Category: publishing industry

20
Oct

Everything about exclusive distribution: definition and examples

Going wide or KDP only? Today’s article is covering exclusive distribution definition, examples and arguments for and against it.

Exclusive distribution means that a distributor has unique rights to distribute your book: you can’t sell it anywhere else. Currently KDP Select is the most popular exclusive distributor, as most self-publishing authors already know: for a higher percentage of royalties, authors can enroll in KDP Select for a 90-day period and re-enroll any time. If your book is available through KDP Select, it is available to KU users, Kindle Lending Library borrowers and to everyone using Amazon. As a return for the exclusive rights, Amazon offers a wide range of promotion services, including 5 days when you can sell your book for free.

Going exclusively to Amazon is a great tool that works for many authors. But what about other distributors and markets Amazon doesn’t reach?
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06
Oct

How Do Audiobooks Work? – Choose the Best Service

With the Canadian company Rakuten Kobo finally launching their audiobooks service worldwide, appearing as a long awaited competitor for Amazon’s Audible, audiobooks became a hot topic once again, living their revival. But how do audiobooks work, where to get them from and are they still overly expensive?

Although they have been around for a while now, they only became popular during the last couple of years: with almost everyone in the world having access to some kind of mobile device, listening to podcasts and audiobooks became increasingly popular. What once was thought of as a necessity for people with sight loss became a viable and popular alternative to listening to radio and podcasts. Because yes, audiobooks are not here to take readers away: quite the opposite, they are here to bring reading-like experience into situations where you couldn’t normally read. Like when you are driving. Never read and drive!

Jokes aside, let’s have a look at what are these audiobooks anyway, why are they good and what do the biggest players on the market have to offer.

audiobooks

John Karakatsanis | Sony Headphones | 2013 | CC-BY-SA

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18
Sep

Ebook Pricing for a Foreign Market – East Asia and India

This article is the second part of our series, Ebook Pricing for a Foreign Market. You can find the first article here: it covers general rules of pricing for a foreign market and the advantages and disadvantages of territorial pricing. It also covers pricing for the Southeast Asian ebook market: Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Today’s article will focus on East Asian markets (Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China) and India.

ebook pricing for east asia
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08
Sep

Ebook Pricing for a Foreign Market – Pricing an Ebook in Southeast Asia

It is difficult enough already to price an ebook for your home market: how difficult can it be when you don’t know a market? You don’t only have to be aware of the most popular genres and the trends in these genres but have a clear picture on pricing. We’re trying to solve this problem with a series of guides.

We always recommend that you do a lot of research before entering a new market, but it is difficult and time-consuming. It is an unavoidable step when you are thinking of translations; but if you write in English, there is no reason why you wouldn’t try selling your books all over the world straight away.

The PublishDrive platform makes intelligent and meaningful pricing of books possible: you can set the price individually by stores in the country’s own currency, sensitive to local trends. But until now you were faced with two options: either you ignored the intelligent pricing and let the prices set automatically or you were condemned to hours of research to learn the rules of your genre and countries. And if you choose this route, you were probably discouraged by the many different currencies: who knows how many RM (Malaysian Ringgit) is one Euro?

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23
Aug

Interactive Ebooks: What Are They and How to Make Them

The widespread of interactive ebooks coincided with me getting into publishing studies: I couldn’t be any happier to live in this wonderful age. I still remember my disbelief in 2009, when I first heard about hypertext and interconnected books. My professor seemed to be telling an incredible tale about a future where all quotes, references, and mentions will be easily searchable in all works of literature. Also: where we can create our own story within the book, breaking up the linear order of reading.

Almost a decade later, we have all we could only dream of and so many things we could have never imagined. But are we using it as we should? Do interactive ebooks and enhanced ebooks get all the awe and respect they deserve? And most importantly: are they the future? In the following, I am debunking five misconceptions about interactive books and show everyone how amazing they are. (We also mention fixed-layout ebooks briefly.)

(Article was updated on June 13, 2018, with substantial changes.)

1. Interactive books are a new invention

Even if we don’t count coloring books, pop-ups and all kinds of hands-on books for kids, traditional printed books that allow the readers to interact or change the story some way or another have been around for a while now. Do any of you remember the gamebooks that came with dice and you had to decide where to go next, whom to fight and whom to avoid?
It was just a question of time that traditional linear storytelling gets combined with the reader’s desire to get involved and to get an enhanced story, that “steps off” the pages.

Although the first Kindles coming to the market didn’t look anything like the future (being heavy, black and very-very basic), interactive books and interactive ebooks conquered the market nevertheless. When interactive ebooks first emerged, several companies tried to stick the label “interactive” onto anything they published. Let’s be clear here: hyperlinks, clickable endnotes and linking outside resources should be basic features of every ebook. Enhanced ebooks and interactive ebooks should include some extras that add to the reading experience.
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25
Jul

6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Publishing on Google Play

You want to sell your books on Google Play? Great. Although ‘books’ are not the first thing that come to my mind when I hear ‘Google’, the numbers don’t lie: the tech giants bookstore is one of the biggest ones worldwide (selling in 72 countries with a different market share everywhere on the world). With 81% of the phones bought last year running Android (and we are not even talking about tablets here!), it would be just silly not to publish there. Publishing on Google Play, however, is not as easy as it first seems. Knowing the pitfalls and the tricks could save you time, headache and money. Firstly, this article is for those of you who have just decided to go further than the Amazon – Barnes & Noble – iBooks triumvirate and are thinking about registration. And secondly, for those who are already selling there but want to learn some useful tricks and tips.

