Simon & Schuster has announced a new self-publishing imprint, Archway Publishing. The imprint is run by Author Solutions, a vanity press with a long and questionable history. Here are a couple of blog posts on the subject. These contain individual opinions,but the bloggers' numbers appear to be correct based on a quick look around the Archway site. Please be very cautious about doing business with anyone who claims to be representing Penguin who may really be trying to sell you services through Archway. A traditional publisher NEVER asks for money up front.
This may sound familiar because Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, purchased Author Solutions in July. (Here's an opinion on that: Penguin’s New Business Model: Exploiting Writers) My personal opinion: Big publishers need to look for innovative ways to increase revenue. Valid options include starting e-book-first imprints and lowering or eliminating advances while giving authors a greater royalty rate. They do not involve lending the publisher's name to a shady and overpriced vanity press.