For many Kindle Nation citizens, this post will be an easy one to skip over. It’s about what we around here call dead-tree books, and at first blush it may seem of primary interest to authors and independent publishers, because, at first blush, it is.
But the bottom line is that the playing field for publishing and bookselling just got a lot closer to being level, from the point of view of authors and independent publishers. And in the long run this could be a good thing for readers and independent bookstores as well.
Here’s what has happened, with thanks to TeleRead’s Paul Biba for the heads up.
CreateSpace.com, a print-on-demand publishing company wholly owned by Amazon, has made a deal with the nation’s largest book distributor, Ingram Content Group, and Ingram’s own print-on-demand subsidiary, which is called Lightning Source. As a result, CreateSpace authors and publishers are now able to distribute their titles to thousands of bookstores, libraries and online retailers. Here’s a link to the CreateSpace press release (full text of the release also provided at the end of this post).
For the past three years, CreateSpace has been far and away the best printing deal available for independent authors and publishers, except for one glaring omission. The CreateSpace platform allowed its clients print-on-demand production, with no up-front capital costs and no inventory or out-of-pocket fulfillment costs, at per-unit production costs that are competitive with short-run production costs for print runs ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 copies. For authors and publishers seeking to sell their books through Amazon or through their own websites and events, this amounted to a very sweet deal. CreateSpace has been my independent publishing company’s production arm for the past three years, and the interior and exterior quality of their printed trade paperback books has been flawless.
But there was a huge disconnect between CreateSpace and the rest of the bookselling world beyond Amazon, because CreateSpace did not offer wholesale distribution to bookstores, online retailers, and libraries. And the alternatives, involving Ingram and its primary competitor Baker & Taylor, were often difficult to navigate and significantly more expensive.
Now all that has changed in a collaborative deal that is so dramatic that it makes both companies’ spokespersons’ rhetoric about their passionate commitment to books seem utterly believable.
There are three new CreateSpace Expanded Distribution Channels, in addition to the previously available choices of the Amazon bookstore, a CreateSpace eStore whose doorways are seldom darkened by paying customers, and a relatively cheap author-copies feature:
CreateSpace Direct: By enabling this distribution outlet, you can make your books available to certified resellers such as independent bookstores and book resellers. The CreateSpace Direct program allows eligible resellers to buy books at wholesale prices directly from CreateSpace.
Libraries and Academic Institutions: By enabling this distribution outlet, you can make your book available to public libraries, elementary and secondary school libraries, and libraries at other academic institutions.
Bookstores and Online Retailers: By enabling this distribution outlet, you can make your book available to thousands of major online and offline bookstores and retailers, and expand the size of the potential audience for your books.
The expanded distribution royalties payable by CreateSpace to authors and indie publishers — about 20% in many cases depending mainly on retail price and page count — will be less than royalties paid on Amazon store sales, but will in most cases be significantly more than the royalties that would be payable either through what we still call "traditional publishing" or through the kind of short-run digital publishing referenced above.
[Publetariat Editor’s note: according to information posted on the Createspace site, the bookseller cut (referred to as "Sales Channel Percentage" on the CS site) is 20% for sales made on the CS site, 40% for sales on Amazon.com, and 60% for sales made through the Expanded Distribution Channel (EDC) program. Also, the site specifies that only books set up with the Pro Plan option are eligible for EDC. Some authors are finding they would have to raise the retail price of their books to earn a royalty on EDC sales due to the 20-40% higher bookseller cut on those sales.]
Authors and indie publishers who have books in print on the CreateSpace platform can initiate expanded distribution options for their titles immediately. Here’s how:
- Go to your CreateSpace dashboard page.
- Select an "Available" title for which you would like initiate expanded distribution options and click on the pencil/edit icon to its right (image shown to the right of this bullet item —>).
- Scroll down to the heading called Sales Channel Management and click on the "Edit" hyperlink to the right of the heading.
