Indie eBookstore BooksOnBoard Shuts Down Amid Cries From Publishers of Non-Payment
Please sign in on the login page to download books you have purchased. BooksOnBoard has temporarily stopped selling books. We are re-structuring to compete more effectively against Goliaths who have entered our marketplace since we first launched in 2006, i.e., Amazon, Apple, Google, Sony and Barnes & Noble.
We expect to be back with our new business model soon. Meanwhile, customers can continue to download their prior purchases as long as the publisher and their distributors continue to make them available – same as always and out of our control. As in the past, it’s always wise to download your eBooks as soon as possible after purchase.
Thank you for your support of our store over the last seven years during which we have pioneered many innovations with our customers, including the first eBooks for sale on the iPhone. We look forward to serving you again with an exciting new approach soon.
If you have bought any ebooks from BooksOnBoard, now would probably be a good time to download them one last time. I doubt the site will be around for much longer.
BooksOnBoard has been having financial difficulties for quite some time now, and in fact I have heard from a couple different publishers that BoB has not been keeping up with payments.
This issue first came to my attention in early February 2013 when Dear Author reported that the romance and urban fantasy publisher Samhain Publishing cut ties BooksOnBoard due to unpaid invoices. According to the statement:
Samhain Publishing discontinued a direct relationship with Books on Board over 18 months ago due to non-payment of money owed. However, our books continue to remain available to them via Ingram’s Lightning Source. It is obviously their choice as to which titles they would like to stock, so if you are unable to find a Samhain book listed for purchase with them, we invite you to purchase the title directly from us at store.samhainpublishing.com.
And I know of at least one other publisher who hasn’t been paid. Lyrical Press complained on Twitter in late February 2013 that they had not been paid by BoB for any of the ebooks sold during 2012. Renee Rocco, the head of Lyrical Press, confirmed the complaint in a detailed email.
I didn’t report this story in late February because when I asked BoB for a statement they insisted the nonpayment was an error that they would correct. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but unfortunately BoB never got around to paying Lyrical Press all of the money owed. I confirmed with Renee Rocco this morning that BoB is still in arrears.
But that’s not all. I have the strong suspicion that BoB wasn’t paying their major suppliers either. I’ve been told that Lightning Source, the main ebook distributor for indie ebookstores, has also complained of non-payment. I was not able to confirm this rumor, but I will note that the shutdown today could very well be a result of LSI no longer distributing ebooks to BoB.
My requests to LSI for comment have gone unanswered. If they respond I will amend this post.
Folks, I’ve already said this but it bears repeating. Go Download Your eBooks Before It’s Too Late.
This ebookstore is very likely D-E-D dead. Someone might buy the assets out of bankruptcy, but the current operation is almost certainly a goner. And if a new ebookstore is resurrected under the BoB name, there’s no guarantee that the new owners will honor past sales.
This is a sad end to one of the older indie ebookstores. B0B was found in 2006 during a time when the ebook market was far more of a dream than a reality. It’s weathered the rise of the Kindle, the rise and fall of the Nook, and agency pricing.
But margins have always been tight in retail, and ebooks are no exception. And thanks to agency pricing that margin got a lot tighter.
Yes, i do blame agency pricing – at least in part. While I do like the idea of creators and publishers getting a larger percentage of the retail price, that extra money had to come from somewhere. At least some of it came from the pockets of retailers. I know that publishers like to claim that agency pricing was brought about so they can protect the smaller bookseller from Amazon, but they also made it more difficult for the smaller ebookstores to make a profit.