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Books-a-Million Partners With FastPencil, Launches a Publishing Services Unit

bam publishingBooks-A-Million has launched a publishing services site called BAM Publishing DIY where it plans to charge indie authors and publishers to create and distribute their work.

Developed in partnership with FastPencil (which is also providing all of the services), the site offers an array of services and tools for authors and publishers. ranging from DIY tools for formatting and assembling an ebook to conversion, professional editing, and print distribution.

nam publishing diy

Costs range from a basic $59 conversion service (no distribution included) to a $129 option to sell through Books-a-Million’s website. Getting your work out on the general market, including into the Kindle and other stores, costs $279 and up, and will earn you 80% (ish) net royalties.

BAM Publishing DIY also offers more expensive publishing services packages with prices ranging from $599 to $6799 as well as a la carte service including developmental editing, professional cover design, and more.

I’ve spent a couple hours digging into the site, and I can tell you that the services are provided by FastPencil under Books-a-million’s brand.

While Fast Pencil’s name is not explicitly mentioned anywhere, a FastPencil email account is listed as the contact email address to get a quote for certain services. The BAM Publishing DIY site is also built based on the same template as FastPencil’s website, and the features lists for the more expensive packages on each site are almost identical.

All in all this is a pretty looking site and at first glance it looks reasonably priced, but I don’t think this is a good value.  I’ve tested the site by uploading an ebook and creating a project in order to distribute it. The process was easy and simple,  but I would still recommend against using this site to distribute your ebooks.

I checked, and BAM Publishing DIY will only pay an author $.96 out of the $2.99 retail price for an ebook. Smashwords pays far more than that, and they don’t charge you an upfront fee. Furthermore, an author will earn almost twice as much if they deal direct with the major ebookstores (less the Amazon tax, of course).

It’s a shame that Books-a-Million offers such a terrible deal on distribution, because aside from that the site offers a smoothly functional set of tools.

P.S. If you are in need of an alternate suggestion, I would recommend finding the services you need through a services marketplace.

BAM Publishing DIY

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David Gaughran April 24, 2015 um 7:46 am

I don’t understand what these companies are thinking. What makes them think they will get any traction in a marketplace which already has lots of good options (and lots of really bad ones), by offering a service which is (a) worse than the existing, dominant players, (b) more expensive, and (c) pays less royalties?

Something to look good on quarterly reports?

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 8:40 am

But are those better services easy to find? You and I know a lot about the market, but the average author might know less. If they don’t know where to shop around then they could think this is a good deal.

Rob Siders April 25, 2015 um 12:26 pm

I don’t think that BAM is looking for any traction with this and I doubt it cares much about what it looks like on a quarterly report. I think it just needed to have something available and a white label solution like the one that FastPencil sells allows it quickly and much cheaper than developing it in-house. And, as Nate said, there will be authors who find it and use it and be quite happy with it.

Mila Rechcigl April 24, 2015 um 3:53 pm

Would you also publish , say in the Czech Language. I would take care of the necessary proofreading . There are lots of Czechs in the US who would be interested in the 2 books ( which I have in manuscript form) . They deal with the subject of Czech Americans and their contributions to the US

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