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The Problem With Book Returns and How to Solve it

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Bookstore
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Bookstores rarely host signings by self-published authors — maybe if the author is local and offers books in consignment.  “Why not?” I asked a bookseller.  “We can’t return them.  When we order books from self-publishing press, such as CreateSpace, the books are non-returnable. If the store can’t sell them, then they’re stuck with them, and lose money.
Archaic practices in the publishing industry allow bookstores to return unsold books, often just weeks after their debut – for full purchase price.  No risk for book sellers, but lots of frustration and loss for authors.
Trade publishers ship books on a refundable basis – pretty much a novum in retail –  so if a book store orders 30 copies and only sells 20, they can return the 10 unsold copies and will receive a refund, meaning no risk on the site of booksellers. 

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Booksellers Don’t Stock POD
Most booksellers will generally not stock POD books because they can’t return the book if it doesn’t sell and the percentage they get is lower. Printing one book at a time is more expensive per book (usually twice as expensive) than publishing a few thousand.
“That’s why many self-published authors can’t get their books into the large chains,” he explained. “It’s all about non-returnability. We only order the blockbuster titles they know they can sell. Books-a-Million, one of the book store chains, for example states it does not allow POD books into it’s stores at all.”

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Solution for Authors
However, author-publishers don’t need to be stuck with the current system of bookstore returns:
He pulled up several examples for me on his computer of self-published authors who use Lightning Source and offer both “Regular discount” (i.e 40%) and return-ability. He orders these books through Ingram/LightningSource, just like books from traditionally published authors. So it’s possible with Lightning Source, at least. The easier authors make it for independent booksellers and the big book chains, the more likely they will be treated like mainstream authors – if their books are well edited and have an attractive cover.

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Offer Both: CreateSpace & LSI / Ingram Distribution
If you don’t plan to sell many books, CreateSpace works fine. But if you DO plan to sell lots of books, you will earn a lot more from LSI (LightningSource Inc.) with a 20% discount than you will from CS with a 40% to 60% discount. Those setup fees everyone complains about at LSI are meaningless, compared to the difference in per-unit margin.  You will make up the difference in set-up fees within the first 100 books you sell.
in order for bookstores to order them you have to make your books returnable. In average, bookstores return about thirty-five per cent of the hardcovers they buy, according to the NEWYORKER and publishers (or author-publishers, that’s you!) write off the cost of producing those books. Don’t forget to deduct these returns from your tax.
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Benefit: Book Signings
You will be able to have book signings at Barnes & Noble and other stores, taking part in store events if you distribute for example through LSI / Ingram. Bestseller Author Stephanie Chandler wrote a great article how to sell to bookstores and also offers a free Consignment Agreement form for you to download and modify if you want to make an arrangement with a bookstore to carry your books as a consignment. Her statement: “It certainly can’t hurt to place your books at a few stores, but it probably won’t lead to fame and fortune!”  – It might work with an author who has a strong local following.  Last but not least: there is even some shifting in booksellers attitude towards the author-published books, read more about it in these blogs:

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/
to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,020 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Book Sales

 

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How to Distribute Your Book to Stores

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Bookstore

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Distribution of your book to stores is one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to author- publishing, compared to how easy it is to get your print book into Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Apple. And then there are discounts, returns and commissions… not to speak of waiting times till your invoice is paid. Book distributors & wholesalers take care of all this – for a price.
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POD print and distribution
For small amounts of print books, say less than 2,000 books, an author is better off to have it “printed on demand”, done by CreateSpace or by Lightning Source, who are also the distributors. The printing might be higher priced, but you can decide on discounts and there will not be any returns from book stores for unsold books, which can be costly. POD produces only after receiving orders.
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Distributors
Let’s assume your book sells like hot cakes and you would like to have it distributed to book stores. So, how to find a book distributor? And should you go with a big, national or a smaller distributor?
An advantage to small distributors (often specialized in certain genres) is that they often know their bookstores better than larger distributors. The orders tend to be smaller but more realistic. Returns with larger distributors to bookstore chains can be very high: 30% returns is expected, but it can be as high as 70%.

Another option is to make an arrangement with a medium-size publisher who already has a distribution deal and a sales team. For a percentage of the sale, they could include your book in their catalog, which goes out with the sales reps to book stores across the country, and their sales team will present your book. Some publishers may want all the attention for their own titles, but some may like the idea: there’s no printing cost for them, for instance. Their catalogs are produced 5-6 months in advance.

Many large US book distributors won’t take you on before you have at least five to ten books in print. They might also want you to have a sales team who will present your books to booksellers, to show that you are willing to move those books. They also prefer a contract for a certain number of years. Another issue with full service distribution is that they take a minimum of 20% commission, but it will often be closer to 30% if you’re a small publisher. Check them out before signing with any book distributor. Talk to their customers (both publishers and bookstores) to verify they would be a recommendable company for you to work with.
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Be aware of these book industry distribution arrangements

  1. Discounts: Bookstores get ($8 when a $20 book sells) or in percent, a 40% discount from the distributor, big box stores often get 45%.
  2. Returns: Bookstores can return books back for credit against future orders, on average, about 30% of their initial sales might be returned. Paperbacks are not “stripped” so they can be shipped out again when another bookstore orders them. However, distributors may charge for warehousing of returns.
  3. Commission: Sales reps work on commission and only gets paid when books “sell through” (sold to the consumer). The distribution company also works on commission, which is one of the reasons they are so picky about taking on non-validated clients: if the books don’t sell through, they lose the money they have spent storing and shipping the books, their commission is usually 25-30% ($5-6 on a $20 book).

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Direct Sales via your website
There is an even more lucrative way to sell your print book and distribute it: through your own website. You keep 100% of your revenue, and you know exactly who bought your books. Valuable data that you can use for promotion of your next book releases. The only “work” you have, is to stuff envelopes and ship your books once or twice a week – or more if you sell a lot. Setting up a PayPal account and an ordering form on your website is pretty easy. Direct selling means that you can make almost three times the amount per book than you can make, compared to a sale through traditional bookstore distributors.
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Book Fairs
Comb the Internet and regional newspapers for Book Fairs. Rent a booth or share one with other writers and have fun to meet readers in person, sign your books, maybe even meet library buyers and book store owners – and keep 100% revenue. Authors could even band together and exhibit at national and international book fairs, such as New York, Edinburgh, Leipzig, Bologna or Frankfurt. If ten or more authors for example share the cost for exhibition, travel and accommodation, it seems to be visible.
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Consignment at Bookstores
Some local independent bookstores will take books on consignment. A 60% to you, 40% to them split might seem a bit unfair to the uninitiated, but it’s the standard in the book trade. If sales are really good, some bookstores will offer to buy your book or you offer it to them which saves on paperwork and hassle. In this case you might offer them 50% discount.
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Fazit:
Small publishers and author-publishers with at least 3 books might be better off with Lightning Source / Ingram and CreateSpace combined – until their book sale numbers are into the several thousands – also due to the print on demand possibilities that both companies offer.

