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Cooperative epub sales
#1  pittendrigh 10-05-2021, 07:06 PM
Has there been any discussion of cloud storage and a cooperative site for authors, where sellers would pay a monthly fee to list their epubs and (after that) collect 100% of the retail sale instead of what ever it is Amazon and the others offer (is it really only 35% for ebooks?).


This seems like an obvious idea. Is there such a place?
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#2  jhowell 10-05-2021, 07:30 PM
Quote pittendrigh
(is it really only 35% for ebooks?)
Most e-books can qualify for a 70% royalty at Amazon.

(I don't have an answer for the main question of this thread.)
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#3  Quoth 10-06-2021, 09:33 AM
Amazon, Smashwords, Google Playstore, Apple, Scribd, Barnes & Noble, Tolino, Kobo and others list books for free forever. Why would we pay for titles to be listed?

We only upload to Amazon, Smashwords and Google Playstore Books. Smashwords redistributes to Apple, Scribd, Barnes & Noble, Tolino, Kobo and others, so we don't bother using them directly. While Amazon has about 90% of English language ebook sales, about 3/4 of ours are via Smashwords and those they redistribute to. Zero sales via Google Playstore Playbooks, which isn't unusual. We had books cheaper on our own site for a while but it's too complicated doing customer support and harder to setup, per title.
You can't collect 100% even on your own web site as you'd have Pay Pal, SagePay Mastercard or Visa to pay. The big card companies charge a small seller maybe 10x what they charge a supermarket.

Also direct published ebooks pay the author a lot more than the publisher royalties from paper books.

Cloud storage is just someone else's server that you pay for. Most of Amazon, Smashwords, Google Playstore, Apple, Scribd, Barnes & Noble, Tolino and Kobo also offer that, but people are better off making a backup and ignoring so called Cloud storage.

There is Etsy, Wattpad etc. Personally I can't see the point of them.
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#4  Hitch 10-06-2021, 10:49 AM
Quote pittendrigh
Has there been any discussion of cloud storage and a cooperative site for authors, where sellers would pay a monthly fee to list their epubs and (after that) collect 100% of the retail sale instead of what ever it is Amazon and the others offer (is it really only 35% for ebooks?).


This seems like an obvious idea. Is there such a place?
And why would authors do that? What's the foot traffic? SEO? What's their upside? Compared to paying a relatively nominal fee to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.--with millions and millions of people browsing for books--for hosting their books?

I'm sorry, but I've seen this conversation come up over the years and it never goes anywhere, because publishing is the business of posting books to sell, for MONEY. Not for fun. You make money through enough people seeing and then buying your book.

You're effectively talking about a "new Amazon." Old Smashwords was the first real eBook store and it's gone by the wayside, effectively. Sure, they have some sales, but nothing like the others.

If you can lure millions of people to your Co-op bookstore, great. Otherwise, you're not doing much for those authors. It's just another website and there are already thousands--thousands--of small online bookstores, all trying to do basically what you're talking about.

At how many of them, how many of those small, less-well-known eBook stores, exactly, do YOU shop for eBooks????? Where the authors earn more? How many of those eBooks, at those stores, have YOU bought? And if you don't, and you haven't, why would anyone else?

Hitch
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#5  Quoth 10-07-2021, 06:07 AM
Quote Hitch
And why would authors do that? What's the foot traffic? SEO? What's their upside? Compared to paying a relatively nominal fee to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.--with millions and millions of people browsing for books--for hosting their books?

…

If you can lure millions of people to your Co-op bookstore, great. Otherwise, you're not doing much for those authors. It's just another website and there are already thousands--thousands--of small online bookstores, all trying to do basically what you're talking about.

At how many of them, how many of those small, less-well-known eBook stores, exactly, do YOU shop for eBooks????? Where the authors earn more? How many of those eBooks, at those stores, have YOU bought? And if you don't, and you haven't, why would anyone else?

Hitch
Exactly. All true and you only pay a fee to Amazon, Smashwords, Google Playstore, Apple, Scribd, Barnes & Noble, Tolino, Kobo and others if they make a sale. Unless you are madly popular, any site with a model like Etsy will make you a loss. If you are madly popular then Amazon, Smashwords, Google Playstore are sufficient.

