Outsourcing is likely behind the number of recent author complaints about customer service from Xlibris, the Philadelphia-based print-on-demand subsidy publisher. In early August, Xlibris laid off about 35 customer-service workers and moved their jobs to the Philippines. Xlibris CEO John Feldcamp told PW that the job shift was long planned.

Some Xlibris authors had complained about a lack of information about the production status of their books or an inability to reach customer service representatives. "It's an outsourcing story," explained Feldcamp. "Our production operations have been overseas for a few years. It's just too hard and too costly to staff a business like ours in downtown Philadelphia."

Xlibris, Feldcamp said, has now gone from a staff of 65 based in the U.S. and 50 overseas to 25 U.S. staffers and 220 overseas. The cost of labor in the Philippines, he said, means the company can "hire three times the number of customer-service people." He attributed author complaints to "a new team of people in new jobs. There's a million new details and then you have to fix the problems. It's not surprising that some authors were not happy with the process, but the problems should be corrected now."