Monday, June 4, 2012

The e-book distribution rule of Goldilocks and the Three Bears...

Goldilocks and the Three Bears...

The e-book distribution world is at the moment very much like the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.
Goldilocks being you, you would have to face with the 3 giant big bears of the e-book distributors world.
So in respective order, you would have to choose between Daddy Bear, Mummy Bear and Baby Bear:
* Amazon’s Kindle
* Barnes & Noble’s Nook
* Apple’s iBookstore

They might look mighty and scary and you would be right.
They are after all giants and you will depend on them for your survival (or should I say the survival of your e-book)
Although they might look the same to you, they do differ when it comes to the royalty rate.

1)Amazon Kindle is tricky.
If You think you gonna get a big royalty from them, think again! Depending of the price you decide to put your book at, you might not get that 70% royalty.
Here is how it works, if like most authors, you're trying to sell your book and you're an emerging author, you'll keep the price down by choosing the minimum price offered by Amazon which 0.99 cts. In that case, you only get 30% royalty.
 If you are going for a bigger price per book (let's say 2.30$), then you get to have a 70%. Amazon keeps 30%
This is, in my opinion, unfair and a big corporate company such as Amazon should be less greedy and try to promote/help writers to sell their book. That's why i don't recommend Amazon.

2)Barnes and Noble Nook: 
Authors get 65%, Barnes and Noble keeps 35%

3)Apple iBookstore: 
Authors get 55%, Apple gets 45%.

If you don't want to individually setup your e-book with those 3 distributors, you can always set it once with Smashwords. Granted that their style guide is lengthy but once you get the hang of it, you will be part of their premium catalog and then, Goldilocks will have tamed the 3 big bears as you will be part of their lists.
Smashwords offers a 60% royalty rate depending of your country.

Personally, I think Smashwords is quite good.
Now about the format and the matter of Piracy, I've read people on blogs who had been wondering the format they should use. PDF? no PDF? People say if you use PDF, it means that more people can easily pirate your e-book.
Yes it is a problem but practically every computer can read a PDF file. So your choice is to have your work safe but no audience or a very small audience or take a risk, possibly trust that people might or might not pirate your work and get your book out there.

It's a personal decision.
I decided to be a risk taker (in this business anyhow ;-)) Are you?