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View Full Version : One more strike against POD authors... :(



Cathy C
12-26-2005, 05:17 AM
Just saw this notice on another forum. It involves iUniverse, Xlibris & AuthorHouse, but will probably spread to others, as I saw notice of it in Publisher's Weekly as a decision being made by the distributors/wholesalers to Amazon and others.

This letter was sent to an Xlibris author who shared it with the forum.

*****************

This letter is to inform you of important adjustments made to the process of having your title listed through online channels such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and borders.com. In order to accommodate an ever increasing volume of titles our distribution affiliates have always charged Xlibris a fee for keeping a book listed on these sites. This fee was originally offset by the online channel websites by running a micro-inventory of each available title. In August 2004, online channel establishments ceased to run such small inventories. Due to this change, Xlibris will now be removing titles whose sales activity does not generate enough revenue to offset the listing fees.

As a result of these changes, we are required to introduce a Channel Distribution fee of $50 for those that would like to continue their online distribution. This is valid for one year and affords you the opportunity to continue marketing your book. Benefits of the service include:

You, the author, determine how long you would like your book listed with channel distributors regardless of sales activity.

Provide alternative established venues aside from your personal website and the Xlibris website, for generating book sales.

Your title is due for renewal in the distribution network on January 2006. As sales of your title through the distribution channels have been below the minimum required offset point, the title will be removed from the networks of our online channel affiliates and will solely be supported by the Xlibris bookstore after January 7, 2006. Please call us at 1 888 795 4274 and ask to speak with a customer service representative to let us know if you would like to take advantage of the Channel Distribution Service and have your title remain available.

We do apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and would like to thank you for being part of the Xlibris family.

Sincerely,

*************

Without free listings at Amazon, BN.com and Borders, will a lot of these smaller houses close down or raise their fees?

kathompson
12-26-2005, 07:10 AM
$50? Considering it costs the publishers only $12, that's a rip off. Sure, charge the authors the fee, but make it reasonable.

Dawno
12-26-2005, 07:30 AM
I wonder how this will impact Publish America and what they'll be saying to the authors...

Sheryl Nantus
12-26-2005, 07:34 PM
they'll blame everyone else, charge the authors the $50 fee and laugh all the way to the bank with the extra...

d'oh!

DaveKuzminski
12-26-2005, 09:29 PM
I expect PA will pay the fee on the more recent books in order to keep the pretense alive that they're a publisher. If they let too many of their older books fall from being listed, that could cause several things to happen.

For instance, it could create a backlash among all the authors whose books didn't sell well and who were relying upon their status as published authors to give them some respect in their private lives.

By reducing the number of PA books listed as available at Amazon and other reputable stores, new writers might question the discrepancy between that and the claimed number of PA's happy authors.

In other words, if PA's claims of making several million each year are at all near the truth, then paying out eight thousand to the distributors each year could be viewed as necessary in order to continue the charade.

Oh, I'm sure the vanity publishers and their ilk will blame this all on the trade publishers as a conspiracy, but it's actually brought about by their own success in flooding the distribution channels with books that don't sell well enough to warrant stocking. Consequently, the distributors have to do something to alleviate the situation or they'll find their own costs rising too fast to control.

Still, this is welcome news since it will reduce slightly the number of POD-reliant publishers since not all can accept the increased charge or justify passing it onto their writers.

ResearchGuy
12-27-2005, 02:35 AM
...brought about by their own success in flooding the distribution channels with books that don't sell well enough to warrant stocking....
An admirable example of the Darwinist paradigm acted out in a social/economic setting. Population pressure from unrestricted reproduction has savaged the ecological niche. The unfit are being weeded out. How will natural selection among the overmultiplying species (in this case, POD books) lead to change in the species? One guess: if the fee-for-listing paradigm continues and expands, the species will evolve to a much smaller number of much fitter titles. In short, POD publishers will have to become selective where authors expect books to be listed in the usual places. Meanwhile, the authors who are willing to forego listing will form a separate species of POD authorship--those whose books are available strictly via author-mediated means.

Now, some (many?) PODs already offer different levels of service (pay extra for ISBN and listing), so, this may boil down to PA bifurcating its methods to serve two separate clienteles: one for authors who will (in some fashion, such as guaranteed minimum purchase) pay for ISBN and listing, and the other for outright vanity ("convenience," if you prefer) authors who forego ISBN and listing (or at least forego listing, as ISBNs are dirt cheap in quantity). Modifications for other PODs might be more marginal. PA will trumpet this as a tremendous step forward, a triumph, a new service to authors.

