Authors can now publish directly to Kobo!

Fantastic news for authors… you can now publish your e-books directly to Kobo! I’m not sure how I missed this little gem, but Kobo is now stepping into the same arena as Amazon with its Kobo Writing Life program by allowing authors to upload and manage their ebooks directly. Before, you had to go through a distributor such as Smashwords or Book Baby.

Kobo Writing LifeSo what does this translate to? Higher royalties, for one; you’re cutting out the middleman. Secondly, you have much more control over your e-book’s formatting. Those who have been frustrated by the lack of control over the Smashwords formatting will like that they can make their own epub file and upload this directly.

Is there a down-side? Well, if you don’t know how to make an .epub file, then you might find this new route a bit tricky, and prefer to go through a distributor. Although Amazon recently upgraded their ebook upload system so that you can upload a Word document and have it converted automatically, Kobo has yet to add this feature. Which means that you have to create an HTML file from your document, then convert the HTML file to .epub using a program such as Calibre. Again, this is great if you want lot of control over your formatting, but may be too much for the non-technically-inclined. (If you have no HTML knowledge, I’d advise against).

The upload process seems very easy, and it’s open to international authors (unlike Barnes and Noble Pub-It, which STILL only allows American residents to publish their ebooks directly). I wish Barnes and Noble would wake up to the fact that e-publishing is an international arena…! So kudos to Kobo for doing this.

There’s also a “signing bonus” right now, although I’m not clear yet on how this is different from the usual royalty system… once I find the time to read the fine print, I’ll report back!

Kobo writing life

CreateSpace now distributes to Amazon Europe!

Exciting news for CreateSpace authors/publishers: CreateSpace is now distributing its print books to all of Amazon’s European sites! Previously, CreateSpace books were only available on Amazon.com, which meant book buyers in other countries had to pay massive shipping fees. Now, they will be able to buy them in their own currency and only pay their domestic shipping fees. This is fantastic news for authors as their print books are now more affordable in other countries… which of course translates to more sales!

CreateSpace LogoYou can read the announcement from CreateSpace below. If you have books already published with CreateSpace, make sure you go into the Distribution Channel selector for each book and opt in for Amazon Europe. (You have to do this yourself; your books are not automatically opted in.)

CreateSpace has done so much for authors, and continues to do so – a huge round of applause for them!

Make Your Print Book Available in Europe

Now with CreateSpace, you can distribute your print book directly through Amazon’s European websites, including Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, and Amazon.it. Plus, CreateSpace offers flexible royalty payment options. You can easily select direct deposit in the U.S. or Europe and get paid in U.S. dollars, British pounds, or Euro – your choice. Join CreateSpace and learn how to distribute your print book in Europe for free.

CreateSpace Europe

Class Action Suit – Ebook Price Collusion

Publisher’s Lunch published an article this week about a suit filed over price collusion for e-books (for those who don’t know, collusion is when several companies ‘set’ the price of a certain item, disallowing competitive pricing).

I was used to buying e-books from fellow indie authors, usually priced from $0.99 to $6.99, and when I finally bought an e-reader, I was shocked by the price of ‘industry’ e-books. Some are more expensive than the paperback, which makes no sense at all. It takes a tiny amount of development to produce an e-book, and there are no printing, shipping, warehousing and inventory costs, and no returns. This means they should be only a fraction of the price of print books! So if the e-books cost the same as paperbacks (or more), yet are without all those overheads, who is making all that extra profit? Is it the author? I suspect not, but I’d like to know…!

Well, another reason for people to buy indie books, I guess! I’m really interested to know what happens to the pricing of Industry e-books, and what it will do to sales if they stay as high as $12.99.

“Class-action law specialists Hagens Berman filed suit in a San Francisco Federal Court against Apple, along with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, over the agency model of ebook pricing. On behalf of two people who bought ebooks, the firm alleges that Apple and the publishers are “in violation of a variety of federal and state antitrust laws, the Sherman Act, the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Act.”

Aside from explaining the agency model in florid terms, the essence of the complaint appears for now to rest on twists of logic and reasoning–or tautologies–rather than any evidence not already known to the world. The firm asserts that “on information and belief, in the course of entering into agreements with Apple, Apple and the Agency 5 communicated the terms of the agreements and pricing information with each other, including signaling to each other that they would agree to the MFN Clause and price formula that would increase and standardize pricing to a range between $12.99 to $14.99.” And they claim publishers’ “unlawful combination and pricing agreement would not have succeeded without the active participation of Apple. Apple facilitated changing the eBook pricing model and conspired with the Publisher Defendants to do so.”

But the filing does not assert any new evidence to back up those claims. Rather, they reason that “no single major publisher would risk such loss of sales and insist on the agency model by itself. Thus, as a matter of economics, the agency model works only if there is an agreement by a significant number of publishers to the new pricing model.” The complaint also alleges “collusion was a necessary ingredient of the Publisher Defendants’ anticompetitive plan to gain direct control over eBook pricing. If they had not all conspired to force retailers like Amazon to adopt the Agency model under the same terms and at the same time, consumers would have simply reacted to rising eBook prices by choosing to purchase their eBooks from publishers or retailers who did not participate in the Agency model.” So, by the suit’s reasoning, publishers must have colluded because it would have been riskier not to.

For more on the lawsuit, visit PublishersMarketplace.com.”