Lightning Source connects you with the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. In addition to distributing books through their parent company Ingram Books, they print to order, which means, your book is printed and ready for shipment in 12 hours or less. With over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries your titles will gain the maximum exposure.

Lightning Source / Ingram work  with over 28,000 publishers of all sizes around the world. They deliver digital, print, wholesale and distribution services through a single source, and makes it easy for you to reach more customers in more places.

CreateSpace has slightly lower print on demand fees and set up fees per book, but it doesn’t get you into Ingram worldwide distribution. They offer something, called the Expanded Distribution Channel: “the potential to distribute your book to a larger audience through more outlets including: retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers, and distributors.” Well “potential” which means actually nothing! If a bookstore is really willing to order a single book from them, they will deliver…
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Whole Sale and Book Distribution in USA

  • BCH Fulfillment & Distribution – BCH is also a vendor for Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. BCH offers 24/7 telephone order taking, an on-line catalog, representation at major trade shows, and more.
  • Atlas Books – Distributes online, via wholesalers, and commissioned sales reps. AtlasBooks is the distribution and marketing arm of the BookMasters Group which represents small to mid-size publishers.
  • Midpoint Trade Books – works with small and medium size publishers. No catalogs, so they can take on new titles any time of the year.
  • National Book Network – Distributes for 85 publishers, they offer Print on Demand, starting at 20 books
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Book Whole Sale / Distribution in Canada:

  • North 49 – trade book wholesaler with an inventory of over 3000 bestselling books from more than 500 publishers from Canada, UK and USA
  • Librarybound – a wholesaler delivers Canadian books to libraries (fulfillment orders only, no warehousing)
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More resources:

Distributors and Wholesalers, compiled by IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association
https://www.ibpa-online.org/resources/distributor-wholesalers/#.UWlwW7VO-So

Create Space Vs Lightning Source
http://write2publish.blogspot.ca/2011/02/why-create-space-is-better-than.html

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With more than 30 years experience in both, print and now e-publishing, we can provide you with many more tips, background information and support – additional to the huge amount of promotion you get in our online and off-line seminars. http://www.111Publishing.com/seminars

 

If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 940 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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Why You Should Have a Print Book Too & POD

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Private Library

Photo Credit: Alex Duret Lutz

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Paperbacks or Hardcover – to Sell More of Your Work?
Many successful authors will tell you exactly how to do start as a real publisher with their books and blogs – from Dan PoynterAaron Shephard to John KremerJoanna Penn and JoelFriedman. Author David Gaughran wrote in one of his blogs: Making Money from Paperbacks  ”I was really slow to see the potential in print, and it was probably the biggest mistake I made over the last years.”
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Why should you have a print book and not the digital version only? In a former blog post we listed lots of reasons for this:

  • The majority of book buyers still chooses printed books at the moment (that will change)
  • You can give out review copies to newspaper/magazine or book blog reviewers
  • To be hosted at local media / TV interviewers who want to show a copy of your book
  • To sell your book easier to libraries
  • To participate in a Goodreads Giveaway –
  • To sell your book to those who really don’t want an e-Reader or just love paper books
  • If you write non-fiction it is almost a MUST to have it in print
  • You have an ISBN number and can get listed with Bowker at WORLDWIDE bookstores
  • Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas – unless you put an e-book on a new e-Reader and wrap it
  • To sell more e-books! Yes – because they seem to cost so much less in comparison…
  • To list your book in more categories / genres on Amazon: per book type you are allowed to choose two categories / genres. Two print and two digital versions – which increases your books’ visibility and also shows you exactly in which genre you have the most success.
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Espresso Book Machine

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During your pre-production phase you acquired already a bar code (for your print book) and an ISBN, the International Standard Book Number, a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books published anywhere in the world. How to get one? Or better a block of ten, if you intend to write more books. BTW, the price of a block of ten is the same as buying only two ISBN’s.

Good news for authors in Canada: ISBN are free for Canadian citizens, publishing a book in Canada – no matter were it is sold. But that’s not the only benefit for the publishing industry in this country.
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Selling your e-book on Amazon doesn’t necessarily require an ISBN, you will get automatically an ASIN, Amazon’s identifier. Other retailers may require an ISBN, such as Kobo URL for example.
ISBN numbers are assigned by a group of agencies worldwide coordinated by the International ISBN Agency in London, England.  In the United States, ISBN’s are assigned by the U.S. ISBN Agency: R.R. Bowker is the independent agent in the US for this system. You can apply for an ISBN online. On average it takes about two weeks for ISBN’s to be assigned. Getting your own ISBN is very important, as the initial purchaser of this number is considered officially as the publisher. Don’t fall for “free” ISBN and don’t purchase it from other sources than the official organizations.
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Plan and Calculate Printing Carefully
Unless you have hundreds or even thousands of paperback orders, it doesn’t make sense to have your book printed the traditional way. Book printers expect a run of at least five thousand books to give you a reasonable price per book. Avoid to be one of these authors who have a garage full of books and no idea how to sell them ever. Get your distribution channels (more about this in one of the next blogs) first and then order your printing.
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For Small Print Runs Consider “Print On Demand”
CreateSpace and Lightning Source are recommendable POD’s who offer small print quantities and are distributing your book to wholesale and retailers. They have changed the book publishing landscape considerably. The issue of discounts and returns (the banes in book selling) are one of the primary reasons you might use them. Getting into Lightning Source (LSI) requires you have at least three books for sale. If you have only one book, you can band together with other authors, however, one of you has to be the official publisher. You can get your book into Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com with only a 20% discount, and you avoid accepting returns.
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Use BOTH POD Services for Best Results
Printing through Lightning Source is the least expensive way to get your book into Amazon.com. If you get into Amazon via a distributor or the Amazon Advantage program, you’ll pay a slightly higher discount. Lightning Source is owned by Ingram, so when you sign up with LSI and pay $12 per year (per title), you get your book into Ingram’s large distribution network.
The benefit of CreateSpace: it’s owned by Amazon and your book will always show as available on Amazon’s website. However you can go with both to get full advantages and broader distribution of your book.
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For Just a Few Copies Use “Espresso Book Machine”
If you don’t want to have print books, but would like to have a book signing or your grandma wants a copy of your book in paper, use either a print shop that offers digital printing or any of these Espresso Book Machines that are sprouting up in large cities. You certainly can order it online from them and get it shipped. Their prices are a bit higher, but if you need a bunch of books “yesterday” then it is a good option. Locations can be found at their North America Map.
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Traditional Book Printing
Finding a cost effective Book Printer who wants to deal with a small publisher requires a bit of a search. Most printers can print books but few printers are professional book printers. There are only about 50,000 printers in North America and only a handful of them are book printers. Few book printers want to work with the first time publisher. Get referrals from other writers, check out books in your library that often shows the name of the printer or ask at writer seminars others about their experiences with printers. Don’t just order it from the first book printer you cross, get at least ten quotes for printing & binding prices, including shipping costs and references to have enough points to compare. Then ask those printers to give you titles of books they printed, and even maybe contact the independent authors, who dealt with the printer. A Google search or the Better Business Bureau regarding the printers reputation might be helpful too. Sample printing calculations can be found here:http://www.selfpublishing.com/

