the used books trying to understand why I felt so disturbed.

The answer was staring me straight in the face, and I followed the link. It was a store I'd never heard of before, but I noted they had ten copies of my first book available as used too. Then it hit me. I had only sold 10 copies so far on the first book.

Had all ten buyers sent them in to the same used book store? Then there is my second book. Newly released today and already there were 10 used copies in stock. They did add in mint condition.

It began to sink in.

They are not obliged to pay royalties on used books because the author should already have been paid royalties on the first sale. And clearly, there was not a first sale.

Then I knew why the word royalties bothered me so much. A traditional publishing house paid royalties to their authors, but an Indie Author doesn't get paid royalties - not in the same sense. The traditional publishing house, lets say Penguin Books, signs up an author, but from that day on, an author rarely has a say in his book.

The publisher pays for the editing services, cover, interior design, printing, distribution, the author is expected to assist with the promotion in appearance, but the publisher foots the bill for everything. Therefore, they can retail the book for whatever price they want, pay the author the agreed royalty, and keep the rest. But even an author receiving royalties from a traditional publishing house, in general, got 15% and not 10%.

For an Indie Author, who is paying for the entire caboodle normally footed by the traditional publishing house, are buying a service, and so the Indie should reap a higher return because I should be entitled to the difference between cost of production and retail should. There was no agreement with the publisher for a fee, and in fact, when I queried this, they had not answered the question but spun it by repeating that I get 100% royalties.

Now I think I am starting to see the bigger picture (and I'm sure you are too, by now).

I emailed iUniverse with one little question, and the reaction it brought was almost atomic. I simply asked them to send me a breakdown of the publishing costs per book whenever it was ordered, say from Amazon, through to dispatch by to the customer and the retailer's percentage for the sale. I sent it to one of the bosses, and ten minutes later one of his underlings called me. He asked for me by name, and when I said this is he, he introduced himself and immediately started off without me saying a word.

You are getting paid 100% royalty. I was curious. Who said anything about royalties? (see what was on his mind) I asked for a breakdown of the book from order....

Why do you want that?

I paid for it, and I'm entitled by law to know exactly what I am paying for.

Would you buy a car without knowing if there was an engine in it? I wasn't sure about the analogy, but there was no doubt he was agitated by my request. We went back and forth, saying he had no idea (this is the assistant publisher and promotions). I finally asked that if he didn't know, then could connect me to someone who does.

I will have to find out who it is and I'll email or call you back tomorrow.

I did not expect to see that email or get a call the next day, and I was right. I checked the prices of the books published by Xlibris and most of the 11 associated self-publishers, and their retail prices are extremely high too.

I let a month go by before I called him to remind him that thirty next days have passed, and he made out he had no idea what I was talking about. I want the breakdown as I asked for. He flat out refused to give them to me.

That was the last time I spoke to him on the telephone (mid 2018) and I began an investigative mission to find out what press they used, what services, etc. At the same time, I was looking for a new publisher. It was the that publisher (not associated to iUniverse or Author Solutions), and he told me that they used exactly the same press, distribution channels, etc, as iUniverse. He said they were always transparent about the costs and after asking me how many pages was in my first book, he then told me the cost total to the finished product was $6.48, and with distribution/shipping/retailer fee (varies, but this is calculated for Amazon and Barnes &;;;; Nobles sales) my total cost is $10.38 which leaves a discrepancy of $15.61.

Would you believe they are, or appear to reaping th benefits of a traditional publishing house at the expense of the Indie author.

We are the ones who are losing big time... fake used book sales, and on our sales via retail outlets.

I terminated my accounts with iUniverse on January 4, 2019, republished the first two books at $11.99 each, published book 3, and now I am pre-editing the fourth book in the series, which I expect to ge ready in late spring, early summer, 2020.

In the meantime, iUniverse has not honored my notice, and despite three emails sent to three persons, they have ignored my emails and continue to try and sell on Amazon. My republications are up there, and recently, somehow, the current edition of the first book was marked as "No Longer Available" and the iUniverse had put up the edition they are no longer have the publishing rights to. Amazon changed it back when I called, but it was a reader who sent me an email to complain that I was advertising it for $11.99, and she followed the link because it caught her interest, and asked my why it was $25.95.

That cost me at least one sale, if not more.

So take your pick when you use any of the Penguin Books/Author Solutions affiliations. They are all under the management of the same group.

TELLING IT HOW IT IS

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5 comments
Theia Qya

Thanks for the info unfortunately a little too late for me. They published my book last week.

I did get talked into an expensive publishing package as well as a very expensive marketing package. I know for a fact that several of my books have sold however when I look on Iuniverse sales report they do not show.

They told me it would take 45 days to show on the report. Hopefully I will get my royalties and things will go well.

Guest

Thanks for this information. I spoke with them this morning and you saved me a ton of grief. THANK YOU!

