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Xlibris Review: What You Should Know About Xlibris Publishing

Written by

Scott Allan

https://selfpublishing.com/author/scott-allan/

Published on

2020-04-09

You’ve made the decision to write a book, and now you’re researching if Xlibris Publishing is the right choice for you. 

Researching the leading self-publishing companies is a smart, and necessary, action that many first-time authors unfortunately don’t spend enough time doing. 

Like many other first-time authors, you probably landed on Xlibris Publishing through a quick internet search, and the services on the company’s website piqued your interest. But is it the right publishing company for you? 

As part of our efforts to help empower authors to make educated decisions, we’re taking a close look at Xlibris Publishing so that you can make an informed choice.

A Note To Our Readers:

We want you to make informed decisions when it comes to how and where to invest your money. That’s why our mission is to help educate authors on the various self-publishing companies and services that are on the market today.

Our reviews are meant to be unbiased, 3rd party reviews. In full transparency, we are part of the Self-Publishing School family, an online education company for authors and entrepreneurs looking to write and publish a book.

We’ve exposed everything there is to know about Xlibris so you can decide how to move forward and write and publish your book!

Related: How to Write a Book

Here’s an overview of what we’ll cover in this Xlibris review:

  1. What is Xlibris?
  2. Xlibris Publishing Packages and Price
  3. Xlibris Review: Pros and Cons
  4. Other Xlibris Reviews
  5. Alternatives to Xlibris Publishing
  6. Xlibris Final Rating

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What is Xlibris Publishing?

Xlibris is a self-publishing and on-demand printing company that produces hardback and paperback books. Xlibris also publishes eBooks in several formats.

Xlibris states three promises to authors:

  1. To create and deliver a first-class quality book
  2. To deliver to your timetable
  3. To suit your budget

Who owns Xlibris Publishing? 

The company, founded in 1997, was acquired by the self-publishing company Author Solutions, Inc., in 2009. Before that, 49% of the company had been owned by Random House, one of the big five publishers.

Author Solutions is the parent company of several of these self-publishing companies and imprints, including: AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, and Xlibris.

Why is this important?

Author Solutions is renowned for publishing scams and being the umbrella company for the numerous vanity publishers in the market today.

Yes, Xlibris is one of those companies. But, before you make up your mind, we want to make sure you have an in-depth overview of the company, what they do, and what to expect before deciding to invest.

Let’s begin by taking a closer look at the products and services Xlibris has on the market.

Xlibris Publishing Packages and Cost

So what type of services does Xlibris actually offer? And more importantly, how much is the investment? 

As with all book publishers, Xlibris has a host of publishing packages to offer potential customers. These packages range in service, pricing and quality depending on what you need.

You’ll notice on the Xlibris Publishing page that you’ll first have to select a color package: 

  1. Black and White Publishing. Features grayscale interior for simple print books in fiction and nonfiction genres.
  2. Full Color Publishing. Features full-color printing for specialized books like children’s books, cookbooks, photo books, and catalogs. 
  3. Specialty Publishing. Provides printing services specific for those who have individual needs. 

Each color option has different packages with varying services and prices. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on the most common color service: Black and White. 

Here is a breakdown of the packages offered by Xlibris. 

Standard Publishing


$1,099 - $6,099

See what’s included below.

Color Publishing


$1,499 - $6,499

See what’s included below.

Canadian Author


$3,799

See what’s included below.

#1 – Basic Package: $899

The Basic Xlibris Publishing Package includes what you’ll need to turn a manuscript into a quality paperback book.

Your book will be listed and available for order on Xlibris’ network of online retail outlets worldwide including Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and the Xlibris online bookstore.

A brief overview of some of the services and materials included here are:

The Basic service includes:

  1. Design features: Choice of Eight Book Cover Templates, Choice of Five Interior Templates, Cover Images and Author Photo
  2. Production features: Paperback and E-book format
  3. Other features: Book production tracking, electronic galley, 1 round of alterations and corrections (up to 25 corrections)

For a breakdown of everything included, you can check the Xlibris Basic Publishing Package here.

#2 – Professional Package: $1499

The Professional service combines Xlibris’ publishing features into a more robust package.

It includes all the services of the Basic Package plus more books, U.S. Copyright, and Library of Congress registration, more design options, and hardback availability.

The overall package costs $1499. For a breakdown of everything included, you can check the Xlibris Professional Publishing Package here

#3 – Custom Package: $2,099

The Custom Xlibris Publishing Package combines all features of the Basic and Professional services.

Included are customization options for your cover, extensive inside pages, and advanced marketing tools.

The overall package costs $2099. For a breakdown of everything included, you can check the Xlibris Custom Publishing Package here.

#4 – Premium Package: $3,999

The Premium package from Xlibris includes everything in the Custom package in order  to design, build, distribute, and market the book. 

It is the package you need to deliver a fully customized book to the marketplace.

The overall package costs $3,999. For a breakdown of everything included in the Premium package, you can check the Xlibris Premium Publishing Package here.

#5 – Executive Package: $7,799

This includes everything the previous packages have, plus some additional features and incentives. 