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TIP: Expect at least about 2-3 weeks in average including freight, but this depends heavily on your printer’s schedule – The earlier you book, the less time you need to budget. Add at least ten days as a safety margin for unforeseen’s, such as lost freight, weather disasters, machine breakdowns and other delays. A great source for detailed information about the printing process and explanations of trade-specific “slang” can be found at http://www.creativemindspress.com/printing.htm

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Use the Print Time to Spruce Up Your Marketing Efforts:

  • Plan and advertise the book launch (FREE on Google+ and Goodreads)
  • Start a Goodreads Giveaway (1-3 copies)
  • Get as many pre-order for your book as possible
  • Increase Social Media efforts and sign up with even more reader forums
  • Spruce up your web page and write lots of blogs
  • Prepare news / press releases
  • Schedule interviews and book signings
  • Use Google+, Flickr, Pinterest etc. to show your new books’ cover image

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The book release date is not the end of your book journey, but the beginning. Your book should have an active life span of at least 2-5 years, and much longer for an e-book, as it is a living document and can be revised to a new version any time. You now have almost a full-time job of being an author, and should continue to perform all of the marketing activities in a smart way. Use the content of your book to write articles – maybe even get paid for it.
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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.international-ebooks.com/book-promo to advertise your new book, specials or KDP Select Free Days.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 930 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Publishing, Self-Publishing

 

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Survival Guide for Small Print Publishers

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Vintage-Phone
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Books are always very popular gifts for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions. Imagine: someone in Australia saw your print book on Amazon or read about it on Twitter or Google+ and would like to order it, but doesn’t want to pay high shipping fees. To get new readers and buyers of your book in other countries, it is almost essential to have it printed on demand and distributed worldwide – and also to be present in catalogs for library purchases.
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Would You Like to Have Your Paperback Sold Worldwide?
Author-publishers with at least three books might be better off with LightningSource / Ingram and
CreateSpace combined – until their book sale numbers are into the several thousands – also due to the
print-on-demand possibilities that both companies offer. So, if you are an author with three or more books, read on:
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LightningSource
connects you with the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. In addition to distributing books through their parent company Ingram Books, they print to order, which means, your
book is printed and ready for shipment in 12 hours or less. With over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and
booksellers in over 100 countries your titles will gain the maximum exposure.
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LightningSource / Ingram
work with over 28,000 publishers of all sizes around the world. They deliver digital, print, wholesale and distribution services through a single source, and makes it easy for you to reach more customers in
more places.
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CreateSpace
has slightly lower print-on-demand fees and set up fees per book, but it doesn’t get you into the Ingram
worldwide distribution. They offer something, called the Expanded Distribution Channel: “the potential to distribute your book to a larger audience through more outlets including: retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers, and distributors.” Well “potential” which means actually nothing! If a bookstore is really willing to order a single book from them, they will deliver, but they don’t offer it actively to all bookstores.
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Don’t Let You Discourage
Recently some self-publishing authors were taken aback when LightningSource recommended them to use the new IngramSpark distribution program.  Aaron Shepard wrote on October 3, 2013 in his blog:
“Reports have it that Lighting Source is turning away potential clients—self publishers and other small
publishers. They’re being told to sign up for IngramSpark instead. You know IngramSpark—the service
that insists on a 55% wholesale discount for bookstores and can’t (or will not) send you a physical
proof.”

“Fortunately, I have learned it’s all a bluff!  Yes, Lightning will tell you that you’re really better suited to IngramSpark and should sign up there instead. But all you need to do is come back and say you don’t want IngramSpark, you want Lightning Source. That’s the magic key that lets you in. The gate is not actually locked, they just want you to think it is.  Maybe no one at Ingram understands that, if you limit new publishers to a 55% discount, they might just as well stick with CreateSpace EDC at 60%. The 5% difference simply is not enough to justify bothering with a publishing service with different technical requirements.”
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Read the whole story by Aaron Shepard, THE print publishing guru at
www.newselfpublishing.com/blog/#IngramSpark3. He wrote two books, every author should read: Aiming at Amazon and POD for Profit

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More information about LightningSource, Ingram and CreateSpace book distribution:
CreateSpace, LightningSource – or Both?  A guest blog by author Linda Austin.  And How Do You Distribute Your Print Book? at SavvyBookWriters.com

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-Book-PR.com/book-promo to advertise your new book, specials or KDP Select Free Days.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 900 of them : ) – if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

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http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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How Do You Distribute Your Print Book?

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wikimedia.org/wikipedia/common

Worldwide Distribution Credit wikimedia.org/wikipedia/common

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In a recent blog post – How Much Does Self-Publishing Cost? and earlier, Distribution of Your Print Book and CreateSpace, LightningSource or both? – we explained how to distribute your printed book. “Self Publishing With Amazon, CreateSpace, and LightningSource:” Print-Book Self-Publishing Guru Aaron Shepard, author of the famous Aiming at Amazon set up a few guidelines that will help new author-publishers:

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  1. Start with CreateSpace to most easily, efficiently, and reliably handle sales to Amazon, your biggest market. One exception is, if LightningSource is better able to produce your book. For instance, Lightning now has color offerings that beat those of CreateSpace either in quality or in affordability. 
  2. When and if your sales are high enough that an extra 10% to 20% is worth doubling your effort, and if you want to have your book worldwide distributed, add Lightning Source.  And for heaven’s sake, read POD for Profit, so you understand what you’re getting into. 
  3. At least at first, set your list price to …     Read all of Aaron Shepard guidelines, and his explanations for everyone, interested in print publishing and distributing books – maybe even worldwide.

