Last month we shared news of the first successful test of “pBooks,” a unique method of creating and printing paperback books using the content from an eBook. Four authors sent us eBooks along with high-resolution covers, and several days later they received full-color 6x9 printed paperback books in the mail. As you can see from this video by author Francis Walsh, they loved them!
Now we’re preparing to take pBooks into open beta. Along with our partner Frederic Printing (a division of Consolidated Graphics), we’ll get 500 more titles set up for Print on Demand ordering between now and June 1.
The presses start rolling March 18, and the first 100 orders will be delivered by April 2 or sooner.
Pre-order now and you’ll get two extra benefits not available to others:
You’ll pay a smaller $49.99 setup fee per title – a $10 discount on the future price of $59.99. As with other gift packages we’ve offered, you’ll get a coupon in e-mail that you can use up to one year from purchase.
If you use the coupon by June 1, 2011, you’ll get the lowest per-book pricing on the planet. Thanks to the cutting-edge digital presses we're using, a 50-page book will cost only $4, and a 200-page book only $6 -- with NO MINIMUM ORDER required! (Note: you'll also have to pay for shipping – see the Terms, Conditions and Pricing for more details). We’ve done our research and we know that you can’t get this level of quality at this low price anywhere else.
The major benefit available to every pBook author will be the ability to mark up the base price and profit from the difference. For example, if you think other people will buy your $6 book for $8, you'll make $2 from every sale.
If you pre-order now and are one of the first 100 to submit your eBook by March 18, you'll be guaranteed to have your book printed and delivered two weeks later.
There are a lot of other things we want to tell you about pBooks and what else we’re planning in the future (this is only the beginning), but for now you can know that this is a unique idea with the potential to change the entire way people think of “eBooks.”
Four months after launching BookBrewer and Borders Get Published, the most important lesson we’ve learned is this. The movement of books from book stores to eReaders is only half the story. All books, even those in print, are becoming digital products that are available for readers to buy in the format that they want, when they want. To maintain and grow readership in the future, authors need to think about making their content instantly available in every format that their audiences want it. That means eReaders, tablets, smartphones – and yes, even paperbacks. Ceating and distributing an eBook through BookBrewer that's enabled as a paperback is a convenient, affordable way to do that.
Thanks for being a trailblazer in this brave new world of book publishing, and Happy BookBrewing!
One of the first questions we received when we launched BookBrewer was, "Can I turn my eBook into a paperback?"
It's a deliciously ironic question given that it comes from people who first use BookBrewer to create and publish eBooks that are growing in popularity, often at the expense of print. But when we understood the reason for the question it made perfect sense. It's the authors telling us that they want to be multi-platform out of the gate.
The reality is that not everyone in an author's audience has an eReader, and some authors themselves don't even have them. This told us that authors really want their books to be everywhere, including on eReaders, apps and yes, even in print. But the price has to be right.
These three trial titles were printed this week. From left: The Last Rocket Show by Tom Fox, Celebrating Boomerdom by Deborah Louise Brown, and Becoming AWEWRITER by Francis D. Walsh.
We started looking around for a printer who could take ePub files and automate print layout and were delighted to find one right in our own back yard. Frederic Printing, a division of Consolidated Graphics (CGX), has developed an experimental system for BookBrewer that allows us to turn ePub files into printed books with a 36-hour turnaround. Even better, CGX tells us that thanks to their new cutting-edge variable inkjet printers, they can print one copy or 10 copies for the same low price, all at the drop of a hat. Ordering can be done directly by the author, or by fans of the author through a unique ordering URL.
This video shows the books in more detail.
So listen up, authors. This means no more boxes of books clogging up your basement, and more importantly, no more fronting the cost of hundreds of printed books in the hopes that you'll eventually sell them at a trade show or book signing. And as you'll see, it also means a much smaller dent in your wallet to get started.