- Scroll down to the heading called Expanded Distribution Channel Sales and, at the bottom of the page, review the Distribution Royalty Calculation to ensure that you are prepared to accept the royalty offered to you for these channels. You can change your book’s price, but the price will be fixed across all of CreateSpace’s distribution channels.
- If you wish to go forward and enable Expanded Distribution, click on the "Enable" button next to each of the three sub-categories. You will be able to enable the Libraries and Academic Institutions button only if your book’s ISBN was provided directly by CreateSpace.
- After you have clicked on these buttons and see "Enable" in green to the right of the sub-categories, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
- You will be returned to the previous page, where you should scroll down to the Sales Channel Management heading and verify that you see a line that says "Sell via Expanded Distribution – Yes."
That’s it. Good luck.
[Publetariat Editor’s Note: according to the Createspace FAQ on the EDC program, "It may take up to six weeks for your title to begin populating in the distribution outlets you select."]
Here’s the full text of the CreateSpace press release, for your convenience:
CreateSpace Announces Expanded Distribution Options for Members through Ingram Content Group and Lightning Source
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Dec. 03, 2009 – CreateSpace, part of the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) group of companies, today announced a new agreement with Lightning Source Inc., the print on-demand unit of Ingram Content Group Inc. The collaboration between the two companies will expand CreateSpace’s distribution options for its members beyond Amazon.com and CreateSpace eStores.
Under the new agreement, CreateSpace’s Books on-Demand platform will allow members to print and then distribute their titles to thousands of bookstores, libraries and online retailers. CreateSpace members will have access to this enhanced print and distribution option as part of the CreateSpace Pro Plan, a program which gives members access to lower print pricing for their own book orders and better royalties for sales on Amazon.com.
"With this expansion, CreateSpace members will not only be able to reach Amazon.com customers, but they can also reach the thousands of bookstores, libraries and online retailers that work with the Ingram Content Group, " said Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, managing director, CreateSpace. "With Lightning Source and Ingram, our members can make their titles available to the larger book marketplace while remaining inventory-free with print on-demand."
"At Ingram, we are passionate about books and the book industry," said Philip Ollila, chief content officer, Ingram Content Group. "Our new relationship with CreateSpace is a continuation of Ingram’s long-term strategy to offer the broadest selection of books to our customers worldwide."
For more information about CreateSpace, please visit www.createspace.com.
CreateSpace is a leader in manufacture on-demand services for independent content creators, publishers, film studios and music labels. CreateSpace provides inventory-free, physical distribution of Books, CDs and DVDs On-Demand, music downloads via Amazon MP3 and video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand. CreateSpace is a brand of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).
About Lightning Source
Lightning Source is the leading print-on-demand company in the world, offering the unique combination of quality one-off book manufacturing and access to the most comprehensive distribution solutions in the publishing industry. Lightning Source is an Ingram Content Group company. The Ingram Content Group of companies provide a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry, and immediate access to the largest selection of books and book-related products in the industry. For more information visit www.lightningsource.com
Ingram Content Group Inc. provides a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry. Ingram’s operating units are Ingram Book Company, Lightning Source Inc., Ingram Digital, Ingram Periodicals Inc., Ingram International Inc., Ingram Library Services Inc., Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., Ingram Publisher Services Inc., Tennessee Book Company LLC, Coutts Information Services, and Ingram Marketing Group Inc. For more information, visit www.ingramcontent.com
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as books, movies, music & games, digital downloads, electronics & computers, home & garden, toys, kids & baby, grocery, apparel, shoes & jewelry, health & beauty, sports & outdoors, and tools, auto & industrial.
Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Examples of the services offered by Amazon Web Services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Flexible Payments Service (Amazon FPS), Amazon Mechanical Turk and Amazon CloudFront.
Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca and www.amazon.cn.
As used herein, "Amazon.com," "we," "our" and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
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This is a cross-posting from Stephen Windwalker’s Kindle Nation Daily blog.