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More distribution tips:
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http://www.newshelves.com/2013/03/28/why-you-need-lightning-source-and-createspace/
“LightningSource allows your book the chance to be ordered in many countries overseas that CreateSpace does not.”

Terri Giuliano Long, Boston College teacher and bestseller author wrote a great blog post about self-publishing platforms and book distribution possibilities:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-giuliano-long/self-publishing-platforms_b_2810092.html
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Indies Unlimited gives this advice: When you upload your book and publish it through CreateSpace, it’s important to make sure you tick off the section that will enable your book to be distributed in Amazon Europe also. This is part of their basic deal and does not involve the Expanded Distribution feature so it does not cost anything extra. When you are on the “Distribute” tab, go to “Channels” and make sure you have checked “Amazon Europe”.
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All these information are for books that are printed-on-demand (POD), directly by the distributors.  In case you have done an excellent marketing campaign BEFORE you even finished your book – and especially if you have a targeted readership already for your non-fiction book, or huge amounts of pre-orders:  you also can print conventionally and distribute/ship the books yourself or with the help of a full-filling/shipping company.
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More about LightningSource and CreateSpace:

http://www.newselfpublishing.com/CreateSpaceEDC.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning_Source

https://www1.lightningsource.com/default.aspx

https://www1.lightningsource.com/benefits_small.aspx

 

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 830+ of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

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Do You Know How Much Royalties You Will Get?

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Royalties

Royalties

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What are your royalties?  10%-30% from the list price, 10% of the wholesale price, 20% of the payments received by the publisher, 30% of the price as it’s listed on our website, 50% of net receipts, 45% minus printing costs, 60% from gross…  One of the most confusing aspects you must face when choosing a POD service printer, is trying to figure out what they mean when they speak misleadingly of “Royalties”.
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POD printers that are paying a percentage of the retail price as “Royalty” are straight forward and you have the advantage of knowing where you stand and what to expect. You get what they say, usually 10% from wholesale sales, 25-30% from retail sales – hopefully more…
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There are other printers who are a little less straight forward. For example, they might pay you 20-40% from your retail price, but they won’t pay you any royalties at all for the first three copies sold each quarter. Is this a fair “hidden” charge? It depends on the number of copies you are selling each quarter. If you sell less than 10 books, then it’s very high, if you sell 1,000 it becomes almost negligible.
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Don’t Lose Money
You might get an offer for a fixed percentage of the retail price that seems to be extremely attractive (30-35%)… before you jump on board, make sure that they work through Ingram, Lightning Source and other distributors. If they can afford such royalties because they only sell their books through their site you could end up losing money…

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POD Direct Book Sales
Some POD printers offer you a percentage of your retail price, but only for direct sales. When it comes to wholesale sales they give you a percentage of the wholesale price. Infinity Publishing is such a company, they will pay you 20% of your retail price on direct sales, and 10% of the wholesale price on books sold through other channels.  For a $15.00 book with a 40% wholesale discount it would be $3.00 on direct sales and $0.90 on wholesale – not acceptable!
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Other Charges
Even if you can buy your paper book at a discount in order to resell it, you’ll still have to pay other charges, and how can you offer it for a competitive price to bookstores?  But why do you have to buy your own book? You already paid for the printing, didn’t you?  It means you pay TWICE for your book… and on top of that bookstores can return books if they are not sold within a certain time.
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CreateSpace / Amazon
offers do-it-yourself publishing packages for free upload of your paper book but you need to create your own cover and interior and submit it correctly edited to CreateSpace. CreateSpace recommends its free do-it-yourself packages for people with design experience (or you just hire a graphic designer).  CreateSpace offers packages that are similar to publishing packages offered by other self-publishing / POD companies, but starting for only $299.
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CreateSpace eStore
20% of list price per sale, this means if someone orders it from CreateSpace’s e-book store on your authors page, you will receive 80% (minus the production / printing cost, mines tax and shipping).
40% of list price per sale means: you will get 60% of the list price per sale (minus the production / printing cost, minus tax and shipping).  Expanded Distribution Channel:  60% of list price if ordered by bookstores, libraries etc.

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But as with almost all POD companies, you pay for printing and then you have to give them a percentage of your sales for the distribution and the rest that is left is wrongly called a “royalty”.
Read how you can cir-cum-navigate this and become your own publisher without (or with less) Print-on-Demand / “Royalty on Demand”.

More on royalties:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royalties#Book_publishing_royalties

http://www.rachellegardner.com/2009/11/how-book-royalties-work/

http://www.shawntellemadison.com/book-royalties-calculator/

http://writerunboxed.com/2011/11/28/11-frequently-asked-questions-about-book-royalties-advances-and-making-money/

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/seminar

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 750 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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Distribution of Your Print Book

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New York City - Manhattan

New York City – Manhattan

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A proud moment for every author: to discover their book in a bookstore or library. However distribution of your book to stores is one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to publishing, compared to how easy it is to get your print book into Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Apple. And then there are discounts, returns and commissions… not to speak of waiting times till your invoice is paid. Book distributors & wholesalers take care of all this – for a price.
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POD print and distribution
For small amounts of print books, say less than 2,000 books, an author is better off to have it “printed on demand”, done by CreateSpace or by Lightning Source, who are also the distributors. The printing might be higher priced, but you can decide on discounts and there will not be any returns from book stores for unsold books, which can be costly. POD produces only after receiving orders.
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Distributors
Let’s assume your book sells like hot cakes and you would like to have it distributed to book stores. So, how to find a book distributor? And should you go with a big, national or a smaller distributor?
An advantage to small distributors (often specialized in certain genres) is that they often know their bookstores better than larger distributors. The orders tend to be smaller but more realistic. Returns with larger distributors to bookstore chains can be very high: 30% returns is expected, but it can be as high as 70%.

Another option is to make an arrangement with a medium-size publisher who already has a distribution deal and a sales team. For a percentage of the sale, they could include your book in their catalog, which goes out with the sales reps to book stores across the country, and their sales team will present your book. Some publishers may want all the attention for their own titles, but some may like the idea: there’s no printing cost for them, for instance. Their catalogs are produced 5-6 months in advance.

Many large US book distributors won’t take you on before you have at least five to ten books in print. They might also want you to have a sales team who will present your books to booksellers, to show that you are willing to move those books. They also prefer a contract for a certain number of years. Another issue with full service distribution is that they take a minimum of 20% commission, but it will often be closer to 30% if you’re a small publisher. Check them out before signing with any book distributor. Talk to their customers (both publishers and bookstores) to verify they would be a recommendable company for you to work with.
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Be aware of these book industry distribution arrangements

  1. Discounts: Bookstores get ($8 when a $20 book sells) or in percent, a 40% discount from the distributor, big box stores often get 45%.
  2. Returns: Bookstores can return books back for credit against future orders, on average, about 30% of their initial sales might be returned. Paperbacks are not “stripped” so they can be shipped out again when another bookstore orders them. However, distributors may charge for warehousing of returns.
  3. Commission: Sales reps work on commission and only gets paid when books “sell through” (sold to the consumer). The distribution company also works on commission, which is one of the reasons they are so picky about taking on non-validated clients: if the books don’t sell through, they lose the money they have spent storing and shipping the books, their commission is usually 25-30% ($5-6 on a $20 book).

