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January 28, 2021
By Jim Milliot
With hybrid publishing on the rise, the IBPA developed a nine-point list of criteria defining what it means to be a reputable hybrid publisher.

As hybrid publishing becomes a bigger part of the publishing business, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has developed a nine-point list of criteria defining what it means to be a reputable hybrid publisher.

[Note: this article was originally published in February 2018 and was updated on January 28, 2021]

The goal of developing the guidelines is to "help hybrid publishers build better businesses based on clear and consistent best practices," said Maggie Langrick, CEO and publisher at LifeTree Media Ltd., and member of the IBPA advocacy committee.

Under the hybrid business model, authors help subsidize the publication of their book while the publisher is responsible for producing, distributing, and ultimately selling professional-quality books. Authors also receive a higher royalty rate (usually around 50%) than the standard paid by a traditional publisher which typically ranges from 10% to 15%.

Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger said that IPBA’s creation of hybrid guidelines “provide much-needed clarity” to help authors “differentiate a reputable hybrid publisher from a vanity press.” Since vanity presses and self-publishing service providers don't offer the full range of services that hybrid publishers do, Rasenberger believes it is important authors are aware of the differences. "Hybrid publishers provide a good and important alternative for authors today," Rasenberger added. "They fill a demand for authors that neither traditional publishers nor self-publishing services currently meet.”

Brooke Warner, publisher at She Writes Press and chairperson of the IBPA advocacy committee, added that the criteria "are coming at exactly the right moment." She went on: "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."