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BookBaby Raises Prices, Annnounces New "Free" Distribution Option

Bowing toBookBaby-logo[1] the inevitable, indie ebook distributor BookBaby announced a new pricing schedule last week.

They’re now offering a no-fee distribution option and a $99 option, both of which now include paying BookBaby a 15% commission on earnings.

Along with the 2 new price points BookBaby has also announced a much higher priced $249 option. Authors who still want to take home 100% of their earnings will have to pay considerably more than under the old plans.

Originally launched in early 2011, BookBaby had made a name in charging only a flat $99 fee with 0% commission to distribute an ebook. They have seen some success with this model, but their bigger and more successful competitor Smashwords has always offered a commission based distribution option – and now BookBaby has followed suit.

BookBaby might claim a larger distribution network than Smashwords, but they still have fewer authors signed up. If it’s valid to judge popularity based on which service is bigger* then clearly more authors prefer a distribution option with no upfront costs.  If nothing else it makes sense for BookBaby to come closer to matching the prices of the leading ebook distributor.

But as close as Bookbaby may have come they still haven’t quite matched Smashwords, which throws in an automated ebook conversion in their one size fits all plan. Smashwords will convert a manuscript from from DOC to multiple formats and distribute the resulting ebooks to the leading ebookstores, all while charging a 15% commission.

* Maybe one service has more customers due to better marketing.

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Brian Felsen December 10, 2013 um 6:57 pm

Nate –

Thanks for writing about our new pricing! Here’s some more info:

– We’ve lowered our prices from $199 to $99 on our standard plan and from $99 to $0 (free) on our basic plan. And our $249 Premium service not only gets the author 100% of their net sales, but we also offers tons of other goodies that you can’t get with other services, including priority processing, post-conversion QC checks on eReaders, ePub format proof for your approval prior to distribution, review of online retail store selling information, and much more.
– While Smashwords "throws in an automated ebook conversion in their one size fits all plan" as you mention, that is a DIY solution which requires the author to input their document in the correct formatting, and then they get an auto-generated output (whose results are unpredictable and quality and appearance can vary). BookBaby not only has human beings doing the conversion, but we also give authors proofs of what it will look like before distribution, so there won’t be any surprises and disappointments.

Customer service support:
We offer full customer service support for all BookBaby clients – from independent authors to agents and publishers alike.

Tons of other services to help authors:
Unlike other companies, BookBaby offers help with cover design; website hosting for authors; partnerships with companies who can assist with editing, book scanning, and press releases – and we also can make custom-printed (physical) books!

I’m really proud and excited by this new service, which is FREE for every BookBaby author! Authors have been telling us that they need promotion – so we’ve teamed up with some of the industry’s top promotional companies to give authors the necessary tools to get the word out about their books and build a loyal readership base.

Worldwide distribution:
Not only do we deliver to a much wider worldwide distribution network (and we keep signing new partners, retail stores, and libraries all the time), but our distribution includes Amazon as well – which many other companies (such as Smashwords) don’t do.

So it wasn’t that we were “bowing to the inevitable” – 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. (Actually, this “new” pricing model, with a very low upfront fee and a percentage commission, isn’t so new – it now falls in line with the CD Baby model – which we introduced in 1999!) 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.

Yours –

Brian Felsen
President, BookBaby

Bookbaby Drops Free Distribution Option, But That Doesn't Mean "Free eBook Distribution is at an End" ⋆ The Digital Reader December 9, 2014 um 2:38 pm

[…] launched as a paid ebook distributor, for the past year Bookbaby has offered a free distribution option in the likes of Smashwords – but no more. Following a year to the day after the launch of that free […]

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