Earlier this week, Penguin Group, part of Pearson Plc., added self-publishing services to Book Country, its community writing site. According to paidConent, self-published authors using the site have allegedly been calling the initiative overpriced, royalty-grabbing, and "truly awful."
Book Country's services range from $99 to $549. Uploading books to major e-tailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is free. In a statement, Penguin said that the tools offered by Book Country "are not intended to be the least expensive in the market" and "what you get on Book Country is not the same as what you get at these other free sites."
Penguin also takes 30% of the royalties an author earns from publishing with third-party e-tailers. That is, an author who directly uploads her work to Amazon receives a 70% royalty; an author who uses Book Country to upload his work to Amazon receives 70% of that 70%. Thus, an ebook that retails for $2.99 would leave an author using Book Country with $1.47 for each sale.