With Open Access (OA) becoming increasingly popular in disseminating research publications, vanity and predatory publishers are also on the rise. These dishonest publishers exploit the OA model, existing on fees paid to them by the author.
Note: These types of publishers should not be confused with legitimate OA scholarly publishing, which whilst digital, online and free of most copyright restrictions, employs the same peer review and editing processes as traditional scholarly publications.
Vanity publishers are publishers that will charge the author a fee for publishing a book. While there are some instances where publishing with a vanity publisher is warranted, generally these publishers do not have any interest in promoting and selling the book. Vanity publishers do not get their money from selling the book, but rather from selling the book production services to the author.
Vanity publishers often target early career researchers who are seeking publishing opportunities or may offer to publish their thesis.
Vanity publishing usually:
Note that research publications published by a vanity publisher may not be eligible for HERDC/ERA reporting.
For an excellent account of an experience with a vanity publisher, see "I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm" by Joseph Stromberg.