Author Solutions, Inc., parent company of POD self-publishing services AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, and Trafford, is nothing if not an inventive marketer.
Last year, ASI debuted "gift" publishing ("First-of-its-kind Service Allows Gift Buyers to Make Loved Ones' Dreams of Publishing a Book Reality"). Then, this past weekend, ASI hooked up with the AARP to offer publishing incentives to older people attending the AARP Life Festival in Chicago. Over-50 authors were eligible to "get their age in free books" just by agreeing to publish with AuthorHouse. The catch? Authors had to agree to buy one of AuthorHouse's more expensive Premium packages--and to talk to an ASI "publishing consultant." Based on the stories I've heard about ASI's hard-sell phone tactics, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the authors wound up buying more than just publishing.
What's next? Your weight in free books?