ISBN APPLICATION: As in the case of traditional publishing, the author does not have to be concerned with the process.
PUBLISHING TECHNOLOGY: The author does not have to worry about this either. (FYI, printing will be POD – print on demand – so books are produced only when needed. And, since it will be expensive to produce just one (or a small quantity of the) book, that can be very costly.)
COPYRIGHT: The author retains copyright (usually for the work only).
SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS: The authors keep all subsidiary rights (unless otherwise agreed).
LISTING: The book will be listed on major online sites like Amazon.com and the Apple iBook store, but this means little. It’s mainly for bragging rights. Don't expect huge sales no matter what they tell you. It'll be good for the author’s vanity, not the wallet.
UPFRONT COSTS: The author must pay all publishing costs as determined by the company, which can be very high. (Basically, by baiting the author’s ego, the higher their ego, the more they’ll pay.) They will also hard sell to encourage you to buy the more expensive options. They know how flattery works. (Choose smaller publishers wherever possible; they tend to be less evil. Ask friends.)
CIP REGISTRATION: Internet self-publishing companies do not provide CIP (Cataloguing in Publication) registration. This can be important if you’re considering the possibility of library sales. It’s also an indirect (and recorded) assertion of the author’s copyright that will be deposited with the Library of Congress. (Read about it here: https://www.loc.gov/publish/cip/faqs/#self)
MARKETING: All marketing is controlled by the company and paid for by the author (even when the company ‘offers’ local bookstore placements).
BUYER BEWARE: Please research the company before jumping in. Please read both the positive and negative reviews. They employ some smooth talkers!
QUALITY: The final product may not be of the quality you expect. (Please research. Read Google reviews before giving them all your money).
HARASSMENT: Expect relentless harassment by telephone and email.
SELLING PRICE (RRP): This is determined by the company and can be much too high for the local market because the pricing could be in USD, GBP, AUD, etc.
PRINT ON DEMAND (POD): These companies don’t stock books but depend on outsourced (POD) services. The books are printed only when there is a buyer. This is another reason for the books being so expensive.
AUTHOR COPIES: Authors will typically receive 5 ‘free’ copies but can buy more at a discount of 30 to 60%, which can be more than the market value of most books in your market.
FACE TIME: In most cases, don't expect a face-to-face meeting with any professional from any (big) company. You should, as far as possible, choose a small local establishment. (Also, it’s good to support your own village/town community instead of Amazon)
ROYALTY: Don't assume that you will receive high royalties. It can be as low as 10% for books sold on Amazon. Read the fine print. Ask questions. Read Google reviews.
DIRECT SELLING: The author has little chance of directly selling books due to the high production costs.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Choose your company carefully; read reviews, especially the bad ones and beware of sharks. You may lose more than your pants. (You may also assume poor production quality and design and no editing.