Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware discusses the different options and how the lines have become entangled or deliberately blurred. She takes you through the history of self-publishing and vanity presses, and asks some important questions, like:
Is self-publishing keeping 100% of the profit from sales? Is it owning your ISBN number? If the company that produces your book takes a cut, or if you use its ISBN, are you by definition vanity published, even if you didn’t pay an upfront fee? Is any print-on-demand publishing service vanity publishing, or are there meaningful differences between them?She does more than ask questions, though. She gives you her definitions of Self-Publishing, Assisted Self-Publishing, Vanity Publishing, and Deceptive Vanity Publishing. She not only defines the categories, she names companies that fall under each.
Her article is definitely one to read and save.