Garet Fnj

I am an aspiring author and really what to know what publisher (not associated to iUniverse or Author Solutions) do you currently use now?

Guest

A coworker published a book through IUniverse, and the book was constructed as though a toddler decided to try it's little hands at publishing.

Zaelyn Ius

Thanks for the info LosAngeles California. I suspect most publishers are scamming many authors.

List the names of all to be Leary Of please? If you know any that are to be trusted then please list them too.

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Anonymous
map-marker Campbell River, British Columbia

I WANT TO CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION

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I went to the Iuniverse web site and I can find nowhere that I can click on 'cancel my subscription.' I was told that the first month would be a dollar and then 10 dollars a month thereafter, but when I go to their web site I see monthly subscription with automatic withdrawal costing more than $200.
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User's recommendation: I am new to this company, but from my experience i am not happy

Shelly T Eqi

This review is from a real person who provided valid contact information and hasn't been caught misusing, spamming or abusing our website. Check our FAQ

Verified Reviewer

TOTAL SCAM

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I paid for their services, and the product they provided was cheaply printed and utterly worthless. I, literally, could have printed a better book at home with a better layout. They also priced it at an insane amount per book purchased. (almost $1/page!!!) No customer is going to pay that! Their customer service was reprehensible to boot.
View full review
Loss:
$600
Cons:
  • Entire publishing process
  • Inconsistent phone advice

Preferred solution: Full refund

User's recommendation: DO. NOT. EVER.

Larry M Eze

This review is from a real person who provided valid contact information and hasn't been caught misusing, spamming or abusing our website. Check our FAQ

Verified Reviewer

Cancel agreement

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iuniverse. is the worst Publishing Company. that you can deal with. it is my strong opinion. from personal experience. that you do not use iuniverse. company. they cheat you out of your royalties. I would try Rushmore press. anyone besides iuniverse. if I'm wrong and they returned my money. I will be happy to revise my review. please do not use iuniverse please.
View full review
Loss:
$1200
Cons:
  • It is all sale and no service
  • Poor communicaiton

Preferred solution: Full refund

Anonymous
map-marker Cary, Illinois

Breach of contract

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I entered a contract agreement with this company. I make the first payment, only few week latter it seems that no work has started. The second payment was taken from my checking without my knowledge. I asked the state's of the project or give me my money back. They agreed to return my money , I was told that I would have the money 7/10 day. Mr. Logan L. I'm still waiting for the money, Logan is declining to reply to my email s. I 30 days of my time, he got paid, stay away from this company, is fraud, scam for violation of contract.
View full review

User's recommendation: I don't recommend this company to anyone, incompetent team.

Lee D Eru

In July 2019, I self published with Iuniverse......big regrets. I spent $3,600.00 with this company .

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They promised a lot and delivered very little. I never spoke to same person. They have a continuous turn over of editors and each new person often had no clue as to what had been promised by previous contact. Communication was none existent after I paid all the money up front. I was treated like a child .
View full review
Loss:
$3600
Pros:
  • Good graphic design
Cons:
  • It is all sale and no service
  • Inconsistent phone advice
  • Misleading and fraudulent practice

Preferred solution: Drop price of book

User's recommendation: Do not publish with Iuniverse

Anonymous
map-marker Pasig, Manila

Iuniverse related company from Legaia bks

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I got an email off a newish looking self publishing (or VANITY/RIP OFF) company (i think related to IUNIVERSE) pimping for business on my very 1st ever book i did. I actually put this book on amazon kindle.

Anyhow here's the mail. I do all my own promotion. This gets me sales, book publishing offers (latest the Indian book offer). Guess I'll make newbie writers aware of this company.

Could be nothing but other writers need to know of this. ---

Hi Nick Armbrister,

I hope this email finds you well.

My name is Serena Miles, I'm from Legaia Books USA. The reason why I'm contacting you today is because of your book Fade into Focus, Focus into Fade. I understand that the book has been published for quite some time now and based on your book's current marketing performance I would like to invite you to get it featured on our upcoming Christmas Special for the Paperclips Magazine 2020 Issue.

In this upcoming December issue, Paperclips Magazine will be highlighting the biggest news and stories from the entertainment industry that unfolded this 2020 and key inside articles that our subscribers awaits.

We have featured the biggest names in the industry like bestselling authors and Hollywood decision makers - we want you to be part of our circle.

If you are interested with this opportunity please call me at my number 1 (91*) 827-**** or simply reply to this email.

Thank you!

---

I'll not take up their offer. If I wanted to get extra promotion on my 1st book I will but not with them. Do you think this is a spam scam wham bam NOT TO TRUST THIS COMPANY.

I do. I want other writers aware of this.

View full review

User's recommendation: be aware that this may not be real and may scam you

Anonymous
map-marker Raleigh, North Carolina

Scam based philosophy for doing business.

