Personally I wonder if some of the criticism is a little harsh. The formatting service is more expensive than other options of doing it yourself, but that's true of any "premium" option that gives you ease of use. Sure, if you did everything yourself it would be cheaper, but you're paying for convenience.The primary criticisms are that Book Country’s services, which range from $99 to $549, are much too expensive—“vanity press, pure and simple,” writes one commenter at The Passive Voice—and that Penguin takes a cut of 30 percent cut of royalties authors earn from third-party retailers like Amazon. In other words, an author who directly uploads his or her work to Amazon receives a 70 percent royalty. An author who uses Book Country to upload his or her work to Amazon receives 70 percent of that 70 percent. An author who publishes a $2.99 e-book directly on Amazon will receive $2.05 for each sale. An author who publishes an e-book to Amazon through Book Country will receive just $1.47 for each sale.
I'm less sanguine about the 30% on every copy sold, but I also can see Book Country's statement that they are offering a service that allows really easy print and e-publishing in a way that doesn't exist through other services. All e-distributors that make books available through all vendors charge a fee, it's up to authors to decide if 30% is worth it for them.
What do you think?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/no ... publishing
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-t ... vices.html