Earlier this week digital book distribution service Bookbaby launched BookBaby Free, the first of its services to be available without requiring the payment of an upfront fee. Here's a summary of what it offers the self-published author.
Since 2011, BookBaby, the digital book distribution service, has offered self-published authors and publishers the facility to get their e-books on the shelves of the biggest online book retailers worldwide. These currently include Amazon, Apple, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Copia, eBook Pie, eSentral, Gardener’s, Kobo, Page Pusher and Scribd. Previously the company required a joining free of at least $99 for anyone wishing to use the service, plus an annual retainer of $19.
The new pricing structure of Bookbaby Free echoes the company's CD Baby model, introduced back in 1999 (ancient history!) It also matches more closely the price offer of its bigger competitor, Smashwords, which compensates for the lack of a joining fee by retaining a larger percentage of retail sales for every book sold.
In summary, BookBaby Free will offer:
- Worldwide distribution through a larger range of stores than other services
- 85% payout of net sales back to authors (i.e. 15% retained by BookBaby)
- BookPromo, a new suite of exclusive promotional tools and services available free to all authors
- $100 coupon off custom-printed books by BookBaby
- free support
The launch coincides with the rejigging of BookBaby's other services, including an increased entry charge ($249) for authors wishing to retain 100% of their earnings.
“It’s the great success of our current 0% commission Premium model which has enabled us to scale up our customer support team to be able to handle the greater number of clients that will take advantage of our new free pricing tier,” says Brian Felsen, President of Bookbaby. “And as we’re doing this, we’re continuing to add loads retail stores to our network – and additional services and customer support which no other company can match.”
For a full appreciation of the relative benefits of the services provided by Bookbaby and Smashwords, a more detailed comparison is needed than simply checking prices. Last year here on the ALLi blog Giacomo Giammatteo provided a useful comparison of their offerings, which we hope to update shortly to reflect Bookbaby's new pricing structure.
In the meantime, please feel free to share your views and experience of both services – or of any other alternatives – in the comments section below.