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December 17, 2012

Vantage Press Closes
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:03 AM * 25 comments

One of the oldest of the vanity presses, Vantage, has apparently closed up shop.

Founded in 1949, Vantage is/was one of the pay-to-play publishers that only cared about an author’s writing ability as far as it extended to writing a check. Like other vanity presses, Vantage’s primary market was its own authors.

Following an attempt to save money by relocating from New York City to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, this year, Vantage apparently ceased operations in November, without notifying all of its authors. Some are reporting that they suspected something was wrong when their October royalty payments were missing, others that they found out when they were unable to order their books through Ingram’s. In the last two weeks, Vantage has removed its Facebook page, closed its webpage, and abandoned Twitter. Their blog is still up, but hasn’t had a new entry since March of this year, and they’re still on LinkedIn (which still lists their New York address).

My suspicion is that the easy and free availability of electronic self-publishing is what put the final stake through this vampire’s heart.

In other vanity-publishing news, Author Services Inc, the POD-vanity group that has been buying up other vanity presses (e.g. Xlibris and iUniverse), and fulfilling the vanity-publishing arms of some otherwise-respectable publishers (e.g. Westbow for Thomas Nelson and DellArte Press for Harlequin), has reportedly been bought by Pearson.


Comments on Vantage Press Closes:
#1 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 10:12 AM:

Ah, mornings: vanity press == clothes closet for person fond of their appearance...

#2 ::: mneme ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 02:29 PM:

No, a vanity press is a fancy iron, isn't it?

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 03:04 PM:

No, a vanity press makes much smoother vanity than the old-style drip vanity makers.

#4 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 03:19 PM:

Of all the vanity presses, Vantage at least made half an effort, taking out adverts in the NYTBR and similar publications.

I'm not much, but it's a lot more than the more recent rounds of FL-based s/c/a/m/s "presses."

#5 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 03:51 PM:

Wasn't Vantage a brand of cigarette?

#6 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 05:50 PM:

No, Vantage is an Aston Martin model. Presumably the press is for making the body panels.

It's also an IBM mainframe storage management package from Competitor Acquisitions. (That is probably Too Much Information.)

Conceivably it may also be a desert topping and a floor wax.

#7 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 06:15 PM:

Cadbury Moose (6): A desert topping? Would that be sand, or cactus?

I think a vanity press is what they use to smooth out the tops of bathroom counters.

#8 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 06:15 PM:


While I was in college, my father gave them my name because he knew I was writing, and somehow thought they might 'help'.

It took getting married and two moves to lose the stupid emails. Even then I was smart enough to understand money should flow toward the writer.

#9 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 11:10 PM:

In 1952 Vantage published "Driftwood" a book of poetry by Thomas Burnett Swann.

#10 ::: Ellen Asher ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 11:33 PM:

Ken Houghton @ 4: IIRC, Vantage took out those NYTBR ads under court order. They got sued for failing to do the promotion that they'd promised their authors; need I say that they lost?

#11 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2012, 11:35 PM:

More than "that they'd promised their authors." That their authors had paid for.

#12 ::: Charlie Stross is Gnomed. Again. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 12:17 PM:

Yep, sounds like $BUSINESS_MODEL simply dried up and blew away.

Same thing happens regularly in the computing biz. Who else, today, remembers Mark Williams Company's Coherent OS? (TL;DR: it was a consumer grade System 7 UNIX clone for PCs, costing $99 back in the days when a UNIX license cost $BIGNUM. It died at almost exactly the same time that Linux officially hit Version 1.0. Sales basically fell off a cliff.)

I'm wondering what other business models are about to go bye-bye thanks to the ebook format shift ...

#13 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 01:05 PM:

Ah, Cadbury Moose, another who uses that expansion of the acronym. Everyone I've used it with who hadn't heard it does a back-check to CA, and then says "ah, yes. Of course." Exactly my reaction when *I* first heard it (having worked with two of the companies that have since been Acquired).

