In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* Here Be Brave New Worlds
* Topic: Stores, Distributors and Aggregators
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” Stephen King in On Writing
A new bundle just released: the Here Be Brave New Worlds bundle is now available at your favorite store. To read about it, visit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-brave-new-worlds. Thirteen novels by thirteen very good writers for only $4.99, including my SF novel The Consensus.
To see all eight bundles my work is current in, visit https://harveystanbrough.com/bundles/.
Topic: Stores, Distributors and Aggregators
Yesterday I wrote no fiction. Besides doing a lot of other non-writing things, I spent some time looking for ebook aggregators. Primarily, I wanted to expand the reach of my ebooks to India, China, Africa and Australia. I learned a great deal in only a few hours.
People around the world are hungry for fiction and nonfiction in the English language. This is especially true in the huge populations of China and India. Amazon has a store in India, but they sell only to those who buy through Amazon. They do not have a store in China at all. Just sayin’.
But I wanted to see where my books are available for sale (license) at present. So I started my search by going to my primary aggregator, D2D, at https://draft2digital.com/partners/. There, I clicked on the individual store links to see what they offered in the way of distribution.
First, for my use in this discussion, there are three levels: stores, distributors, and aggregators. A store is exactly what it sounds like. An individual place where your ebook is “shelved” for licensing to those who decide they want to read it.
Amazon is a store. Apple is a store. Barnes & Noble is a store (for now). Rakuten Kobo is a store too, but it’s also a distributor.
In fact, all of those are also distributors to dozens of their own stores.
For just one example, Amazon automatically “stocks” your ebook in 13 distribution centers. Those are distinguished by the final two letters of the URL (Amazon.US or Amazon.UK, for example). Through those distribution centers, your ebook is offered to readers in 31 countries, but always through an Amazon store. (For example, Amazon.FR distributes to stores in France, Monaco, Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.)
So really, Amazon is only a store, albeit one with a global (but not all-encompassing) reach.
Rakuten Kobo, on the other hand, sells through their own stores as well as partner stores. On their site, they brag of distribution to 190 countries, but they list only 33 (including several that Amazon did not list).
Interestingly, I also learned if your book is priced at below $2.99, you make a slightly better profit if you upload directly to Kobo instead of going through D2D or Smashwords to reach them.
But I found the difference is negligible, and you actually make a BETTER percentage on books priced $2.99 or higher if you distribute to Kobo through D2D than you would if you uploaded to Kobo directly. So just food for thought.
Apple says they sell through 51 countries around the world, but they don’t offer a list that I could find.
Not surprisingly, B&N avoided the topic altogether or buried the information so deep that I couldn’t find it.
The best-known aggregators are Draft2Digital and Smashwords. Aggregators distribute your book to stores and to other distributors.
D2D is my go-to for the major markets. They have a clean, user-friendly interface.
For many years (since 2011) I’ve also used Smashwords. Even after I found D2D, I continued to use Smashwords to get into some UK markets that D2D doesn’t reach. But beginning with the novel I just published (The Storm), I no longer use or recommend Smashwords. The interface is too clunky (Mark Coker refuses to update it), the markets are too small, and I only record “sales” through them when I give away a book through their tiny store, and not even many of those. So no more.
Enter two more international aggregators: PublishDrive and StreetLib.
Both of them reach the same markets Smashwords goes to (plus many, MANY more), and they do so more actively, with marketing tools for authors. They also both reach many more markets and countries than D2D or even than Amazon, Kobo, et al.
So which to choose?
Wel, PublishDrive works on a subscription model. You pay a set fee every month based on how many books you want to distribute through them. (In all fairness, I should add that you can distribute one title through them free.)
But I currently have around 300 pieces of IP in my inventory, including novels, novellas, and short story collections; nonfiction books; individual short stories; and poetry collections.
So I would have to pay $599.99 PER MONTH to distribute through PublishDrive. If I wanted to distribute only my 87 major fiction works (novels, novellas, short story collection) or even only my 56 novels and novellas, I’d still have to pay $199.99 per month. Way out of my league.
But to check out PublishDrive for yourself, visit https://publishdrive.com/.
On the other hand, I can distribute through StreetLib for a 10% (standard) royalty split. If my books sell, StreetLib gets a cut. To investigate StreetLib, visit https://streetlib.com/.
At this point, it’s all math. If I were selling dozens of copies of every book in every country every month, I would use PublishDrive.
Unfortunately, at present that isn’t the case. So I’ll continue to publish every work through D2D, Amazon, and BundleRabbit (a book bundling service), and very soon I’ll do a batch upload of ALL my titles to StreetLib and make my work available to new worldwide markets.
This is far from a comprehensive look at stores, distributors and aggregators, but maybe it will at least give you a head start in your own search.
Today I’ll write, and I’ll report any fiction numbers the next time the Journal appears.
Talk with you again soon.
Listen to DWS being interviewed by D2D’s Mark Leslie Lefebvre at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0v54-nApB. (It’s supposed to be “live” at 10 a.m. Pacific time. I’m hoping they’ll leave it up afterward.) If it isn’t up on YouTube, you can also find it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Draft2Digital/videos/231767454686613/.
See “How To Sell Your Books In Bulk…” at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2020/04/06/sell-your-books-in-bulk-david-chilton/.
See “Play The Cards You Are Dealt” at https://prowriterswriting.com/play-the-cards-you-are-dealt.
See “Spider Bites And Randy Monkeys: Time For The Bad Sex Awards” at https://killzoneblog.com/2020/04/spider-bites-and-randy-monkeystime-for-the-bad-sex-awards.html.
See “Developing a Writing Practice, Part 2: Community” at https://www.janefriedman.com/developing-a-writing-practice-part-2-community/. I list this only to show how deeply ingrained are some of the myths. But each to his own (sigh). If you want to write by committee, by all means, read it FWIW.
Fiction words yesterday…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 1080 (Journal)
Writing of For the Good of the Galaxy (novel)
Day 1…… 2645 words. Total words to date…… 2645
Day 2…… 2573 words. Total words to date…… 5218
Day 3…… 3604 words. Total words to date…… 8822
Day 4…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 8822
Total fiction words for the year………… 216804
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6660
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 87810
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 304614
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 3
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 48
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31