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Direct Sales via your website
There is an even more lucrative way to sell your print book and distribute it: through your own website. You keep 100% of your revenue, and you know exactly who bought your books. Valuable data that you can use for promotion of your next book releases. The only “work” you have, is to stuff envelopes and ship your books once or twice a week – or more if you sell a lot. Setting up a PayPal account and an ordering form on your website is pretty easy. Direct selling means that you can make almost three times the amount per book than you can make, compared to a sale through traditional bookstore distributors.
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Book Fairs
Comb the Internet and regional newspapers for Book Fairs. Rent a booth or share one with other writers and have fun to meet readers in person, sign your books, maybe even meet library buyers and book store owners – and keep 100% revenue. Authors could even band together and exhibit at national and international book fairs, such as New York, Edinburgh, Leipzig, Bologna or Frankfurt. If ten or more authors for example share the cost for exhibition, travel and accommodation, it seems to be visible.
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Consignment at Bookstores
Some local independent bookstores will take books on consignment. A 60% to you, 40% to them split might seem a bit unfair to the uninitiated, but it’s the standard in the book trade. If sales are really good, some bookstores will offer to buy your book or you offer it to them which saves on paperwork and hassle. In this case you might offer them 50% discount.
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Fazit:
Small publishers and author-publishers with at least 3 books might be better off with Lightning Source / Ingram and CreateSpace combined – until their book sale numbers are into the several thousands – also due to the print on demand possibilities that both companies offer.

Lightning Source connects you with the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. In addition to distributing books through their parent company Ingram Books, they print to order, which means, your book is printed and ready for shipment in 12 hours or less. With over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries your titles will gain the maximum exposure.

Lightning Source / Ingram work  with over 28,000 publishers of all sizes around the world. They deliver digital, print, wholesale and distribution services through a single source, and makes it easy for you to reach more customers in more places.

CreateSpace has slightly lower print on demand fees and set up fees per book, but it doesn’t get you into Ingram worldwide distribution. They offer something, called the Expanded Distribution Channel: “the potential to distribute your book to a larger audience through more outlets including: retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers, and distributors.” Well “potential” which means actually nothing! If a bookstore is really willing to order a single book from them, they will deliver…

Whole Sale and Book Distribution in USA

  • BCH Fulfillment & Distribution – BCH is also a vendor for Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. BCH offers 24/7 telephone order taking, an on-line catalog, representation at major trade shows, and more.
  • Atlas Books – Distributes online, via wholesalers, and commissioned sales reps. AtlasBooks is the distribution and marketing arm of the BookMasters Group which represents small to mid-size publishers.
  • Midpoint Trade Books – works with small and medium size publishers. No catalogs, so they can take on new titles any time of the year. 
  • National Book Network – Distributes for 85 publishers, they offer Print on Demand, starting at 20 books
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Book Whole Sale / Distribution in Canada:

  • North 49 – trade book wholesaler with an inventory of over 3000 bestselling books from more than 500 publishers from Canada, UK and USA 
  • Librarybound – a wholesaler delivers Canadian books to libraries (fulfillment orders only, no warehousing)
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More resources:

Distributors and Wholesalers, compiled by IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association
https://www.ibpa-online.org/resources/distributor-wholesalers/#.UWlwW7VO-So

Create Space Vs Lightning Source
http://write2publish.blogspot.ca/2011/02/why-create-space-is-better-than.html

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With 30 years experience in both, print and now e-publishing, we can provide you with many more tips, background information and support – additional to the huge amount of promotion you get in our online and off-line seminars. http://www.111Publishing.com/seminars

 

If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/seminar

If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 710 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Marketing, Publishing

 

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How to organize Printing or Print on Demand


Printing – to sell more books?

Why should you have a print book, such as a paper back and not go with the digital version only? In a former blog post we listed eleven reasons for this:

  • The majority of book buyers still chooses printed books at the moment (that will change)
  • You can give out review copies to newspaper/magazine or book blog reviewers
  • To be hosted at local media / TV interviewers who want to show a copy of your book
  • To sell your book easier to libraries
  • To participate in a Goodreads giveaway
  • To sell your book to those who really don’t want an e-Reader or just love paper books
  • If you write non-fiction it is almost a must to offer it in paper as well
  • You have an ISBN number and can get listed with Bowker at worldwide bookstores
  • Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas – unless you put an e-book on a new e-Reader and wrap it
  • To sell more e-books! Yes – because they seem to cost so much less in comparison…
  • To list your book in more categories / genres on Amazon: per book type you are allowed to choose two categories / genres. Two print and two digital versions – which increases your books’ visibility and also shows you exactly in which genre you have the most success.
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Espresso Book Machine

Espresso Book Machine

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During your pre-production phase you acquired already a bar code (for your print book) and an ISBN, the International Standard Book Number, a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books published anywhere in the world. How to get one? Or better a blog of ten, if you intend to write more books. The price of a blog of ten is the same as buying only two ISBN’s.

Good news for authors in Canada: ISBN are free for Canadian citizens, publishing a book in Canada – no matter were it is sold. But that’s not the only benefit for the publishing industry in this country.

Selling your e-book on Amazon doesn’t necessarily require an ISBN, you will get automatically an ASIN, Amazon’s identifier. Other retailers may require an ISBN, such as Kobo for example.
ISBN numbers are assigned by a group of agencies worldwide coordinated by the International ISBN Agency in London, England.  In the United States, ISBN’s are assigned by the U.S. ISBN Agency: R.R. Bowker is the independent agent in the US for this system. You can apply for an ISBN online. On average it takes about two weeks for ISBN’s to be assigned. Getting your own ISBN is very important, as the initial purchaser of this number is considered officially as the publisher. Don’t fall for “free” ISBN and don’t purchase it from other sources than the official organizations.

