Mar 24, 2009

iUniverse cover quality

As I've been researching POD options, I kept thinking that all the price levels and comparative service packages are a distraction. So the company offers cover design at a reasonable price - but are the covers professional and effective? So they offer editing - are their editors skilled and qualified and motivated to do a good job? That kind of thing. In other words, I want to actually see the books to see if they look good, and read them to see if they're full of mistakes.

My first face-to-face encounter has been with a small perfect-bound paperback iUniverse book. Whose cover curls. And not just a little bit - the damn thing stands open like you've put a mid-sized rodent in there as a bookmark. Front and back, from the day it was brand new to its present well-read state. This lead to all sorts of shenanigans as I was reading and reviewing it, because it was just so damn annoying I had to set something on top of it whenever I set it down. My friends would joke about it and poke it when they came over.

The offending cover, compared to a book that's behaving itself rather better

There were other problems, like the gutters were too narrow and the editing was so poor in places (both in the "this story is confusing and has obvious gaps and errors" sense and the "wow, there's another typo" sense) that I can only hope that the author didn't use iUniverse's in-house editing services. But those things are only really evident once you've bought the book and are sitting down to read it, so in a sense they're less immediately important than the cover, which I think has both turned me off of recommending this service to authors and given a number of my friends a poor impression of POD books.

The very nice customer service fellow I talked with at iUniverse tells me that although this does happen, the company hasn't recieved any official complaints about the matter. Well, now I guess they've got one.

Has anyone gone the POD route and seen this problem?


Kristen said...

A friend of mine published through iUniverse, and his cover did the same thing.

Lulu has decent covers (they don't curl up at all, but they're glossy), and AuthorHouse covers aren't bad, either.

Erin said...

Thanks Kristen - that's good to know. I've been trying to get AuthorHouse to send me exemplars, but I've yet to recieve them. It's good to know that the Lulu covers are better.