It includes more books, an exclusive leather-bound edition, additional marketing services, more customization options, and extensive promotional tools.

The overall package costs $7799. For a breakdown of everything included in the Premium package, you can check the Xlibris Executive Publishing Package here.

Note: This is where you get into spending some real money. If you are publishing one book, you’ll need to sell a boat load to recoup your investment.

While Xlibris claims to provide you with tons of marketing tools, most new authors don’t know how to use these tools effectively to begin with.

The package looks like you have enough here to launch your book out of the universe, but without a proper coach to navigate you through this, you’ll be spending money on materials and resources you won’t know what to do with. 

#6 – Platinum Package: $15,299

The exclusive Platinum Package offers a bunch of publishing privileges that includes everything from the previous packages. 

The additional features included are:  24/7 ultra-personalized service, multi-platform promotional opportunities,  a book video with professional voice-over, a social media set-up guide, display space at one book exhibit, enhanced online exposure, and more. 

The overall package costs $15,299. For a breakdown of everything included in the Platinum package, you can check the Xlibris Executive Publishing Package here.

You can check out the Xlibiris publishing to see all of the goodies the package includes. You are paying some big dollars here so you better be prepared to get overwhelmed.

But just know that without a book coach to walk you through the marketing distribution, you’ll struggle figuring out how to implement any of this.

Also, Xlibris is charging double, if not triple, the price for several of these services. 

To give you one example of how these so-called “special services” are marked way up, Xlibris charges $249.00 for your book to be copyrighted. This is because they send in all the “special forms.” 

There is nothing special about this. You can register for your own copyright here: https://www.copyright.gov/. It will cost you $55.00 and takes 10 minutes to fill out the online forms. Xlibris charges four times more for the same thing you can do yourself.

Questions to consider when choosing an Xlibris Package

Now…I know these packages (especially the most expensive) look impressive. It’s offering you everything except for a movie deal.

But ask yourself these questions before choosing Xlibris:

  • How much of it do you really need, and:
  • Will you recoup your money back?
  • What support does Xlibris provide to put all this into action?

Let’s take a look at what the real customers are saying. Reviews from past authors can tell you a lot about a publishing company.

But first…

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Xlibris Review: Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to almost every publishing company, Xlibris Publishing included.

Throughout our research, we stumbled across several points that could be considered pros and cons of each. 

 Here is what we have found for Xlibris…

The Pros

These advantages were compiled based on our research and online reviews from past customers of the Xlibris Publishing company. 

  1. Done-for-you-service: If you’re looking for a done-for-you service, don’t need full creative control over your book, and can afford the fees, Xlibris might be for you. BUT, you still have to market the book yourself. 
  2. Versatility. Wide range of publishing packages and services to choose from means they likely offer a printing package to meet your needs.
  3. Customized timetable. This means that you can choose a specific timeframe for publishing.
  4. Multiple genres. Xlibris has publishing capabilities across multiple genres: Memoirs, fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, or cookbooks.
  5. Full-color capability customized to suit your needs, especially if you are publishing a specialty niche book. 

The Cons

The cons are taken from customer reviews and our own research into comments posted from past customers.

  1. Poor quality control. Authors have reported numerous mistakes with book content after editing and proofreading.
  2. Author Solutions. Since Author Solutions is the parent company and has a ton of negative reviews, we wonder what that means for Xlibris if the same people are in charge.  
  3. Not an educational resource. Xlibris is not a good fit for those looking to learn the process on how to write and publish a book.
  4. Worthless marketing packages. The packages include marketing tools that you can’t use unless you already have a solid audience and readership. The most important point these companies fail to tell authors is that you can’t market a book to an audience that you don’t have. Make a movie out of your book? Don’t fall for that one.
  5. Upsell harassment. Many have complained that Xlibris representatives are relentless in harassing upsell offers.
  6. ALLi Advisory Warning: Listed as a company to avoid by the Alliance of Independent Authors watchdog Desk advisory.
  7. Poor customer service: Customer service is rated “poor” after signing up.
  8. Weak royalty payout: Very little royalties paid out after the big promise of “loads of books sold.”
  9. Additional publishing costs: Even after paying thousands of dollars for their program, you get hit for more money, especially closer to publishing (as reported by reviews).
  10. Negative public reviews: Xlibris has a bad reputation as one of the companies under the umbrella of Author Solutions.

Other Xlibris Reviews

We encourage authors to ALWAYS do their own research when it comes to self-publishing. 

Spending just five minutes checking reviews online could save you from making a costly mistake.

First of all, the most reliable source you can utilize to check on any self-publishing company is found on the ALLi website: Alliance For Independent Authors. ALLi cares about the industry and its authors by providing real, up-to-date information on the best, worst and everything in-between when it comes to book publishing.

In order to monitor the self-publishing companies out there, and to prevent authors from falling for the scams, ALLi created its own watchdog desk to research the market. By providing up-to-date information on customer reviews and service satisfaction, the watchdog desk has proven to be a trusted source of information. 

What does ALLi say about Xlibris?

