book selling

How to Distribute Your eBook Worldwide




Your e-book(s) might be on for quite a while now, and it is certainly convenient for you to have them on the worlds’ largest e-book retailer.  But why would you miss out on sales from Apple’s iBooks (best revenue!), on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, any UK bookshops or whole salers, such as Waterstones, Gardners, or the large Australian ebookstore Angus & Robertson and maybe even sales to subscription services, such as Scribd and BookMate or to thousands of libraries through LibraryThing?

Living Outside of the USA?
If you are you living outside the USA, as an independent author and you don’t want to go through all the hassle with opening a US branch for your publishing business – and if you don’t want that aggregators (who call themselves often publishers) receive a fat commission every time your book is sold – for years – consider this option: eBookpartnership, a British company with an office in New York, and representation at the BEA in NYC.

Want to Keep 100% Revenue?
This British book aggregator, eBookpartnership, will upload your e-book to on- and off-line retailers, libraries and distributors and most important: does all the “book-keeping” for you.  Authors describe this global ebook distribution network as a “fast, efficient and friendly service”.  Their website is very detailed and informative.  Authors are charged a standard low annual fee per title no matter of how may retailers you choose to distribute your books to. Per title and per year it will only cost you a flat fee between: £20 and £50, depending on how many titles you give them to distribute.
Consider these Benefits:

  • Straightforward pricing and no commission
  • An extensive distribution network
  • Online sales and royalty reports
  • Flexible royalty payment options
  • No charges for metadata and pricing changes
  • No minimum tie-in
  • No need for exclusivity
  • Avoid withholding tax on US sales (for non-US residents)
  • You certainly can choose to sell through Amazon yourself

More About Distribution Through Aggregators:
Aggregators handle distribution, sales, accepting payments, and are managing your account with the online retailers.  Avoid those who take a 10 or even 15% commission for every book sold.  Read also about the experience of an author, detailed with all his sales numbers, costs associated and his comparison of revenue on several online retailer sites from Amazon, Apple (best revenue!) and Kobo to sales on his own website.

Not everyone has a Kindle, many folks are die-hard Apple iBook fans or using a Nook, or order from Kobo.  Why forego these sales?  Good to know:  there are alternatives to aggregators who don’t reduce your revenues – no matter how many books you sell.







Book Fairs: The Do’s and Don’ts



During these last days of the old year, equipped with brand new calendars, you might be sitting down to plan the marketing for your book(s) in 2014. Which Book Fairs or other Literary Events will you attend in the coming months to present your work?

Carefully Check Out the Fair Organizer
Before you sign up and spend any money, let the organizers show you how they promote this book fair in detail. Don’t settle for general statements, such as: “We advertise everywhere in the area” or “Our clients post it all over the Internet and on Social Media”. Rather inquire and ask detailed questions:

  • How many shows did they previously organize and how was the outcome?
  • Which advertisements did they purchase for this upcoming book fair?
  • To which audience (in follower numbers) and how often do they announce it on Social Media?
  • Which articles did they prepare and where will it be published, and to how many readers?
  • What is the percentage of recurring exhibitors?
  • Can they give you names of exhibitors / authors you might contact about their experience?

Make sure that organizing a book fair is not an attempt for this company to make a fast buck, but rather to promote authors and their books, considering that you have the cost of buying a table, transportation / parking costs, promoting, maybe accommodation and restaurant bills or even expenses to have a helper at your booth.
These tips might help you to evaluate if it is worth to attend the book fair.  I visited lots of great organized and promoted exhibitions – but here is an example how the event organizers and even authors can spoil the experience for visitors:

Can it Get Any Worse?
Last Fall I attended a Book Fair, organized by a large group of author-publishers. My expectations were pretty low, as I feared, it was not sufficiently advertised, such as in their earlier book events.  And it was in fact even worse…

Barely Advertised:
Instead of writing articles about the show, listing the authors that were present and rave about their books – and distribute these articles at least through all the local papers for free – there was nothing publicized…. Not even on Google+ nor on Goodreads’ free event sites was this book fair advertised, which would have cost them not a dime.
Only one promotional article about one of the organizers was published, also not directly about the show, but rather about his achievements in writing a huge number of books (which averaged exactly 72 copies sold per title…).
The book fair was neither advertised at local online magazines nor in print (for a very low fee) in newspaper event pages. Even their own website did not show a proper invitation for the public – instead an announcement for members to purchase a table at the show.  Members were encouraged to send out tweets to the public to purchase a table!  Did they mean instead of visiting a book fair to rent their tables? A promotional disaster!

