AOL Time Warner Shuts Down iPublish

Posted on December 7, 2001

AOL Time Warner has closed iPublish.com, its electronic publishing venture. Through iPublish.com, writers submitted work which was reviewed by an online peer review system. Submissions were read and reviewed by other writers in the iPublish community; some of the more popular submissions were also read by iPublish editors. Each month, iPublish selected three books out of the submitted manuscripts to be published as ebooks and eventually as print-on-demand titles. Time Warner officially launched the iPublish.com website in May, 2001, but development and planning of the online imprint began about a year before the launch date.

``Sadly, timing is everything in business, and sometimes being too early is as harmful as being too late. The market for ebooks has simply not developed as we hoped, '' said Laurence J. Kirshbaum, chairman of Time Warner Trade Publishing in a statement.

Shortly after its debut, iPublish received harsh criticism from the Authors Guild which provided a list of complaints about the iPublish.com publishing contract. Despite the criticism, iPublish still received a large volume of online submissions from writers hoping to be published and promoted by Time Warner. Although iPublish was a considerable investment by Time Warner, the epublishing project was not given much time to run. The iPublish.com publishing community service was active for a little over seven months. The iPublish.com ebook imprint started in August, 2000 with a monthly list of ebooks. Most of the 29 employees that worked at iPublish will be let go.