It’s clear that Xlibris is NOT recommended by ALLi. It has a poor reputation, the lowest rating, and has a “Watchdog Advisory” notification for authors. 

To be totally honest, if ALLi, the industries leading experts and watchdog advisory is warning authors to stay away, you don’t have to look any further for more evidence.

This rating is based on the collection of reviews and comments from extensive data gathering based on product quality, service, customer communication and delivering on expectations.

Here are additional Xlibris reviews, not just in terms of the imprint itself, but of its parent company Author Solutions: 

And here:

There are hundreds of negative reviews to be found by authors who claim they were ripped off, overcharged, or oversold by Xlibris.

Here are a few more examples:

In this post, authors have gathered to try and file a class action lawsuit against Xlibris:

Derek Murphy, founder of the top-notch site for authors Creative INDIE, made this video explaining why authors should avoid Xlibris:

YouTube video

Research more Xlibris reviews

Don’t just take our word for it when deciding whether or not to work with Xlibris – do your research! 

There’s an abundance of reviews online, so take a look yourself and use what you learn to make the best decision. 

For more reading, check out these resources: 

  1. Vanity Press Scams and Self Publishing Companies to Avoid
  2. ALLI (Alliance of Independent Authors), a highly reliable source for up-to-date facts and information on the most trusted services and publishers

Our best advice to you: Determine what your specific needs are in a self-publishing course or program before you commit to one company, and do plenty of research to make an informed choice.

Alternatives to Xlibris Publishing

Xlibris is not the only publishing company out there offering publishing packages and services. And looking at the prices they are charging, we are confident that you can do better without having to fork over your next three paychecks to publish your book.

We want you—the author—to be well-informed of what is out there so that you make the best decision on how and where to invest your money. Your future as an author is important to us and we want to equip you with the best solution for becoming a self-published author.

To be totally transparent, we offer author education programs through Self-Publishing School, an online education company for authors and entrepreneurs looking to write and publish a book.

If you’re looking for a program similar to Xlibris Publishing, our Become a Bestseller program taught by Chandler Bolt and team will walk you through the self-publishing process step-by-step, in a way that gives you total creative control over your book, and helps you write and publish the right way, while saving you thousands of dollars.

xlibris alternative

How does Xlibris compare to Self-Publishing School?

Here’s what Self-Publishing School offers aspiring authors for less investment than Xlibris Publishing (and way more value): 

  1. Specific learning paths tailored to fit your publishing needs. 
  2. Bestseller guarantee. We have helped thousands of authors become bestsellers through our proven framework.
  3. 1-1 coaching with an expert author.  All of the book coaches—successful published authors themselves—walk students through the process of self-publishing. 
  4. Online education with step-by-step guidance for self-publishing success, so you can learn how to write and publish a book, and use those skills to continue publishing more books.
  5. Mastermind community access. There is a community of 2,000+ authors in the Facebook Mastermind group to support each other.
  6. Full royalties and rights. Self-Publishing School does NOT take any of your book sales or royalty fees. You own all rights to your book.
  7. Education and resources on which outsourcing services (like cover design and editing) and printing service companies to use.  

Related: Self-Publishing School Review

And, if after publishing, you want to learn advanced marketing strategies, create an online course to accompany your book, and land speaking gigs to increase your reach, Self-Publishing School has personalized programs for all of that. 

Xlibris Final Rating

Our Rating
Based on our research into Xlibris (and Author Solutions) we give Xlibris 1.5 out of 5 stars.
1.5 review rating

Here is why we scored Xlibris with this rating.

As a new author, if I stumble across Xlibris, download their full color publishing guide and then book a call with one of the sales reps, I might be tempted to throw my money down on this publishing company. They seem to have a very impressive suite of publishing packages, including plenty of color and font options to make your book look highly professional. I’ll admit that, on the surface, it looks like a solid company that really understands the business of book publishing.

But, diving further into our research (remember what we said at the beginning: Always do your homework), not everything is as it seems. Xlibris—as mentioned above—is on the watchdog advisory list of publishing companies to avoid at all costs, according to ALLi. 

If this isn’t warning enough, we don’t know what else is.

In connection with the negative reviews posted online and the class action lawsuit against Xlibris parent organization Author Solutions, our conclusion is, this is another vanity publisher set up to grab your cash and leave you hanging.

Because our mission is fully centered around helping authors find the best solution for publishing their dreams, we strongly urge you to pass on dealing with Xlibris as the answer to publishing your book. It’s not, and you could be throwing away hard-earned cash better invested in a company with a solid reputation that gets results.

Always do your homework before signing and go with your gut on the best options for your book. This is your dream to become an author and bring your story to the world: Don’t sell it short!

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Like this review? Here are some other self-publishing companies we have reviews on:

  1. Self-Publishing School Review
  2. Balboa Press
  3. Christian Faith Publishing Review
  4. Author Incubator
  5. BookBaby Review
  6. Scribe Media Review
  7. Lulu Publishing Review
  8. Smashwords VS Draft2Digital Review
  9. Archway Publishing Review
  10. Zondervan Publishing Review

Have you worked with Xlibris? We’d love to hear your story!