We've been testing this service for three weeks and are so satisfied with the results to be able to say we will be opening for orders as early as next week. Pricing will be about as low as you can get for on-demand paperbacks. You'll pay a $60 one-time setup fee to enable a book for Print on Demand, and then only $6 per 200-page book plus shipping. Competitors in the Print on Demand space either charge much higher per copy or have minimum orders in the hundreds, so this will be a hard deal to match.
Because this is so new an experimental, we don't know where the ultimate prices will end up. But we've gotten CGX to agree to let the first 3,000 titles we receive over the next two months to be printed at these low prices with no minimum order. So come on over and beta test this service with us and you'll get the best Print on Demand deal on the planet in addition to publishing you electronically.
Sign up for our newsletter if you're interested in beta testing "pBooks." Or better yet, start working on creating your eBook in BookBrewer now. When we turn on Print on Demand ordering, you'll be ready to be one of the first people to turn your eBook into a pBook.
Top view, from left: Bryte's Ascent by E. Rose Sabin, and Chateau Stray by Gregory Edmont.
This shows how the books appear on a typical bookshelf along with other books (see Bryte's Ascent).
Here's a look at the inside of a 200-page title.
Here's the inside of another title with color photos.
In a recent opinion piece, science fiction author Michael Stackpole wrote about my company BookBrewer, an eBook self-publishing service that launched last Fall. This post included numerous inaccuracies and uninformed statements that make BookBrewer sound like a bad deal for self-published authors, when in fact BookBrewer now offers the best prices and royalties anywhere.
As the founder and CEO of BookBrewer, I would like to set the record straight on a number of key points.
2) BookBrewer Authors Will Receive Royalty Payments Stackpole suggests that because BookBrewer has a partnership with Borders, it's doubtful that authors will be paid royalties. This is also false. FeedBrewer, Inc. receives royalty payments for self-published books, not Borders, and FeedBrewer sends checks to authors. Royalties for books sold on Borders.com will also be paid, as FeedBrewer receives those from Kobo, another of Borders' partners.
3) BookBrewer Authors Receive Royalty Reports Stackpole says "You do not know and cannot know how many books have actually been sold." In fact, we post consolidated sales reports to authors' profiles every month so that they can see exactly how many of their books have been sold through each retail channel and how much they stand to earn at the next payout period. This was also stated very clearly on our blog when the first reports were posted.
4) BookBrewer Offers Options for Do-It-Yourself Authors Stackpole says, "If the author did the prep work herself, she'd be making 70% (or more) directly," and he is right about that. But where he is wrong is in the implication that BookBrewer doesn't offer a way for authors to distribute files themselves, or that it’s opposed to it. We’re one of the few self-publishing services that give authors a choice of going through retailers or direct to their readers. This is the most obvious error because the pricing page that Stackpole linked to clearly offers an option for downloading a full DRM-free ePub file.
It's worth mentioning that everything Stackpole says about pricing and payments is now out of date. In response to customer feedback, we recently dropped all of the setup prices on Borders Get Published and BookBrewer, and we also increased the royalties to authors. The most an author pays for file conversion and distribution is now $39.99, and you can even pay less than that if you only want conversion, or only distribution.
In addition, we have increased post-retailer royalty payments to 95%, which is 10% better than the closest competitor. But thanks to our partnership with Borders, authors will now receive 100% of post-retail royalties for books sold on Borders.com.
These changes have been planned for over two months, and we can't expect that Stackpole would have known about them. However, if he had taken the time to contact or call us and ask questions before posting his article, we would have let him know what we were planning.
The general tone of his article implies that Borders (and BookBrewer) are trying to take advantage of authors. In our first three months of existence we have noticed that authors are generally paranoid about this, and probably for good reason. The publishing industry, like the music industry, is full of stories of exploitation. But we are really countering exploitation with BookBrewer by putting direct publishing into the hands of authors.
You can see from our track record that our sole mission is to help new authors get published, be found and become a success. Our new pricing, which promises to give 95% of all royalties we receive (and 100% post-retail of those sold through our partner Borders) underscores this fact. We only make money when authors make money, and they will always make more than we do from their own books.