 

Plan and calculate printing carefully
Unless you have hundreds or even thousands of paperback orders, it doesn’t make sense to have your book printed the traditional way. Book printers expect a run of at least five thousand books to give you a reasonable price per book. Avoid to be one of these authors who have a garage full of books and no idea how to sell them ever. Get your distribution channels (more about this in one of the next blogs) first and then order your printing.
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For small print runs consider “Print On Demand”
CreateSpace and Lightning Source are recommendable POD’s who offer small print quantities and are distributing your book to wholesale and retailers. They have changed the book publishing landscape considerably. The issue of discounts and returns (the banes in book selling) are one of the primary reasons you might use them. Getting into Lightning Source (LSI) requires you have at least three books for sale. If you have only one book, you can band together with other authors, however, one of you has to be the official publisher. You can get your book into Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com with only a 20% discount, and you avoid accepting returns.
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Use both POD services for best results
Printing through Lightning Source is the least expensive way to get your book into Amazon.com. If you get into Amazon via a distributor or the Amazon Advantage program, you’ll pay a slightly higher discount. Lightning Source is owned by Ingram, so when you sign up with LSI and pay $12 per year (per title), you get your book into Ingram’s large distribution network.
The benefit of CreateSpace: it’s owned by Amazon and your book will always show as available on Amazon’s website. However you can go with both to get full advantages and broader distribution of your book.
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For just a few copies use “Espresso Book Machine”
If you don’t want to have print books, but would like to have a book signing or your grandma wants a copy of your book in paper, use either a print shop that offers digital printing or any of these Espresso Book Machines that are sprouting up in large cities. You certainly can order it online from them and get it shipped. Their prices are a bit higher, but if you need a bunch of books “yesterday” then it is a good option. Locations can be found at their North America Map.
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Traditional book printing
Finding a cost effective Book Printer who wants to deal with a small publisher requires a bit of a search. Most printers can print books but few printers are professional book printers. There are only about 50,000 printers in North America and only a handful of them are book printers. Few book printers want to work with the first time publisher. Get referrals from other writers, check out books in your library that often shows the name of the printer or ask at writer seminars others about their experiences with printers. Don’t just order it from the first book printer you cross, get at least ten quotes for printing & binding prices, including shipping costs and references to have enough points to compare. Then ask those printers to give you titles of books they printed, and even maybe contact the independent authors, who dealt with the printer. A Google search or the Better Business Bureau regarding the printers reputation might be helpful too. Sample printing calculations can be found here: http://www.selfpublishing.com/

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Expect at least about 2-3 weeks in average including freight, but this depends heavily on your printer’s schedule – The earlier you book, the less time you need to budget. Add at least ten days as a safety margin for unforeseen’s, such as lost freight, weather disasters, machine breakdowns and other delays. A great source for detailed information about the printing process and explanations of trade-specific “slang” can be found at http://www.creativemindspress.com/printing.htm

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Use the printing time to increase your marketing efforts:

  • Plan and advertise the book launch
  • Get as many pre-order for your book as possible
  • Increase Social Media efforts and sign up with even more reader forums
  • Spruce up your web page and write lots of blogs
  • Prepare news / press releases
  • Schedule interviews and book signings
  • Use Google+, Flickr, Pinterest etc. to show your new books’ cover image

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The book release date is not the end of your book journey, but the beginning. Your book should have an active life span of at least 2-5 years, and much longer for an e-book, as it is a living document and can be revised to a new version any time. You now have almost a full-time job of being an author, and should continue to perform all of the marketing activities that you have been ramping up before.  More about book distribution channels in the next blog post. Stay tuned!

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/seminar

If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 710 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Publishing

 

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Why You Should Sell Paper Books Too

BookStaple

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E-book authors might be happy with their sales on Amazon, Apple, Kobo or B&N. You might have even turned it into an audio book.  But the questions for a “real” book, paper back or hard-cover copy from conservative friends or elderly family members are nagging… And wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a Chapters or Baker & Taylor or one of the rare independent book shops and see your book in the shelf?

You will not earn a fortune, not even a living, but for a couple of months it is a nice pocket change. Only months… yes, because longer than this, barely any book will stay in the book store, unless it really is a bestseller and gets re-printed.

If you go the indie route and choose for sample the POD services and worldwide distribution through Lightning Source, (provided you have at least 3 books to be considered a small publisher) your book is printed on demand and will never get discarded (good: no-return-policy in POD worldwide distribution). See my blog from last month How to Distribute Your Book Worldwide.

All you need is the spine / back of your cover designed and professionally formatted (graphic designer, book designer, lay-outer). To work with Lightning Source you need to have at least three books to be considered a publisher and you will not receive technical help. Using CreateSpace as a POD service is the better choice if you are not a computer geek and you have less than three books.

Due to the high print-on-demand printing costs, you need to sell a 180-page fiction book for more than $10 to make any profit at all. Still you don’t make real money with your paper book, unless you are a marketing pro, very entrepreneurial and able to organize a small publisher business and invest in your written work and in letterpress print.

Role models are enough out there and they will tell you exactly how to do start as a reall publisher with their books and blogs – from Dan Poynter, Aaron Shephard to John Kremer, Joanna Penn and Joel Friedman. Author David Gaughran wrote in one of his blogs, Making Money from Paperbacks: “I was really slow to see the potential in print, and it was probably the biggest mistake I made over the last year.”

But then again: Why on earth should you go with a paper edition of your e-book?

  • The majority of book buyers still chooses printed books at the moment (that will change)
  • You can give out review copies to newspaper/magazine or book blog reviewers
  • To be hosted at local media / TV interviewers who want to show a copy of your book
  • To sell your book easier to libraries
  • To participate in a Goodreads giveaway
  • To sell your book to those who really don’t want an e-Reader or just love paper books
  • If you write non-fiction it is almost a must to offer it in paper as well
  • You have an ISBN number and can get listed with Bowker  at worldwide bookstores
  • Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas – unless you put an e-book on a new e-Reader and wrap it
  • To sell more e-books! Yes – because they seem to cost so much less in comparison…
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And last but not least: Think hurricanes or other reasons for power outage. I know e-Readers have batteries. But guess what: just yesterday my Kindle went dead and needed to be re-charged! With heavy thunderstorms around the house due to hurricane “Sandy”, I did not want to plug it in – and instead I read a paper book surrounded by lots of solar lamps and candles.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 570 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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CreateSpace, Lightning Source – or Both?

CreateSpace, Lightning Source – or both?
a guest blog by author Linda Austin
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Most authors are familiar with CreateSpace (CS), Amazon’s self-publishing arm. With little financial outlay, authors can upload their formatted manuscripts to CreateSpace and post their own cover, or perhaps one made using a free CS template or one designed at extra cost by one of CreateSpace’s designers. CS also offers editing services for a fee. CS will provide an ISBN for free or allow you to use your own.