#14 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 03:57 PM:

I used to do proofreading for Vantage. Very few were worth it, i.e., funny in a bad way; most of them were just unpublishable in a paid-money kind of way. (They paid me, though. In a stingy way.)

#15 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 04:39 PM:

Good to see you here, Scraps! Thanks for the interesting information...and a real chuckle at your verbal wit.

#16 ::: Jason King ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2012, 09:06 PM:

I am an author with Vantage Press. I was trying to call them last week to ask a question. Nobody picked up the phone. How are they going to close without letting anyone know? I know they don't think the authors will be ok with this. I wish they would just sell rights to another company or something. This sucks. If they don't have their stuff right by Feb 2013 and going to talk to my lawyer

#17 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2012, 11:54 AM:

Whoops! Apropos #12, yesterday was not a good day for my brain. What I meant to say, was: there seems to be a recurring pattern by which an incumbent niche business is ticking along nicely, making its proprietors a decent income, until a new business model downloads itself from Planet Internet, installs itself, and completely undermines the revenue stream. At which point they dry up and blow away like tumbleweed.

The vanity presses appear to be the latest victim of this pattern, because AMZN -- in an attempt to either boost their number of long-tail offerings, or to undermine consumer expectations of how much they should pay for trade books, or something -- have accidentally rolled over in their sleep and crushed the entire field flat. And the ebook format shift and the self-publishing self-help chorus ("why do publishers take so much money out of our pockets when we can just hit "Compile" in Scrivener and generate an ebook! It's theft!!!!11!!!ELEVENTY!!!") only serves to increase the pressure on the vanity presses.

#18 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Starting in the late 1970s, my grandfather's law partner published over a dozen volumes of bad poetry through Vantage. We kept the one where he memorialized Grandpa. I think he sent them as December presents to friends & clients.

You can find some samples here.

#19 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2012, 05:07 PM:

Whoops, found an online bibliography, it wasn't Vantage, it was "Pond-Ekberg", and then "Veridon".
I don't think he was under any illusion that they were more than a printing service. Pond-Ekberg seems to advertise itself as just that.

Hm, Veridon was in New Rochelle, NY, where Al lived, I wonder if it was his own imprint? I found an ad for one of his books in a The Rotarian from Nov. 1988.

#20 ::: Craig R ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2012, 02:43 PM:

There 8 titles from Xlibris in the advert space on Making Light's right side...

#21 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2012, 02:59 PM:

Not surprising, Craig.

Vanity-published authors will do amazingly worthless things, including buying blogads, in an attempt to get noticed.

#22 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2012, 06:05 AM:

With Pearson buying Author Solutions, I have to wonder why. It's a multi-national buying a set of brands with a low reputation. The amount of money spent looks like enough to set up their own self-publishing support division, with a new brand. And when Amazon did the same for PoD, they ended up re-branding the division with a new name.

This looks more like a deal made by accountants than a deal made by publishers.

Incidentally, as a multi-national, it's possible they could sell self-publishing in other markets, without entangling the authors in the US income tax system. That entanglement is one of those "don't touch it with a bargepole" indicators for me. Again, why should fixing that need the brand they're buying?

#23 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2012, 04:31 PM:

Mary Aileen @ #7

Um, my profreddeur had no chance of spotting that one. "Desert topping" may well involve Land Rovers, camels, scorpions or all three. (Yikes!)

Mycroft W. @ #13

Their "company song" was fairly infamous, and I wish I'd manage to acquire a copy of it.

#24 ::: Joan Beard ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 12:38 PM:

My Aunt Elnora Worder published a book through Vantage Press called "The Killing Fields of Third World Women". How can I get more copies since Vantage Press went out of business?

#25 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 01:53 PM:

#24 Joan Beard:

Go over to

Search on the title.

You'll discover that up to nine copies are listed used, at prices starting around fourteen dollars.

You could check with your aunt to see if she has any copies; she might want to either seek commercial publication or self-publish a reprint edition.

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