Finally, we understand better than anyone what it’s like to bootstrap our way to success. Even though BookBrewer has a deal with one of the largest booksellers in the world, we're also a startup. We see self-publishing authors as startups, too, so we always look out for their interests.
If you agree with this, we encourage you to share this article widely. But more importantly, share the news about BookBrewer and Borders Get Published to authors that you know.
Dan Pacheco is Founder and CEO of FeedBrewer, Inc. which owns BookBrewer.com. He’s worked in digital media for 15 years at AOL, The Washington Post and local media companies, and is a previous Knight News Challenge winner.
Now that there are several thousand of you, we want to ask you for a favor that will also help you in your efforts to promote your great work. We're redesigning our home page, and we want to highlight YOU and your awesome books! If you have published through BookBrewer, please send a few paragraphs about yourself along with a good head shot to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll try to feature as many of your testimonials on our home pages as possible.
You can also submit your story in a comment below. We moderate all comments to keep out spam, but we'll approve any legitimate comments.
Do you have a blog or Web site? Then here's a bonus offer. Post the same story on your site or blog and we'll include a link to it -- right from our home page. This is a great way to increase your exposure as an author.
If you need ideas for what to write about, consider these questions (but don't feel limited by them):
How old were you when you attempted to write your first book? Did you ever finish it?
What life experience led you to write a book?
What challenges did you encounter while working on your book, and how did you overcome them?
As you may be aware, we have been experimenting with lower pricing through a Valentine’s Day promotion that offers everything – eBook creation, distribution to retailers and full file access – for $39.99. As a result of this pricing, demand has quadrupled and we can see that it allows us to serve many more authors than we could before.
For this reason, starting February 22 we're adopting this new pricing across the board. Here's a sneak peak of the new publishing packages:
We hope you will agree that this new pricing brings publishing within reach of many more authors – which has always been our goal with BookBrewer. And remember that it's always free to use the BookBrewer tools to create a sample eBook. But we’ve also decided to radically change the royalty structure for books we distribute. Starting in March, authors who distribute books to Borders.com through BookBrewer will keep 100% of post-retail royalties. This is the highest royalty rate possible for self-published eBooks sold on Borders!
And what about royalties for books sold outside of Borders? Beginning in March, we will pass 95% of royalties paid by other retailers directly back to authors. Want to keep 100% of your royalties? All you have to do is pay $29.99 to get a full ePub file, then distribute it to retailers on your own.
Taken together, these changes make BookBrewer the most author-friendly eBook publishing and distribution service available anywhere, bar none.
We have a lot of other things in the works as well, but we’ll save those announcements for the future. Happy BookBrewing!
We have good news for our authors. eBook sales figures are just starting to come in, and we're gearing up to send out the first royalty payments at the end of March.
We're now posting sales figures to your book profiles from every retailer as they come in. You can find them by clicking on the title of each book in your My Books page and scrolling down.
Don't see sales for a certain month, or a certain retailer? Don't worry -- sometimes it takes retailers a few months to provide data, but it will eventually show up and you will be paid your share (if you hear rumors to the contrary, read this). Get a refresher on the conditions surrounding payments in the Author Agreement you signed, and be sure you follow these simple instructions for getting paid.
We have been submitting your books to the Google eBooks partner program when you ask us to, but no books have been made available for sale yet. We have been asking Google about this and all they can say is that they are experiencing delays, but today we noticed they went a step further by posting this in their forums (emphasis ours):
"There is an issue affecting a few hundred partners. Basically, the books enabled for sale are still not available on the Google eBookstore. We are working to fix this."
We'll continue to ask Google for updates. Thanks for your patience!
A few authors have asked us if self-published authors who have used Borders Get Published -- a separate service that is powered by BookBrewer technology -- have asked us if they will be paid royalties for their eBook sales. Just so there's no confusion, we're reposting this notice on BookBrewer.com.
