Will my book come out as an ebook?
WILL MY BOOK BE PUBLISHED IN EBOOK FORMAT?
Yes. We bring titles out in print and digital in the same month of publication. The dates will not match exactly. We do not consider print and ebook rights separately - it just leads to too many complications, how the print and ebook editions are then presented on the same page on Amazon, prevents us from selling overseas rights, etc.
Ebook Sales – these are shown separately on your Financials page, NB they appear as if sold in N America, because they are distributed worldwide from there. Sales on ebooks take two months to get reported.
WILL THE EBOOK COST ME EXTRA?
The cost of conversion is deducted from the royalties payable. We use a design house for the ebook conversion, they decide which of these cost levels apply and we pass that on in the royalties section on the Financial page. It is added when the conversion work is done. This is a once-only cost.
The conversion cost will be either
“Basic” – straight text, no special text styling or formatting. £0.30/$0.50 per page
“Advanced” – has a lot of text formatting and styling and/or tabular data. Or any images, particularly if they have captions or text wrapped around them. £0.90/$1.40 per page.
Or “Custom” level (rarely used) –when there is a rescan, linked index or some complexity. You will be contacted if your title falls within this level.
NB: if the conversion cost looks really high and we're worried that we will not cover it in royalties, we will get back to you separately. If you wish us to go ahead with the conversion we will have to invoice you for this separately, rather than deduct from royalties, and payment will be needed before the conversion.
Ebooks are not simple, nil-cost, see for example 2014 article in the Economist.
WHAT WILL BE THE PRICE OF MY EBOOK?
Our standard pricing, irrespective of page extent, is:
Non-fiction: $9.99 / £6.99/Euros7.99
Adult fiction: $7.99 / £4.99
Childrens' fiction: $6.99 / £3.99
These can vary. When customers search for titles in some foreign markets, for example Amazon UK, the list price they see will include the Value Added Tax required for eBook sales in that country. This means that if we set the GBP and EUR prices as 1.49, customers shopping via Amazon UK, France, Germany, etc. would be paying 1.53 including VAT (this price would apply in countries where Amazon does not add a $2 surcharge).
If you wish the ebook price to be different from the standard please post your ebook price request on the Author Forum in the Editorial section/ebook queries. We cannot offer that retrospectively yet. The lowest price we can go to is $4.99/£2.99.
Prices have to end in 99 cents or 99 pennies – iBookstores will not accept an ebook that is priced otherwise.
The ebook price we set at publication cannot be changed and will be kept until we review it at 500 copies, because that is when the next publicity effort kicks in.
While bringing your ebook out at a lower price does not in itself guarantee any sales, it does mean that people are more likely to buy it on impulse, particularly if there are good reviews. And if they like it, they may recommend it. You still make about twice the royalty on a $5 ebook at 50% (after retail discount income probably $4, so $2) than on a $20 print book at 10% (nearer $1, after shop discounts).
Ebook promotion: We no longer run an initial 0.99 promotion for ebook titles.
It is going to take a few years for ebook pricing to settle down. Check out for instance this post, 3 January 2011; http://ireaderreview.com/2010/12/31/the-race-to-zero-6-94-and-2-18-are-the-new-9-99/
WHAT ROYALTY WILL I GET ON EBOOKS?
You will receive 50% of our receipts, less conversion costs (see above). Retailers will still deduct a trade discount, with Amazon for instance it is usually 30% of the retail price. In the UK there is VAT (sales tax) to come off as well. That applies across all titles on the list that are bought out as ebooks. There's a useful post on how income divides at http://www.idealog.com/blog/the-ebook-value-chain-is-still-sorting-itself-out-and-so-are-the-splits.
HOW WILL MY BOOK BE CONVERTED INTO AN EBOOK?