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Company sells "publishing services" to "wannabe authors", they take their money, make very little effort to market and sell books and then will not pay author royalties. .
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User's recommendation: All unsuspectFuture Authors should keep away from this company and others under the "Author Solutions" group name

1 comment
Guest

thanks

Michael W Wew

They don't know how to proof read nor help you till the end

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Iuniverse - They don't know how to proof read nor help you till the end
I dealt with this company back in 2009. They misspelled words in my book and didn't even bother proofreading it. It was published, but all the feedback was in the grammar of the book. I looked like a fool. I will never deal with this company ever again. I have two other books written now and I will not use them. Also, when you self publish, it's hard to get newspapers to pick up your story and no book signings. Many companies will not deal with self publishing companies. I spent well over 14,000 with these people, and what a waste of money. The Name of my book was "A Big House for Little Men" by Michael W McKay
View full review
Loss:
$14000
Pros:
  • Dropped the ball
Cons:
  • Too much money and bad people working for them
Reason of review:
Bad quality

Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution

1 comment
Guest

If you have not gotten back any of your money then contact the Indiana Attorney General and they will send you a form to fill out. It is worth a try to get our money back.317-232-****

Anonymous
map-marker Pasig, Manila

My view

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Hi I'm Nick and i did what 2 or 3 books with this publisher back in 07/08. Had no real issue with them but i hired an independent editor to deal with them and it was good.

Yes my books were well edited by my hired editor and i was pleased with the result. He decided to use Lulu publisher in 08 which i continue to use to now 2020. I'd advise all of you to use Lulu or Amazon Kindle to self publish. 'I use both now and am happy with the results.

It saddens me many of you were not paid royalty cash or were ripped off by 0000s of dollars. This company are snakes.Please report each issue.

View full review
Pros:
  • Good books result
Cons:
  • Low sales
3 comments
Guest

I got an email off a newish looking self publishing (or VANITY/RIP OFF) company (i think related to IUNIVERSE) pimping for business on my very 1st ever book i did. I actually put this book on amazon kindle.

anyhow heres the mail. i do all my own promotion. this gets me sales, book publishing offers etc. guess ill make newbie writers aware of this company.

could be nothing but writers need to be aware of this--- Hi Nick, I hope this email finds you well. My name is Serena Miles, I'm from Legaia Books USA. The reason why I'm contacting you today is because of your book 666136****66613. I understand that the book has been published for quite some time now and based on your book's current marketing performance I would like to invite you to get it featured on our upcoming Christmas Special for the Paperclips Magazine 2020 Issue.

In this upcoming December issue, Paperclips Magazine will be highlighting the biggest news and stories from the entertainment industry that unfolded this 2020 and key inside articles that our subscribers awaits. We have featured the biggest names in the industry like bestselling authors and Hollywood decision makers - we want you to be part of our circle. If you are interested with this opportunity please call me at my number 1 (91*) ***-**** or simply reply to this email. Thank you!

--- No way.

SCAM SPAM WHAM BAM we will rip you off. NO to this crap.

Guest

Hi Nick, I read your comment and thank you for doing so. I have also been ripped off.

The one that did so was Xlibris Publishing Company. You comment said: Good Quality book but sales were Low.

So why would you recommend them if authors want to make money with their work? .

Zayla Rss
reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-1928272

Hi i had 3 books done well with no issue on the books. I sold over 200 in all of the 3 titles.

That is 'low' in my eyes when i compare to my sales on Lulu publisher which are many times that compared to the iuniverse books. But it was just 3 books not 30 or a 100 and i was with them not long. If you wanna sell books use Lulu or Kindle. There are many companies online to do books.

Not iuniverse. I'd never recommended them with a 5 * review. Just saying my experiences. There are many bitter angry pissed off people/writers/authors on here.

Simply do not become one of them by avoiding iuniverse. I hired a professional editor and he worked with iuniverse as a go between. He made sure the books were top quality. When sales were 'low' he switched to Lulu.

Later on he taught me the dos and don'ts and i went from there without incident. Nothing like reported on the dozens of bad experiences on here. I'd of thought inuniverse would be shut down and cease trading from even ten of these bad experiences here.

What would it take to close the company? I do wonder.

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About

Related Companies

Najafi Companies, Xlibris, Authorhouse, Author Solutions, Trafford Publishing

Summary

iUniverse Inc. publishing and author marketing services provider, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing company. Initially focused on business-to-consumer print-on-demand publishing, the independent book publishing company has developed strategic partnerships that allow providing superior options and supporting for their authors. The company was established in October in 1999. iUniverse initially focused on publishing both new and reprinted titles. iUniverse helps authors get their manuscripts off their desks and into the marketplace faster than traditional publishing companies. The company offers following services: evaluation services, editorial services, formats, design services, marketing services, bookselling and more. It partners with The Writers' Club and the Writer's Digest.

Iuniverse reviews and complaints

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