(6 facts you didn’t know about publishing on Google Play was updated on 24/01/2018.)
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19
May

Self-Publishing Success Stories You Need to Hear About

It goes without saying that the ebook market is evolving and this trend brought along another interesting phenomenon in the digital publishing industry named self-publishing.

However, this is not a new thing. It’s the technology that has changed over the years. Publishing their own ebooks has never been easier for authors. Self-publishing has become a vital part of the publishing industry and has proven to give many writers a jump start in their career. There are quite a few successful self-published authors out there who actually can make a living off doing that.

Indie publishing lets authors achieve a much greater earning potential and allows them to write whatever they want finding niche audiences with their books. This article introduces you to some of PublishDrive’s own self-publishing success stories as well as famous writers who have really made it.

PublishDrive’s own self-publishing success story

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08
May

What’s the Best Ebook Publishing Platform for You

Self-publishing is on the rise, especially in countries where English is a primary or major language. Authors can choose from many publishing services, but how do you know whom to trust? This a tricky question, and hopefully this article will help you decide between different ebook publishing platforms. What are the services they offer? When do they pay? Which stores do they distribute to?

Depending on your needs, there could be many good answers; you can choose a self-publishing platform at the beginning of your career and change later, or use multiple platforms simultaneously.

If you are not yet sure whether self-publishing is the right fit for you, why not check this article?

(Article was updated on July 16, 2018.)
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07
Mar

Five Reasons to Self-Publish

When I started writing fiction, I assumed that there is not a single writer out there who doesn’t want to get published by Penguin Random House. Apparently, the numbers show otherwise: indie publishers are trending, and not without a cause. Let’s see five major reasons why many writers choose to self-publish. (In a follow-up article we are going to analyse the cases when finding a publisher is a better idea.)

1. Because it has the biggest market share and is growing the fastest

According to the charts published on Authorearnings.com analysing Amazon sales data from the last 27 months until May 2016, self-published books have an almost 45% share of the market (growing from 27% since February 2014), while the Big Five has fallen from 39% to 23%. It’s a numbers game: like it or not, independent publishing already gives almost half the ebook unit sales of the market and seems unstoppable.

2. Because what you write is unique

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03
Mar

Pitfalls of Ebook Licensing Agreements

Signing a contract and finding the right deal could be difficult if you are a newcomer in the publishing industry. Retailers and aggregators aim to be as profitable as they can, this often resulting in publishers receiving disadvantageous financial or legal terms. And once you signed the agreement on a bad deal, there is no way back correct it.

Many say that there is no way to negotiate an ebook licensing agreement, but this is not true. If you have quality content, you can always negotiate, or even choose a better partner. You are the copyright holder, the creative mind in the process; without you, there is no content to be read and sold. Do not underestimate the power of content creation.

So far, we negotiated more than 200 B2B contracts in various countries worldwide: with retailers, ebook conversion services, marketing agencies and publishers. Several times, we were faced with unrealistic or dominating terms, but we decided to always represent the publishers’ interest; even if we had to refuse to sign the deal!

In this article, we are sharing with you some of the ebook licensing agreement pitfalls you can easily avoid by reading between the lines, so you can fight for better deals for you or your company in the future. To make the “business talk” easier to digest, we incorporated some simple dos and don’ts you can follow. There are five main parts of a contract that you have to read very carefully and several times:

  1. Royalties structure

  2. Payment terms

  3. Grant of rights

  4. Sales reporting and invoicing

  5. Termination

In the following, we are going to guide you through these five parts, show you the common mistakes some people may make and offer some advice.

  1. ROYALTIES STRUCTURE

Do not only look at nominal value.

It is not uncommon to only scan for numbers when reading a contract: you check nominal values, they look nice, so it is good to go. However, the wording can change everything: if you do not read the agreement thoroughly, you might not receive what you expected.

