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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Sales Outlets - An Update

Hello all.

Today's topic has to do with places to sell your books. You might not think that this topic is newsworthy. But there have been so many changes lately, that I thought a recap and update might be in order.

Paper Books

Outlets for sales of paper books haven't changed a great deal -- with a few exceptions.

I have recently learned that, if your book is available through Ingram Books (a large book wholesaler), Barnes & Noble may be willing to carry a few of your books, and allow you to do a book signing in one of there stores. (I have recently coordinated a book review in a newspaper with a book-signing at B&N. Both the newspaper and the B&N manager loved the idea.) This news may not seem earth-shattering. But it represents a toe in the door of the mega-bookseller.

Amazon continues to be the retailer of choice for most paper books. They will accept anything. They do charge some pretty hefty sales fees if you haven't published through CreateSpace. You can handle fulfillment yourself, or pay Amazon to do it for you. But Amazon is probably still your first, and best, option for paper book sales.

Of course, one should not overlook your neighborhood Indie Bookstore. If you or your book has a connection to a small bookstore's market, they are normally happy to take a few of your books on consignment, with a 40% sales commission payable to them. PLEASE NOTE: You can negotiate the commission . . . but I don't recommend it. Would you feel comfortable in the dentist's chair if you had just haggled him/her into giving you a half-price root canal? The same principle applies. You want to partner with the Indies. Give them the percentage that they're used to receiving and you'll get more support.

There is also an option you may want to consider if you'd like to get your books overseas. CPI offers POD printing at fairly reasonable prices -- about 100 British pounds for set up. Then book prices vary depending on dimensions, number of pages, etc. But the prices are in the ball park of reasonableness. If you're wondering how to market your books in the U.K., you'll probably want to connect up with Gardner Books. They're the U.K.'s leading book wholesaler. They'll stock five copies of your book and list it as available on Amazon, as well as making it possible to order your book through hundreds of bookstores in the British Isles.

Digital Book Options

On to some big changes in digital book selling.

As you probably have heard, Barnes & Noble has its new Pubit ebook publishing operation up and running. I know that Smashwords books were available through B&N previously. But having the Pubit brand, and the Nook Book designation, on your ebook will definitely help with its credibility. You set your price with Pubit. I believe they pay a 70% royalty. (It's in that vicinity anyway.)

The long-awaited Google Editions has finally arrived (sort of) as Google eBooks. I say "sort of" because they are still in the process of getting all of their titles posted to the site. And some of the book details aren't up yet either. Google eBooks will sell books in either ePub or PDF format. Again...you set your price and Google pays you 70% or so. But I have noticed that one of my books that is priced by me at $8.99 is being discounted by Google EBooks to $7.55. A little price competition is not a bad thing, especially when the authors get paid the same royalty regardless of the retailer's discounts.

Don't forget one of the first ePublishers in the business -- LuLu. LuLu has upgraded their look and their products. In addition to the original PDF-only format, LuLu now offers an ePub option. And they are making their books available in the iBookstore, too.

Smashwords is still a good spot to make your book available in multiple formats, and to get it to resellers like Kobo, Diesel, Sony, the iBookstore and others. Smashwords has just increased their author royalties to 70%. (I don't recall what they were previously.)

Of course, I can't leave out Amazon Kindle. Kindle still has about 70% of the U.S. ebook market. I strongly recommend that you make your book available in Kindle format. (BTW, don't use a Smashwords-converted file to upload to Kindle. It won't look very good.)

My latest discovery is called XinXii. They are the E.U.'s largest ebook site. If you want a European market, I would definitely give XinXii a try. No upfront fees. Decent payouts. New markets.

Summary

I know that there are other publishers out there (eg. iUniverse, LightningSource, etc.) I just don't have personal experience with any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't good options to be considered, if you have the time and inclination.

Bottom line...there are more great places to sell your self- or indie-published books than ever. The more places you have your books for sale, the greater the chances of finding buyers. But whether you find more buyers or not, having your book available all over the web increase hits on search engines, and therefore, increases your book's overall exposure. And isn't that what we really want to see?

That's it for today. Thanks for stopping in.

John

2 comments:

  1. Fantastic sources, some of which I wasn't aware of. Food for thought! Thank you.
    Michelle

    Editor & bookworm

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for stopping in Michelle. And for your positive feedback. There are new sources almost weekly, it seems.

    And the above list isn't even exhaustive.

    Cheers!

    John

    ReplyDelete