Borders BookBrewer - Things to make you go, Hmmmmm... PT 2

So, as you can see from my last post, there are some really good FREE choices on the market for getting your manuscript to virtual print.

A reminder... The information in this blog post is based on my own experience in e-publishing. My books are available on the left if you're interested. No one is paying me money to say nice things or mean things about any companies listed in this blog. I'm an Indie author like many of you out there and just want to share the knowledge I have gained while stumbling though this often complicated and scary market.  

Let’s go back now and take a look at Borders/Book Brewer’s  new service.
(Copied from Borders website)

“We give you the tools to edit content, add images and drag it into chapters; congratulations... you're an eBook author!”

This part sounds good. They’re going to give you tools to use that will convert your book. Always nice to have something right there to use without having to scour the internet.  Point for Borders & Book Brewers!

(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
http://bookbrewer.com/content/borders-choose-bookbrewer-power-its-ebook-self-publishing-service

Authors can add content by typing or copying and pasting it into an online form, or they can feed in their content from an existing Web site or blog. With the click of a button, they can arrange and edit content as they wish. The content is saved as an ePub file — the format most eBook stores require to sell a book.
Authors who choose the advanced package will receive a full version of their ePub file, which they will own and may share with friends, family or submit on their own to eBook stores. 
 
 

Hold on a second… The software to convert your book is proprietary. You paste in your document and it creates a file on their site and keeps it. If you want the Epub file back, you have to pay for it. By the way you have to pay for their advanced package $199.00 to get your file back.

Maybe I’ll hold onto that point.

Remember that little trick I mentioned before?
Smashwords allows you to download all of your formats for free. That means once converted, you will have fully functioning Epub and Mobi formats if you wanted to turn around and go to the other sites and load your books.

That’s just the quick and easy method to get an Epub file. Just Google  Epub creator and you will find tons of free or low-cost software options to convert your file for use in uploading to self-publishing sites.
Excellent resource here. http://www.lexcycle.com/faq/how_to_create_epub


Ok, back on point…

(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
http://bookbrewer.com/content/borders-choose-bookbrewer-power-its-ebook-self-publishing-service
For just $89.99 and a small commission on each book, we'll send your eBook to Borders, Amazon & more, and we'll even assign a free ISBN if you don't have one!

Um… Hold on there. $89.99 to have your book listed on Borders and Amazon. May I ask why? It’s free to setup and list a book on Amazon already. It’s also free to list on Kobo which as I understand is Borders ereader of choice. What’s the fee for? The conversion software can’t be all that special. There are tons of free options out there to convert your work to Epub. I’m going to take another point away for that.

I don't like the sound of this already but maybe the fee covers some other costs, maybe marketing or editing (something nifty the other services don't do). Let's continue.



(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
http://bookbrewer.com/content/borders-choose-bookbrewer-power-its-ebook-self-publishing-service
 Under the basic package, BookBrewer will assign the book an ISBN (a $125 value), and will make it available to all major eBook stores at a price set by the writer.

So, they are offering free ISBN’s  as part of their basic package but does that mean the author is listed as the Publisher or that Borders is listed as the publisher. I feel like I am missing out on some information here.I also feel they are inflating their numbers.

Smashwords offers this as an option too. (From Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#isbn

For $9.95, Smashwords will issue you an ISBN that registers you, the author or publisher, as the Publisher in the ISBN record. Smashwords will be listed as a distributor.

Also, purchasing ISBN’s is not that expensive. http://isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/isbn-fees.asp

If you are planning to publish a few pieces of work a 10 pack of ISBN’s is only $275. (Ebooks don’t require any barcoding so there is no need to worry about additional charges).

Still talking about ISBN pricing here…

Under the basic package, BookBrewer will assign the book an ISBN (a $125 value), and will make it available to all major eBook stores at a price set by the writer.

Where did they come up with the $125 value?  They would buy them in bulk at huge discounts, but let’s just stick with the 10 pack number for a moment.  $275/10 =$27.5 per ISBN…  

I’ll take another point away for that.

Now, we still need to talk about Royalties. You want to get paid for your hard work right?

Just because you paid your $89.99-$199 fee to setup your books, that doesn’t mean the rest is all yours. No. They are still going to take royalties on each book you sell.(I'm still wondering what the setup fees cover)


(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
http://bookbrewer.com/content/borders-choose-bookbrewer-power-its-ebook-self-publishing-service
Royalties will be based on sales and will vary with each retailer.

Um, what? Can I get a real number here? Kindle offers 35-70%. Pubit (B&N) offers 40-65%. Now those numbers are for direct sales on their site.

 Smashwords is a little more confusing because they are working with various retailers. Here is what they say.
https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#Royalties

Smashwords pays the author, or the author's designated publisher, 85% of the net sales proceeds from the work. Estimated proceeds are clearly disclosed during the publish process in a pie chart, and are calculated as follows: (Sales price minus transaction fee) multiplied by .85 = proceeds to author/publisher. The royalty rate for affiliate sales is 70.5% net. For most retail distribution partners, Smashwords pays the author/publisher 85% or more of the net proceeds to Smashwords, which works out to 42% or more of the suggested list price you set for your book. These rates vary by retailer. Apple and Diesel are 60% of retail price.

It may be confusing but at least there are calculations in place that help you see what you should be getting. When setting up books on Smashwords, you get a nifty little pie chart with each retailer calculation right there, no guess work.

I looked a little further into Bookbrewers website and found this…
http://bookbrewer.com/content/what-bookbrewer

How does BookBrewer make money?
We charge a flat $89.99 setup fee that includes an ISBN (a $125 value in itself) and take a 25% commission from each sale. This is quite a deal compared to other services, which charge between $300 and $3,000 to do the same thing. You can also pay $199.99 flat fee to get the full .ePub file to do with as you wish.


So they not only take money up front (for those unjustified setup fees) then they snip off another %25 of each sale. It's getting pretty pricy to work with these people. 

Now, to a self-publisher, their 25% commission for each sale is about standard.  That equates to a %75 royalty which does sound in line with the rest of the publishing sites out there.

What I don't understand is where the came up with the $300-$3,000 setup figure from.The three very legit, and not to mention most popular self-publishing platforms for virtual media cost $0 to set up.

At this point I am not seeing the benefit for any self-published author to work with BookBrewer/Borders.
They aren’t offering anything new to the market yet they are charging outrageous setup fees on top of taking a per-book cut of your profits.

There is no "service" provided for the fees they are charging. I could understand if they offered to edit or market your book as part of the fee, but there is nothing like that listed. It's just cash in their hands before your book makes a single sale.

To me it seems like a Big Busines cash grab targeting indie and self-published authors who are not quite market savvy yet.

A word to the wise…

If you’re interested in ebook self-publishing, do your homework first before signing on with any service that wants to charge you up front.

Everything they offer can be had for free via Smashwords, including a fully formatted Epub file and large distribution catalog and ISBN.

Comments

Cyber Writer said…
Katie, WOW! You have done your homework. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. Awesome post.
Karen
Katie S said…
Thanks Karen. I'm glad to share what I've learned with others. Indie authors already have such an uphill battle to fight to break into the market. Publishing can be very expensive and I don't want to see anyone spending unnecessary money because they "think" it will get them listed with a big name seller.
Dawn said…
Excellent info - thanks for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Great Blog! You're right on target!
Katie S said…
Thank you guys! I hope this info is helpful to anyone considering self-publishing.