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Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Publishes First Ever Hybrid Publisher Criteria

Thursday, February 22, 2018   (3 Comments)
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The nine-point criteria provide much needed clarity for an emerging publishing business model


(Manhattan Beach, CA - February 22, 2018) -- As part of its support for professional standards within the independent book publishing community, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – – today released a nine-point list of criteria defining what it means to be a reputable hybrid publisher. IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria is freely available online at

IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria requires that hybrid publishers behave just like traditional publishers in all respects, except when it comes to business model. Hybrid publishers use an author-subsidized business model, as opposed to financing all costs themselves, and in exchange return a higher-than-industry-standard share of sales proceeds to the author. In other words, although hybrid publishing companies are author-subsidized, they are different from other author-subsidized models in that they adhere to professional publishing standards. Regardless of who pays for editorial, design, and production fees, it is always the publisher that bears responsibility for producing, distributing, and ultimately selling professional-quality books.

Creating a clear list of hybrid publisher criteria is good for authors as well as publishers, according to Authors Guild Executive Director Mary Rasenberger.

"Hybrid publishers provide a good and important alternative for authors today," said Rasenberger. "They fill a demand from authors that neither traditional publishers nor self-publishing services currently meet. Yet, there is still a good deal of confusion around hybrid publishers and how to differentiate a reputable hybrid publisher from a vanity press. IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria provides much-needed clarity, sets strong author-friendly standards for hybrid publishers, and will no doubt encourage authors to consider hybrid publishing with greater confidence than before."

The impetus for IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria came from conversations within the IBPA Advocacy Committee, a nine-person standing committee tasked with developing strategies to address issues of concern to independent publishers. Over the past several years, the IBPA Advocacy Committee has watched hybrid publishing emerge as a business model occupying the middle ground between traditional publishing and self-publishing. However, despite increased interest in hybrid publishing from both publishers and authors alike, the IBPA Advocacy Committee could find no unifying, satisfactory description of what defines and is expected of a reputable hybrid publisher.

According to Maggie Langrick, CEO and Publisher at LifeTree Media Ltd. and member of the IBPA Advocacy Committee, "With the term ‘hybrid publisher’ left open to interpretation, there was a risk that well-meaning, but misinformed, business owners might misapply the label, confusing the market and inadvertently undermining the work of reputable hybrid publishers. IBPA’s Hybrid Publisher Criteria brings urgently needed clarity and consensus to this emerging model."

At the same time, IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria sets a high bar for excellence within the hybrid publishing community.

"These criteria are coming at exactly the right moment," said Brooke Warner, Publisher at She Writes Press and chairperson of the IBPA Advocacy Committee. "As hybrid publishing emerges as a legitimate business model, it’s essential that hybrids be held to the highest standard, and that we qualify and understand the difference between hybrid publishing models, service providers, and vanity presses. This effort showcases IBPA's strong commitment both to indie publishing and to publishing standards."

"Our hope is that this work helps hybrid publishers build better businesses based on clear and consistent best practices, thereby delivering excellence to author and reader communities," said Langrick.

IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria exists to support independent publishers and authors, but also to urge an industry in flux to acknowledge that books ought to be judged on their substance, not their business model.

"This is an exciting time for the book industry as savvy publishers explore new business models that allow them to reach beyond the confines of traditional publishing. IBPA's criteria for hybrid publishers will ensure the new hybrid model remains fair, ethical, professional, and sustainable," said Elizabeth Turnbull, Senior Editor and Partner at Light Messages Publishing and Torchflame Books and member of the IBPA Advocacy Committee.

IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria is housed on IBPA’s website at and freely available for any author or book industry professional to download. IBPA’s advocacy efforts in this regard, as well as other ongoing initiatives like IBPA's Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book, continue to reinforce the organization’s mission to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success.

Contact IBPA CEO Angela Bole at or 310-546-1818.

About the Independent Book Publishers Association

Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the US. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the tools and knowledge needed to professionally engage in all aspects of the publishing industry. For more information, visit


Frank Eastland, Publish Authority says...
Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Bravo! Well done, Team IBPA! Thank you for establishing these criteria and setting the high bar for excellence. This will benefit publishers and authors alike.
Tom Doherty, Blue River Press says...
Posted Friday, February 23, 2018
Well done. I think the thought and execution of the criteria is a great service to the industry. But, that's what we've come to expect from IBPA.
David L. Hancock, Morgan James Publishing says...
Posted Friday, February 23, 2018
Great idea! Well done. I'd recommend a certification program on top of this to earn revenue for ibpa and to add value to the publishers and give them an upper edge in competition.

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