Simon & Schuster, Hay House, and Lulu.com are among the companies that have gone into partnership with Author Solutions, which is the subject of two lawsuits. The second lawsuit describes the Author Solutions approach:
Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its authors, not for them. It does so by selling books back to its authors, not to a general readership, and by selling its authors expensive publishing, editing, and marketing services (“Services”) that are effectively worthless.
Why would reputable companies like these publishers, as well as Barnes & Noble and Writer's Digest, ally themselves with a company with such a bad reputation?
Follow the money.
On the excellent Let's Get Digital site, David Gaughran gives you the full scoop--I recommend that you read it here.