Most ebook distributors, whether it's Draft2Digital, PigeonLab, EpubDirect, Smashwords, or Bookbaby, charge a commission on the sales of the ebook titles they distribute, and the amount they earn goes up as sales increase.
Distee, a new distributor which launching this week, takes a different approach.
This firm is offering to distribute an author's ebooks to major ebookstores in exchange for a flat monthly fee. They're charging just £6.99 per book, per month to distribute to "Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Kobo, Sony, Google, WHSmith" as well as other ebookstores.
In addition to the low fee, Distee also promises monthly payments, fast updates, and a sales analytics platform which will let authors track their sales by channel.
Distee is promising that their cost structure is better for any publisher or author who earn more than £80 per month per title, and they could be correct. Draft2Digital, for example, takes a 10% commission on the retail price. It wouldn't take more than a few dozen sales of even cheap ebooks before Distee's deal starts paying for itself.
As the global ebook market continues to grow, ebook distributions will become an increasingly competitive market as new startups appear and try to attract customers. This is potentially a great opportunity for authors and publishers to lower their costs, but it does also come with some risk.
The downside of a competitive market is that some competitors will lose, and if (when) they go out of business they could take their customers' content and earnings with them. Authors need to be aware of the risks, and be prepared for the worst that could happen.