Inconvenient Layout:
The book fair was set up on the second floor of a recreational facility. The room itself was very long and narrow, a wheel chair could barely roll through between the tables, without touching books and throwing them to the floor. I watched as visitors were polite and stepped back or sidewards to let wheel chairs pass. When looking at the books or purchase something, the people in wheelchairs felt embarrassed as they blocked inadvertenly the whole aisle.

Self-Published-Looking Book Covers
Only two of about 150 books showed a professional cover – all others screamed: “self-published”. OK, some of the covers could work for a print book, potential customers in bookstores could read all the details on the front and back cover, but they were mostly available as e-books too, and I imagined them on Internet retailer sites, among many other books with professional covers displayed … where they would be difficult to read due to the small print.

Lack of Displays
Most of the books were laid out flat on the tables and visitors had to lean over in order to read the title. There are so many inexpensive Acryl presentations available to show books upright!  Just visit a trade book fair, such as Book Expo NY, Frankfurt Book Fair and see how professional publishing houses present their books. Or get a video from these fairs on YouTube to see how a book presentation should look like.

Only one of the authors at the show had a background display – a real attention-grabber – showcasing the cover of one of his titles. It was one of these roll-out display posters that one can carry very easily, being not much bigger than a golf umbrella when dissembled ……. URL
Other book exhibitors did not invest a single dollar in display and had in the best case a copy of their book cover or a 8×11′ black & white computer print-out “poster” with the book title on it, pinned to the wall behind them.

No Credit Cards
Everybody knows how easy it is to spend money when you don’t have to pay with cash. I overheard several times that patrons said: “I have to leave it with this one book, as I don’t have enough cash with me”. Another said: “I just found out by chance about this book exhibition, but I don’t have any money with me”.
So, why not making it easy for customers and accept credit cards or any of the new ways of paying digitally? Nothing easier than this: use one of these “Square Cards” or bring your smart phone of iPad with you and let people pay, using their PayPal account – or even better, sending you the money by email / online banking (available at Canadian bank accounts, not sure if available in other countries) – right at your exhibition booth! Make it as easy as possible for people to buy your books!

Approachable or Unfriendly?
For a couple of hours I watched authors how they approached potential patrons, at their book tables. I asked everyone of the authors, why they wrote this book (lots of memoirs there!), what’s the background of their novel, or how long it took them to write it, how they were promoted it. It was a mixed bag: Some where cheerful talking about their writing process, the background story etc., while others only asked which one of their books I wanted to buy, and when I was not taking out my purse right away, they turned around and talked with their neighbors. Wow, I was pretty astonished – and guess who’s books I bought?

One Book Seller Stood Out
Her book, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride was available in print and digital form. She bundled both, similar to the book bundles that Amazon offers now. And almost everyone of her print book customers bought a digital version too, which she offered for only $1 at a promotional price, either for themselves or as a gift. How she did it? She brought two tools her: an iPad and a small poster. As soon as someone declared to buy the paperback, she pointed out to her poster and showed them her Amazon page on her iPad. When readers saw the official book price on Amazon and compared it to her offer at the book show, they could not resist to get the e-book too.

Why make all the effort to write and spend the money to publish a book?  I know that some of these authors at the book show had paid thousands of dollars to a Vanity book company to get their book(s) “published”. Why then not invest a couple of dollars in presenting their work properly?
Again: Writing is an art – Publishing is a business! I hope these examples give you food for thought and encourage you to present your books professional at this year’s book shows. And a word to book show organizers: Don’t just fleece authors and sell tables, but offer them value in promoting the book event professionally. You can do it even for free, using all these new media possibilities out there!




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Tagged: BEA, book display, Book Expo America, book fair, book selling, book show, event organizers, Frankfurt Book Fair, Kathleen's Cariole Ride, Margaret Kell, Organizer of Book Fair, OTTAWA

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