The Dark Side of Book Aggregators

The Dark Side of Book Aggregators

At 22 Lions Publishing, we have gained extensive experience working with various aggregators and book distribution companies in the industry. However, we, unfortunately, find it disheartening to admit that we have yet to come across a company that truly meets our expectations. It seems that every book aggregator, without exception, exhibits flaws and drawbacks.

We have made use of several platforms, including KDP, Draft2Digital, Smashwords,, Publishdrive, and Streetlib. Each of these companies has presented us with numerous challenges and disappointments. For example, KDP has suspended numerous accounts without proper investigation or explanation, based on false accusations. On the other hand, Draft2Digital has caused significant financial losses and has been unprofessional and insulting in their communication with us, leaving a bitter taste in our mouths.

Moreover, some companies, particularly those based in Holland and England, have displayed racist tendencies, insulting us solely based on our IP location. These encounters were utterly unacceptable and reminiscent of dealing with neo-Nazis.

Our experience with Publishdrive also fell short of our expectations, despite their claim of an extensive distribution network. Adding a significant number of new books to their platform resulted in only a minimal increase of $100 in sales. We also faced inconsistency in their book publishing process, where the requirements seemed to change arbitrarily, leaving us questioning their organizational abilities.

Additionally, Publishdrive recommends the use of AI for editing purposes but rejects books that detect it, raising concerns about their understanding of genuine content and their ability to discern quality. Their rejection of AI-edited content also suggests a preference for poorly edited books, which seems contradictory to their advice.

Unfortunately, over the years, we have encountered countless instances of ignorance, racism, theft, and insults within the book industry, which was once perceived as simplistic and straightforward. Regrettably, these issues are pervasive throughout the industry, and even Streetlib has not been exempt. Despite growing our book catalog from 100 to 400 books, and even adding multiple audiobooks, our income with Streetlib dropped to zero.

Through these experiences, we have come to the realization that bypassing aggregators and engaging in direct publishing leads to greater profit, despite the time and effort saved by using these services. It saddens us to say that there is no reliable company within the book industry. Every company we have encountered has shown varying degrees of incompetence, inefficiency, and unethical behavior. Even Publishdrive, which we consider the least problematic, still falls short of our expectations.

Draft2Digital has proven to be the worst of them all. We have firsthand experience with their unethical treatment of authors, including nonpayment for book sales and even having access to our own account blocked after filing a lawsuit against them. We find it deeply disappointing that a company like Smashwords, which previously held a reliable reputation, chose to be associated with such individuals. Although we expressed our concerns directly to the founder, our warnings fell on deaf ears.

We strongly urge aspiring authors to approach these companies with caution and skepticism. It is important to not believe everything they promise, as they often lead authors into a world of frustration and disappointment. Instead of being a helpful resource for authors and publishers, these companies often contribute to feelings of despair and disillusionment.

Our experience in the book industry has been far from what we expected. The systematic flaws, incompetence, and unethical behavior displayed by these companies hinder authors from realizing their full potential. It is disheartening to witness how these companies can sell authors a dream while subjecting them to a nightmarish reality.

Our success at 22 Lions Publishing has solely relied on our talent, but it has been significantly delayed by every other company we have worked with; therefore, we are continually searching for alternatives.

The industry remains riddled with imbecility and disappointments, making it tempting to give up. However, authors and publishers must persevere and find the path that works best for them. This may involve direct publishing or navigating the treacherous waters of book aggregators.

Unfortunately, many authors seek quick fixes, which ultimately leads to failure. The book industry is filled with empty promises. A long-term approach with a reliable publisher that secures your rights and helps improve your results is a safer investment. And yet, every year, numerous publishers come to an end.

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