Their program is easy to use, and Amazon takes control of all sales and shipping and will direct-deposit monies earned, minus its cut, to the author’s bank account each month. Authors can purchase copies of their own print book at a discount, and can choose to pay for an Amazon service that creates an e-book from the CS print version if the author doesn’t want to do it herself. For those who choose to go the self-publishing route, what’s not to like?

For one thing, CreateSpace books are found only on Amazon. This in itself is not necessarily bad as Amazon owns the lion’s share of print book sales. What about selling to libraries and real, physical bookstores? Libraries and physical stores don’t buy from Amazon unless a customer requests a book that is available no other way. Libraries and physical stores purchase through their favorite wholesaler-distributors, usually Ingram and/or Baker & Taylor, who give them an industry-standard discount rate. They will not buy from your website, either, as they like to keep their accounting simple.

Many experienced self-publishers use Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI), as their printer because of its connection to Ingram. Ingram opens up distribution of their books nearly worldwide, including on Amazon, and offers industry-standard discount rates to book buyers –the LSI author has total control of his/her book pricing and can set the discount sales rate to standard 55% with returns allowed.

LSI requires an author to have her own ISBNs registered to her own company. LSI also requires a high-quality pdf book file, such as those created by Adobe In-Design or other professional publishing software program, and there is an initial set-up cost. Not quite as simple or inexpensive as using CreateSpace for your MS Word file, however this Ingram connection is important for authors who expect their well-written and well-formatted books to be attractive to libraries and booksellers because of subject matter or popularity due to their determined marketing efforts. For $25 per year, your book will appear in the Ingram online catalog.

Cherry Blossoms in Twilight

But, have you heard CreateSpace has an expanded distribution option for only $25 per year? Yes, it does, making your book available through Ingram and most other online bookselling sites, including Barnes & Noble within the United States.

The Amazon-Ingram connection, though, does not allow Ingram to offer the industry standard terms expected by libraries and physical bookstores, so these entities will likely not want to buy books this way unless necessary, by customer request. Again, perhaps this is not a concern, depending on type of book, quality of writing and book production, and the author’s marketing determination.

Unfortunately, since last summer, Amazon has taken to posting availability times for LSI books coming out as anywhere from 2-8 weeks, even though the digitally-printed books ship almost immediately, as usual. For this reason, many serious authors have taken to loading their books to both CreateSpace for online orders from the general public as well as to LSI for its professional-level, low-cost worldwide distribution. And the same (author-owned) ISBN is used since it is the same book, just through different printers. The same author-provided cover should be used to avoid confusion.

In summary, an author who plans to be a serious contender in the book market, and has a book that will pass muster with librarians and store book buyers, should consider going beyond the Amazon experience.

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Linda Austin wrote and published her mother’s story, “Cherry Blossoms in Twilight,” a WWII Japan memoir of history and culture. She is owner of Moonbridge Publications, encouraging life writing and educating authors on the art of successful indie-publishing. She is a board member of the St. Louis Publishers Association.

http://moonbridgebooks.com

Twitter @moonbridgebooks

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 500 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “Like” next to it.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr or StumbleUpon – or other social networking sites of your choice) – other writers might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.

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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Publishing

 

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Why POD Contracts Could Be Bad For Authors

Ed Bott recently wrote in a Forbes article:
“Over the years, I have read hundreds of license agreements. But I have never, ever seen a legal document like the one Apple has attached to its new iBooks Author program.  I read EULAs (End User License Agreements) so you don’t have to.  I’ve spent years reading these, looking for issues or just trying to figure out what the agreement allows and doesn’t allow.  I have never seen a EULA as mind-bogglingly greedy and evil as Apple’s EULA for its new ebook authoring program.  Apple, in this EULA, is claiming a right not just to its software, but to its software’s output.”

Well, Apple is not the only one who is greedy, it seams Mr. Bott  yet hasn’t seen the contracts between most POD service companies and authors:
Some POD publishers will do anything to make it financially and logistically impossible for you to switch to another POD publisher if  you are unhappy with their services or if you want to become an independent publisher.  Their contracts might include a clause, buried in the middle of their contract that states they own all rights to the materials you have paid them to create:

  • Editing,
  • Cover design,
  • Custom interior illustrations or
  • the final edited and formatted copy of the interior of your manuscript.

Imagine paying someone hundreds, or even thousands of dollars,  to edit or format your book but not getting a copy of the final, edited version for your own use?  Why should any author pay for something they will not be able to take with them and use it elsewhere?

Most authors don’t read the fine print or don’t let it check buy an attorney – an essential step in every business dealing.  They only realize that they have signed over all their production file rights to the POD publisher until it is too late.  Here are some samples of contracts, which seem to be fine, until a legal advisor explains what they mean:

Company 1
Charging $1022 POD fees
: “We may agree to provide you a file containing an image of the cover of your Title (‘Cover Image’). Contingent upon your receipt of such Cover Image, we hereby grant you, during the term of this Agreement, a worldwide, royalty-free right to use the Cover Image for any lawful purpose related to promoting your Title.”
You think this sounds fair?  Think again… It means, you can only use it to promote and market your title while they’re publishing your book and, per the wording above, they aren’t required to give you a copy at all. If you use one of their templates, they own the rights to that file, too. This means you can’t use the cover you paid them to create if you move to another publisher in the future. A No-Go!

Company 2
Charging $1517
for Cover design and interior formatting:
“We will retain in our possession all of the materials submitted by you. We will have no obligation to provide to you any submitted materials or production files at anytime or for any reason.”
Do not sign this!

Company 3
Charging $1972
for their POD services
“The Author acknowledges and agrees that (publisher) retains all property rights and all ownership of all data, files, and materials that (publisher) prepares for the publication of the Work, including but not limited to production data, files, and materials, whether or not completed, in the possession of (publisher) and/or on (publisher)s’ computers and servers. This means:  files and data that have been generated by (publisher) (i.e. design files), are the property of (publisher).”  First of all they are not publishers, but a ordinary service company.  You pay for it – and they own it….
Not a good decision to sign this in a contract!

Company 4
Charging $1324
for their POD services
“We will retain in our possession all of the materials submitted by you. We will have no obligation to provide to you any submitted materials or production files at anytime or for any reason.”
A No-Go!

Company 5
Charging $999
for their POD services
“Author shall have the right to purchase the text (for sums, between $300 and $1,500!) and cover digital production files of the Work in PDF format upon the effective date of termination of this agreement.”

This means: You pay them once to create the files, and you have to pay them again to receive a copy of it from them. This seems to be the most ridiculous and greedy contract clauses in the entire POD industry!

What you just read are excerpts from the most popular POD companies’ contracts:  CreateSpace, AuthorHouse, Xlibries, Trafford and iUniverse….  

