Penguin's recent acquisition of Author Solutions is barely an indication of what is beneath the surface. For a traditional publisher as large as Penguin to add themselves to the mix of "self" publishing brings an annoying new challenge to those independent authors who have chosen to truly self publish. I'm talking about those true self publishers who hire and pay experts to provide services to get them up and running. I'm talking about those true self publishers who have their own distribution and marketing operations, and those who can't get a media person to look their way because the media are so busy selling their own titles on their own shows. (How freaking hard is it to get airtime for your book when it is your own freaking show?)
Penguin: Don't even try to continue to apply the term "self publishing" to the services provided by the companies you just acquired, because it gives the industry a bad name. They hijacked the term and we want it back.
Authors: So many hooks are dropping in the waters around you -- many have sharks on the other end of the line. Their revenue comes from you, not consumer sales of your books. Understand what you are signing before you enter into any contracts with businesses that use the term "Self Publishing company" if their own logo goes on the back or if your book will be in their own distribution account. Don't be fooled when they tell you "You own the copyright to your book" because you own it anyway. What you don't usually own with these companies are the layout of the interior and the cover they did; nor do you usually own the publishing rights for that book, and you may not own any subsequent formats for that book (like ebooks). Please know what all the terms really mean and don't get caught up in their nets even if they dangle big publishing promises on their hooks (as was indicated in the press release).