--Ken

Cathy C
12-27-2005, 03:07 AM
as ISBNs are dirt cheap in quantity


It's interesting that you should bring this up, since I've been wondering how this might play out against the upcoming slimming of the ISBN pool in 2007. According to the brochure that R.R. Bowker has compiled about the transition to the EAN/UCC-13 number (from the present 10-digit ISBN), little will change until publishers have exhausted their present supply of 10-digit numbers. But once those are gone...? :confused: Well, that's still up in the air. The change came about primarily because of the massive increase in new publishers and new books. The change to a 13-digit number will supposedly bolster the system up to a billion new combinations. But supposedly, they (Bowker) will start to get stingy about doling them out. The quantity of numbers a publisher can purchase at a time will be reduced, so they have to apply more often (at, I presume, an extra fee). No big deal to the larger publishers, who can eat the cost. But the vanities? Hmmm.....

mdin
12-27-2005, 06:06 AM
They say this started in 2004. Is this something old/new, what?

Dawno
12-27-2005, 06:20 AM
Xlibris will now be removing titles whose sales activity does not generate enough revenue to offset the listing fees

It looks to me that at Xlibris anyone whose book isn't selling at a level that makes paying the 'channel distribution' cost feasible will get an offer to either pony up the $50 or have their book delisted from the channels. It might have taken the author who posted that letter a year for his/her sales to drop below Xlibris's threshold.

At least that's what it looks like to me...just guessing here.

Ralyks
01-04-2006, 06:37 PM
My POD hasn't said anything about this to me. Looks like Xlibris is just trying to get a few more bucks. That listing fee should already have been included in their package price.

Mike Coombes
01-05-2006, 01:41 AM
$50? Considering it costs the publishers only $12, that's a rip off. Sure, charge the authors the fee, but make it reasonable.

I don't see it as a rip off. Publishers are offering a product with some guarantee of quality - they, at least, liked it enough to pay for it, and therefore the online stores have a greater chance of making money out of them. POD product has no such guarantee - the only person necessary to like it, or even read it, before it hits the market is the author (and maybe the author's mother).

The bigger fee is due recognition of the high trash quotient of POD. I think for PA they should make it $500.

GHF65
01-06-2006, 06:33 PM
I haven't heard a word of this from iUniverse. I need to find my contract with them and see whether the listing on Amazon et al is contractual or simply mentioned in the promo materials. I know I wouldn't have signed on if I'd thought I'd be paying a fee for listing my book on those sites. I'm far too cheap for that!

CaoPaux
01-07-2006, 12:03 AM
http://www.ecommerce-guide.com/solutions/advertising/article.php/3552221


Amazon
Monthly Listing fees:$40-47 (unlimited listings)
Commission:15%
Joining Fee: None
Participating dealers: 20,000+
Total Listings: 70 million+ (estimated)

<snip>

By all accounts, Amazon Marketplace is becoming an effective platform for selling used books, as it remains the top site for shifting new books. Sales are apparently going so well with used books, Amazon is abruptly ending its affiliation of many years standing with ABE and Alibis in October, requiring ABE and Alibris sellers to sign up separately with Amazon and pay additional Amazon monthly fees to list their books on the site pricing out many small sellers from the site.

<snip>And I'll bet my lunch that the "In August 2004, online channel establishments ceased to run such small inventories." in Xlibris' notice refers to Ingram's change of M.O. around that time.

maestrowork
01-10-2006, 05:48 PM
It looks to me that at Xlibris anyone whose book isn't selling at a level that makes paying the 'channel distribution' cost feasible will get an offer to either pony up the $50 or have their book delisted from the channels. It might have taken the author who posted that letter a year for his/her sales to drop below Xlibris's threshold.

At least that's what it looks like to me...just guessing here.

$50 will make it cost ineffective to be listed, even though being listed on Amazon or BN.com would prove vital to the perceived "legitimacy" and availability of the book. However, in the case of "below level" sales -- it's easy to note that a lot of these books rank below 1,000,000 which only translate to maybe a few sales a year. If you're only selling 2 books on Amazon a year, it's definitely not worth the $50 price tag.

I think this policy would do two things: 1) encourage authors to hand sell more or direct their effect toward online selling; 2) to make more money off those authors who want to keep up the appearance.