The answer is a resounding yes! For titles published on both Borders Get Published and BookBrewer, we are just starting to receive sales data. In some cases we're also receiving payments from retailers. We will begin posting that data to your profiles this week. Expect to hear more about how to check your sales and prepare to receive payments in the coming days.
Also, as you may be aware, Borders is delaying payments to some large publishers as part of its refinancing plan. Note that self-published authors who go through Borders Get Published are NOT subject to delayed payments and have nothing to worry about. Payments for Borders eBooks go through Borders' partner Kobo and are then sent to BookBrewer, which is owned by FeedBrewer, Inc. Payments from other retailers are made directly to FeedBrewer. We are committed to paying authors as soon as we're able to pass those payments on to them.
Another thing to be aware of in general regarding royalty payments is that they are never instantaneous. BookBrewer doesn't receive payments from retailers for 2-3 months after books are available for sale. This is true for eBooks sold on Borders.com or through Kobo and Kobo-powered apps, as well as sales through other retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and Google. This is why the Borders Get Published and BookBrewer author agreement states that we pay authors quarterly.
To celebrate our recent launch of BookBrewer.com, we're offering a special limited-time offer for our "Advanced Publishing package." Normally it costs $199.99, but 50 of you will get it for only $39. The offer is good through November 30, 2010.
Creating and formatting an eBook in the .ePub format used by most eBook retailers usually requires time and technical knowledge, and for that reason people often pay "conversion shops" hundreds of dollars to get their books set up.
Not so with BookBrewer! With our tools, you simply copy and paste or import your content, click buttons to add bolding and other formatting, then click a button. We take care of the rest and send you back a perfect .ePub file that will be accepted by Apple iBooks, Amazon.com and more. We even run it through the same ePub Checker used by Apple just to make sure.
Chuck Joiner from MacVoicesTV recently interviewed BookBrewer CEO Dan Pacheco and Borders' eBook manager Kelly Peterson at last week's BlogWorld Expo conference. You can watch the full video here:
One of the unique aspects of BookBrewer's partnership with Borders is that they're fully embracing our "publish once, distribute everywhere" approach. Books published through the Borders Get Published service will be distributed to every major eBook retailer that will accept them, including the Borders store. Peterson did a great job explaining her company's open approach with regards to authors and communities. Here are some highlights from the interview:
Kelly Peterson, eBooks Manager for Borders:
"Borders' stock and trade is providing information and entertainment for our customers, so we're interested in all formats, whether it's a hardcover format, a paperback format, or an eBook format. We want to give customers what they want in the way that they want to read it. And really that's where eBooks come in."
"But it's also about providing lots of choices to the community that Borders serves. Borders' community is about both readers and authors, and what excites us most about the BookBrewer partnership is this idea that we're going to give content to everyone, that it's not exclusive to Borders, because that's not what serves the author best and that's not what serves the customer best. We're going to provide options for every single reader no matter what. That's why Borders is really getting behind the BookBrewer idea. We don't believe in silos. We believe in communities. That's really what we're all about as a company."
"Borders has been an expert on books for a long time. We have a large e-mail following and Facebook following, as well as a new digital tab on Facebook. We're planning on promoting BookBrewer everywhere where we promote all of our books."
"We're also going to promote the BookBrewer experience because we think that there are a lot of people out there who are the future of books, that are the future novelists, that are the future Dan Browns. They're the people who we need to reach. They're going to help us all. They're going to help Borders, and they're going to help themselves. This is a great opportunity for them."
Our favorite quote: "We don't believe in silos. We believe in communities."
Right on! We feel so fortunate to have a partner that is so closely aligned with our goals, and the goals of authors. This approach is the future of eBook publishing, and we believe it will serve Borders well as a company.
Kelly is also an expert in eBooks and an advocate for authors and readers in the digital age. You can learn more from her on the eReading tab of Borders' Facebook page.