How You Can Check The Reputation Of A Book Publisher

Reputation of a Book Publisher

One of the most frequent questions new authors ask is how to check the reputation of a book publisher.

With so many publishing options today, including unsolicited offers to publish your book, it can be challenging to know who you can trust.

A new author can ask questions on social media or blog comments, which can certainly help.

But it’s always better to check with more reliable resources before you decide to use a publisher.

Checking a book publisher’s reputation

Many authors choose to self-publish today.

It’s by far the easiest option, and you are in complete control of the publishing process.

However, many new authors still prefer to use a publisher, and there are good reasons for this.

If you can find a good publisher, it will take all the responsibility of publishing a new book.

But judging by the number of comments I have received about publishers to avoid, problems can arise.

It’s also difficult to define a publisher today.

The simplicity of the self-publishing process has made it easy for anyone to call themselves a publisher. Because of this, new authors need to be aware that there are many scam agents and publishers out there.

So how can you check the reputation of a book publisher before you sign on the dotted line?

There is no guaranteed method. But you can use online resources to check the standing of publishing companies.

If you are in discussions with a potential publisher, these checks will help you make a more considered decision.


1. ALLi Best Self-Publishing Services

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) maintains a comprehensive list of publishing services.

The Best Self-Publishing Services and the Worst: Rated is one of the most valuable resources for new authors.

You can scan the entries or use the search function to find a publisher or service.

ALLi publisher reputation

It’s a comprehensive listing with comments about each service to help you.

All entries are color-coded, making it simple to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It is the best site for new and not-so-new authors to help you with information about publishing services.


2. Better Business Bureau

While it is a US site, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a terrific source of information.

All you need to do is enter a publisher’s name in the search field, and if the publisher is a registered company, you should get a relatively detailed result.

Here’s the result of a search for a well-known publisher with a checkered reputation.

BBB check publisher details and reputation

The most valuable information is the list of customer reviews and customer complaints.

You should read these to help you make your decision about the reputation of a book publisher.


3. Writer Beware

The Writer Beware blog features an impressive list of articles about problematic publishers and book marketing.

It’s a vast resource that digs deep into the publishing industry. In its site description, it says it shines a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls.

Writer Beware

If you are considering a publisher, use the search function to see if there is any information available to help you make your decision.


4. ISBNdb

The primary use for ISBNdb is to find a book by ISBN or title.

However, when you search using the name of a publisher, it gives you quite valuable information.

The first is that you can see the number of books published.

Checking the publishing date for each title can also give you an idea of the publisher’s history.

ISBNdb search

The site is not strictly a database of publishers.

But it’s still a helpful resource you can use to find information about a potential publisher you are considering.


5. Every Writers Resource

The first thing to say is that this is not a very attractive site.

However, it does have a list of book publishing companies.

The results are somewhere between a review and a promotion for the companies.

So you will need to use your judgment about the results you find.

Book publishing companies

I wouldn’t base your decision on a publisher from the information on this site.

But it might be useful for extra information.


6. PubMatch

You won’t find any information about reputation on the PubMatch site, but you can check if a publisher is listed.

Again, use the search function using the publisher’s name.

If you can’t find the publisher, it’s probably a good clue to do more research.


But it’s a good site to use if you are looking for a publisher in your country.

The database contains a huge listing, so you are sure to find publishers to consider.


7. Check the reputation of a book publisher’s website

Just because a publisher has a website doesn’t mean much. Anyone can publish an attractive site.

But a website can give you clues about a publisher.

Here are some essential items to help you check a publisher’s reputation.

1. Is there a physical address?

2. Is there a telephone number?

3. Does the site display the names or photos of the directors or staff?

4. When was the business established?

5. How many books have been published?

6. Does the site offer a Free Publishing Guide in exchange for your contact details? It is a sure sign of a vanity publisher, so take care.

7. Can you find any titles on Amazon to check sales ranking?

8. Does the site include testimonials from authors?

A publishing company with a good reputation is open about its business and should respond to your questions.

When you check a publisher’s website, it’s also important to consider information that is not mentioned.

If you notice missing or incomplete information, such as a physical address or contact phone number, it’s a sign that you need to take extra care.



There are many considerations and decisions you need to make before agreeing to use a publisher for your book.

Always ask questions about what a publisher is offering you.

However, establishing that a book publisher has a good reputation is essential.

If you use all of the methods noted in this article, you should be able to get a good idea.

It might take you some time to do your research thoroughly. But it will be time well invested.

If you receive an unsolicited offer to publish your book, be careful.

It’s extremely rare that a reputable publisher would make an approach such as this.

There are many sad stories of new authors who jumped in too quickly.

Don’t fall for the trap of letting your excitement affect your good judgment.


Related reading: Paying A Vanity Press To Publish Your Book – Be Very Wary

3 thoughts on “How You Can Check The Reputation Of A Book Publisher”

  1. Where I can report a ghost publisher (scammer)? So, other new authors not get in the same trap as I am.
    Is new website I can use?

  2. I am interested in the hybrid publishers.
    When I read ALLI’s recommendation, they listed She Writes Press as “mixed.” So I wrote to Alli and asked why since SWP had received awards. They replied it was based upon costs for the services. On the other hand, ALLI did say they had received many commendations from authors who had received their services. So ALLI will change their evaluation next time to “recommend.”

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