Typical wording differences:

  • Net sales vs. Net RRP/SRP:
    • Net sales is calculated based on the real price on which your book is sold. This is fair and simple: your readers pay a certain amount for your book and the retailers calculate your share. Usually, you are better off going for this.
    • Net RRP/SRP (recommended/suggested retail price) is based on the price you gave to the retailer. If they have to raise the price to match it to the price tier, you still get your share based on the RRP, and might miss out on extra money. However, if the price drops for whatever reason (e.g. for sale), you still get paid based on the RRP and have no losses. Depending on your business strategy, this can work as well. (You can read a lot more about this in our post about pricing strategies here.)
  • Retail price vs. Net retail price:
    • Some retailers like to play with sales tax or VAT, but always go for the net sales price, since VAT/sales tax may differ by country or state. It is non-transparent to calculate your royalties based on that.
  • Excluding vs. Including all the fees and commissions paid to retailers:
    • Including all the fees and commissions paid to retailers means that with a 60% publishers’ royalty you will receive 6 USD after a book sold on 10 USD net price. Clean and simple.
    • Excluding commissions paid to retailers can result in a worse deal if you sell through an aggregator or a mobile app dealer, since they do not include the fees and commissions in the royalty share. Using the previous example, they will only calculate your 60%, once the other retailers, such as Apple or Google took their share for micro purchases within the app. So if your book is sold for 10 USD, take 30% off for Apple iOS fee, and calculate the 60% royalty from that: you will receive 10×(1−0,3)×0,6 = 4,2 USD. This is significantly less than the 6 USD you could earn with an “including retailer fees” contract. Note, that this calculation is also non-transparent, since you cannot see the exact contracts between the aggregator and the retailers.
  1. PAYMENT TERMS

Look out for “when we receive the fund”.

There is a fine line between “it sounds too good to be true” and being untrue. Always check in the contract how payment is going to be made.

  • Based on earnings reports vs. Based on receiving the funds from retailers:
    • Earnings reports list all your sales within the month and set a payment date. You have to receive your money by this date independently from whether the retailers have been paid or not.
    • On receiving the funds: you will receive your money only after (and if) the aggregator was paid. It does not sound too bad, but remember that you cannot track when a partner receives funds from the retailers. Since you do not know when your partner receives the fund, you cannot know when you will be paid either. This can be very frustrating if you are waiting for your first check. Try to go for services who pay you based on earnings reports, not based on whether they received the fund.
    • Typical wording may include the followings: “we will pay you after the retailers paid us” or “we have no obligation to pay your royalties in the event of a failure of any online bookstore to pay royalties to us”.
  • Higher threshold vs. Transaction fees:
    • Lower payment thresholds can be tempting, as you get paid more often. But don’t forget that more often means paying more transaction fees – and some services, like PayPal get the receiver to cover the expenses of the transfer (their fee structure is explained here). If you have a lower threshold with more transactions, you end up paying more. It is a bit like the famous marshmallow-paradigm: you are better off, if you wait.
  • Exact numbers for payment terms:
    • Many companies do not include exact reporting or payment terms, just use undefined expressions such as “usually between 30-60 days”. Do not let anyone use blurry terms when it is about money; fight for exact numbers.
  1. GRANT OF RIGHTS

Keep the rights of your intellectual property (IP).

Non-exclusive contracts what you have to search for when choosing a partner to sell your ebooks. Non-exclusivity means that you can sell your books in other stores/platforms legally. On the contrary, exclusivity means you cannot sell your books anywhere else. Don’t tie yourself to any of the partners early on – most of the partners you can trust on the long term will give you the non-exclusive term anyway, so if you want you are able to sell the same book on other stores too.

Give only the necessary rights for the partnership and do everything you can to protect your IP.

You have to make sure that no one but you can change your IP.

You can grant rights to

  • resell or
  • make small technical changes if necessary for conversion.

But never give rights to anyone to

  • change the title,
  • change the author’s name,
  • add own branding,
  • change the content
  • or add watermarks with the retailer’s links (because it may end up with confrontation to competitor websites).

Just think about Amazon Kindle links in a book uploaded to iBooks! Take control of your own content and metadata and be conscious about them on the long term.

  1. SALES REPORTING and INVOICING

Define the periodical sales reporting period.

In case of any business transaction, money cannot be transferred without some invoice or written document, so look at who is sending the invoice and when. Is your invoicing monthly or quarterly? Choose a partner with a self-billing service if possible to avoid any administrative burdens but still receive your money in time.

Also look for discrepancies between reporting and invoicing. If you get quarterly reports, look at when you will receive those reports and how invoicing is connected to it. You might see the following: quarterly payments are reported until the end of the next calendar month, and the invoice is sent four weeks after the end of the invoicing period. This means that Q1 earnings will be reported until the end of April and will be invoiced until end of May. And we have not even talked about the payment term!

  1. TERMINATION

Make sure you get your content back.

Termination is a divorce in the business world: a painful process. Before you take any action, look at what happens with your IP afterwards and how long will it take to say goodbye.

Your content should be deleted from the servers of your partner and their third parties’ platforms. Your content should be withdrawn immediately (within a reasonable timeframe for making the technical changes) and it should not be longer than the termination deadline.

Unfortunately, we saw so many bad stories from publishers not being paid or simply tied to another service with bad terms and no long term thinking. Everyone starts a business relationship trusting the other player and believing that mutual cooperation will result in a mutually beneficial way – however, that might not be the case all the time. You have to find the right partner who treats you and your business as equals to have the chance to make intelligent long term decisions. You can probably save yourself from a lot of headache if you let us search for the right terms with the right players and let go of anything else not needed.

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