Books-a-Million Partners With FastPencil (Again), Now Sells Space on its Shelves
Remember that publishing services portal which PastPencil and the bookseller Books-a-Million launched in April 2015?
They relaunched it last week with a new name and a new lure to pull in the unwary.
According to the press release, BAM! Publish is "an intuitive publishing platform with an integrated in-store book placement program".
Strip away the marketing dross and we see that this is a services marketplace run by FastPencil where publishers and authors can either buy a distribution package or specific services like editing, design, or an author website (I can do that).
I call it a "services marketplace" because there are so many sites like this one that they’re now a category which includes Bookbaby, FastPencil, and a half-dozen other sites.
The one major difference between BAM Publish and the other sites is the promise of in-store placement.
Yes, BAM is dangling the same lure as Nook Press Print: use a bookseller’s platform, and you might be able to get your book in their stores.
In the case of BAM, that promise comes with a few strings attached.
According to the website, authors have to pay $399 and jump through a few hoops (including spending $2,800 or more):
- You purchase one of our Premium Services Packages, or 1,000 print books
- When you’re ready, submit a copy of your book and purchase confirmation to your Books-A-Million contact
- Books-A-Million reviews your book for relevance and appearance
- Upon approval, Books-A-Million specifies local and/or other stores to stock your book, the on-shelf availability time period, and quantities required for each location
- You fund book publishing and shipping to approved locations
- If your book sells out, BAM will re-order/additional inventory at its option
- Unsold copies are returned to you at Books-A-Million expense after shelf-life expires
- Books sales and royalty payments are reported in your online workspace dashboard
Barnes & Noble has similar requirements for getting into its stores through Nook Press Print; authors have to sell 500 ebook copies through Nook Press and get the approval of B&N’s small press dept.
B&N’s requirements are less restrictive, and the potential reward higher: it has over 600 retail stores to Books-a-Million’s 260.
Nevertheless, I question whether either program is worth it; the costs are high and the potential gain is minimal. With romance, thriller, and SF genres, for example, the market has largely gone digital. And since Createspace can distribute a POD title to bookstores, it obviates the value of bothering with niche programs like Nook Press Print or BAM Publish.