Author beware!  It seems to be much safer to hire your own editor, graphic / book designer and formatter, than to go through POD services – as these companies are charging pretty high fees, and on top of it all they earn  royalties from each of your book that is sold.

If you compare POD services to other contractors you hire, for sample to have new roofing on your house:  What would you say if the roofer has a clause in his contract that he owns the roof (for which you paid him top dollars) and if you want to sell your house later, you would have to pay for transferring the roof into your possession – if this is possible at all…  Not a good thing.

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Hyper Smash

 

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KDP Select gets the Boot from GoodReads

Belinda Frisch, an author, reviewer and librarian at GoodReads wrote in her recent blog:
“It was only a matter of time before someone fired back. I’m not sure how I feel about this, yet. Seems to me this is aimed at KDP Select. I’m a librarian at Goodreads and can rescue titles if I can find alternate sources of information including from CreateSpace. If you’re in e-version only, you are up the creek, friends.”

Here’s the official word from Goodreads:
“At Goodreads, we make it a priority to use book information from the most reliable and open data sources,
because it helps us build the best experience for our members. To that end, we’re making a major change.
On January 30, Goodreads will no longer display book information that comes from Amazon. This includes data such as titles, author names, page counts, and publication dates. For the vast majority of book editions, we have imported this data from other sources. Those few remaining editions for which we haven’t found an alternative source of information will be removed from Goodreads.
Your data is safe. Your ratings, reviews, and bookshelves are safe, but your data may be moved to a different edition of the book. If we can’t find a matching edition, then your review will be attached to a book with no title or author.”

I asked Belinda what an author is to do. Her answer:
“The only thing to do if you want to stay included in Goodreads listings is to make sure your book is available
elsewhere (other than Amazon.) B&N, CreateSpace, Lulu, any of those site would save you. If you are enrolled in KDP Select and do not have a print edition of the book available, you can’t do anything.”

My thoughts: You still can participate in the GoodReads forum, talk about your book and have an image of it there. If it is soooo important for you to be listed on GoodReads and have your book sold on their website, get some books printed by a POD – if not, just forget the whole thing. This seems to be a stare-down between GoodReads and Amazon… 

Let a small amount of books print from a POD company, such as Lulu.com, BookBaby or CreateSpace – or if you are more entrepreneurial, get quotes from digital printers. In any case create your own cover image and get your own ISBN number and be the publisher. Set your retail price not too low, at least five times the production cost. POD books will be distributed to retailers and whole sale as well.

Samples of POD book printing for you to compare with quotas of digital printers (January 2012):

Lulu.com
5.5 x 8.5″ black & white content, $0.015 per page – for a 100page book= $ 1.50 plus $2.50 for binding.
Lulu’s commission is 20% of profit or 25% of revenue / royalty.

CreateSpace.com
Basic production cost for black and white books with 24-108 pages = $2.15 per book. They have a calculator for
your royalties – between 40-80%, depending where the book is sold. Expanded Distribution Price: $25.00 These
additional sales channels make your book available for order to online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic
institutions, and distributors within the United States.

BookBaby.com
5.5 x 8.5″ black & white, 100 books, Perfect Binding, Soft Cover, Gloss Cover Finish, Paper 60lb Natural 420PPI 94 Opacity
Price for 100 books: $440.00, Shipping within mainland USA: $49.00 = Sub Total: $489.00 plus tax. One book would then cost you around $4.89 net. There is currently no distribution program for printed books at BookBaby.

 

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$ 15.000 Advance? Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition

AMAZON BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL COMPETITION

No Entry Fee !
Amazon.com, in partnership with Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, has announced the fifth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, an international competition seeking the next popular novel.

The competition will again award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. The 2012 competition is also open to novels that have previously been self-published.

Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance. Hurry up!  Open submissions for manuscripts begin today, January 23 and continue through February 5, 2012.  Don’t delay–only the first 5,000 entries will be accepted in each category.

https://www.createspace.com/abna

 

 

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Are you confused about so-called Royalties?



10%-30% from list, 10% of the wholesale price, 20% of the payments received by the publisher, 30% of the price as it’s listed on our website, 50% of net receipts, 45% minus printing costs, 60% from gross… One of the most confusing aspects you must face when choosing a POD printer is trying to figure out what they mean when they speak of “Royalties”.

POD printers that are paying a percentage of the retail price as “Royalty” are straight forward and you have the advantage of knowing where you stand and what to expect. You get what they say, usually 10% from wholesale sales, 25-30% from retail sales – hopefully more…

There are other printers who are a little less straight forward. For example, uPublish pays you 20-40% from your retail price, but they won’t pay you any royalties at all for the first three copies sold each quarter. Is this a fair “hidden” charge? It depends on the number of copies you are selling each quarter. If you sell less than 10 books, then it’s very high, if you sell 100 it becomes almost negligible.

You might get an offer for a fixed percentage of the retail price that seems to be extremely attractive (30-35%)… before you jump on board, make sure that they work through Ingram and other distributors. If they can afford such royalties because they only sell their books through their site you could end up losing money..

Some POD printers offer you a percentage of your retail price, but only for direct sales. When it comes to wholesale sales they give you a percentage of the wholesale price. Infinity Publishing is such a company, they will pay you 20% of your retail price on direct sales, and 10% of the wholesale price on books sold through other channels.  For a $15.00 book with a 40% wholesale discount it would be $3.00 on direct sales and $0.90 on wholesale – not acceptable! 

Even if you can buy your paper book at a discount in order to resell it, you’ll still have to pay other charges, and how can you offer it for a competitive price to bookstores?  But why do you have to buy your own book? You already paid for the printing, didn’t you?  It means you pay TWICE for your book… and on top of that bookstores can return books if they are not sold within a certain time.

Consider this:
CreateSpace / Amazon offers do-it-yourself publishing packages for free upload of your paper book but you need to create your own cover and interior and submit it correctly edited to CreateSpace. CreateSpace recommends its free do-it-yourself packages for people with design experience (or you just hire a graphic designer).  CreateSpace offers packages that are similar to publishing packages offered by other self-publishing/POD companies, but starting for only $299. 

CreateSpace eStore 20% of list price per sale, this means if someone orders it from CreatSpace’s ebook store on your authors page, you will receive 80% (minus the production/printing cost, mines tax and shipping)

Amazon.com 40% of list price per sale means you get 60% of the list price per sale (minus the production/printing cost, mines tax and shipping).

Expanded Distribution Channel 60% of list price if ordered by bookstores, libraries etc.

But as with all POD companies, you pay for printing and then you have to give them a percentage of your sales for the distribution and the rest that is left is called a “royalty”.

 

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