Also a paper edition needs to retail at about 3x or 4x the price for same per sale return if SP. A paper edition by a major publisher returns less in royalty than ebook sales. Publisher advances are only significant to Politicians, Celebrities or already famous authors.

Two uploads, Amazon & Smashwords (who add Apple, Scribd, Barnes & Noble, Tolino, Kobo and others) gives about 100% of the eBook selling market. We upload to Google Playstore Books too because it's less than 10 minutes work, once per title, and costs nothing. The exact same epub to Amazon, Smashwords (who add Apple, Scribd, Barnes & Noble, Tolino, Kobo and others) and Google.

There is no point to uploading to any other website or paying a listing fee.
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#6  Hitch 10-07-2021, 09:24 AM
Quote Quoth
Exactly. (snippage)
There is no point to uploading to any other website or paying a listing fee.
Why would anyone pay a monthly fee to list their book? It's mad. Given the free, free free models out there, it's utterly daft.

Sure, you pay from proceeds--but that's hugely different than paying upfront. Don't believe me? Take a look at the difference in print book listings in a given year between Amazon ($0.00 fee upfront) and IngramSpark ($49.95 upfront).

Hitch
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#7  pittendrigh 10-07-2021, 02:25 PM
All good points. If such a service existed and (eventually) got good traffic the motivation would be for authors to get 100% of the retail sale.

Another motivation would be the satisfaction associated with NOT being beholden to giant corporate monopoly.
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#8  Quoth 10-07-2021, 03:10 PM
It does exist and for books or ebooks they are failures.
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#9  Hitch 10-08-2021, 12:26 AM
Quote pittendrigh
All good points. If such a service existed and (eventually) got good traffic the motivation would be for authors to get 100% of the retail sale.

Another motivation would be the satisfaction associated with NOT being beholden to giant corporate monopoly.
Quote Quoth
It does exist and for books or ebooks they are failures.
As Quoth mentioned, @pittendrigh, here's the thing--those models and entities do exist--and the fact that you don't know about them should tell you everything that you need to know about it.

So, think logically--would you be unwilling to trade 30%, on any given sale, for the difference between 10,000 people a day shopping on your co-op, versus 100M people/day coming through Amazon?

Nobody in their right mind wouldn't pay for that sort of traffic.

Hitch
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#10  gmw 10-08-2021, 03:26 AM
I wasn't going to get this personal, but Hitch and Quoth, you pushed me into it by being so polite about book sales.

Simply put: most titles don't sell enough to justify paying a monthly fee. Yes, I'm talking about me. I'm not going to go into reasons, reasons don't really matter to this conversation, what matters is that my one trilogy - now 6/7 years old - doesn't sell enough to justify ANY sort of subscription fee for hosting, and certainly my few free short stories are not going to pay for it.

I am not surprised, but I would care a lot more if I was having to pay a monthly subscription fee to keep them listed. In that case they'd quickly go the same way as all those "out of print" books out there. Instead, they happily sit on Amazon servers, and Ingram print-on-demand servers, and many other places, waiting to be found, or for me to do something about making them more visible (and again the details are not relevant).

And this is not some unusual story. Indeed, I would hazard that this is among the most common of stories. Books do not just keep selling forever, especially books that didn't get particularly famous to start with. No they fade into the backlist (for those authors that keep publishing), or into obscurity (for those that don't - this wasn't going to be me, but at the moment it appears to be the case).

What keeps these books available for rare collectors or new readers is piggy-backing onto services that are willing to host these old titles for the kudos of be being able to say they have X million titles available. Never mind that X-minus-a-select-few sell bugger-all, if any, it is still a service they can offer with minimal cost to themselves as long as that ever changing select-few keep selling.

There's an old saying that the more things change the more they stay the same, well this is one of those things. Big sellers have always paid the way for the rest of the crop, right back through traditional publishing. For all that self-publishing appears to be a revolution, it is still a fact that the big sellers are paying the way - it's just that the cost of holding all those millions of titles is now close to negligible for someone like Amazon who will likely pay more to store their transaction data than all those old titles combined.
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