All published titles have an ebook also created using the ePub format, which is really just HTML and uses the paragraph tag to break paragraphs in titles. By default it has a one-line margin so this is what appears in the final ebook releases. Because of the many devices and readers out there, you may see your title displayed differently depending how the ePub format is interpreted. We try to leave the html code as "stock" as possible in our ebook conversations to ensure the highest level of cross-device presentation.
Please note – you will only be able to view your ebook file on these pages if you have an ereader that accepts this file type such as iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Sony Readers, Kobo Reader, and the Nook from Barnes & Noble. If you have a Kindle or ereader that doesn’t support the epub file type you can download Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) for free and it will convert it to the correct file for you. If you have a kindle you will need the ebk in the format MOBI or Amazon's own AZW. A quick websearch will give you an explanation of which filetype fits which ereader and you can read more at sites such as http://www.edudemic.com/most-popular-ebook-formats/
The difficulties with ebooks
Ebooks are essentially produced by dumping print design files into software that performs a standard conversion process, converting every ebook the same way. This often does not work brilliantly. Tables, for instance, often get muddled. It usually produces terrible results in poetry. The only way to solve that is to do the coding by hand, book by book, but that is expensive. It also does not solve the problem. Because different web browsers, ebooks, ereaders, ereading apps, and so on, interpret the code and style in an Epub file differently. Kindle has its own proprietary file format and style, and we provide separate formatting for them, but the same file can look different in iBooks, Kobo, Sony Reader etc. An indent might look right on one ereader but not another, because the two platforms are interpreting the same code differently.
Over the next few years, this industry-wide problem is likely to get sorted, but for the moment, we cannot get into discussions about individual lines or tables that do not come out right in an ereader. For the next couple of years at least – if your title has diagrams, charts, tables – it’s a question of either accepting they may not come out right, or we do not bring it out as an ebook.
IF MY BOOK IS ILLUSTRATED, CAN YOU BRING IT OUT AS AN EBOOK?
As of late 2011, the answer is no. There's a useful post on this at http://www.idealog.com/blog/searching-for-the-formula-to-deliver-illustrated-books-as-ebooks. As of summer 2012, it is getting easier, particularly with b/w, but the results can still be variable.
HOW CAN I MARKET MY EBOOK?
While excerpts of your book can be shared to help promote ebook purchases, it is important that authors do not upload their manuscript/PDF/ePub to any third-party sites. Our publishing system automatically handles the listing of your title on many ebook stores listed above – this includes the big ones you would expect such as Kindle, Nook, and iTunes. We automatically handle all ebook transactions for authors who publish with us.
Update; 2013 - ebooks are accounting for around 25% of sales in publishing overall. In many areas of fiction, subgenres like romance, SF, fantasy, crime, horror, it’s more like 80%+ for new titles. Most pundits expect ebooks to account for more than 50% overall sales within a couple of years.
Most publishers are pushing to keep prices for ebooks the same as printed books, and royalties close to the level of printed books, or 25% max.
Authors accuse publishers being greedy. It’s not that simple. The conversion costs to an ebook means that its only bestselling authors that can generate enough sales to really make it worthwhile converting the files. The vast majority of ebooks sell a handful of copies, at best.
The distribution and warehousing charges for ebooks are as high as for print books. Wholesalers like Gardners in the UK charge 50% of the income. They argue, as do publishers who handle it themselves, that there are still large costs relating to ebooks, like building, managing and keeping secure e-warehouses, among other things. They are just different to print costs. There’s a useful article on this subject at: http://www.bookbrunch.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=17&Itemid=116.
We are going forward on the basis that, medium to long term, digital books are going to be key, though ereaders may be temporary (with tablets and phones taking over). That the costs of production, and hence retail price, are going to be much lower than printed books. That the authors are going to demand, and get, a much higher proportion of the income.
DO YOU USE DRM?
DRM is software that you put on a file to limit the customer’s use (especially copying, printing, and sharing). It is a way to help fight copyright infringement. We distribute our epubs through NBN Fusion and all their agreements with eBook vendors require that they all apply DRM to files distributed to them.
WHERE AND WHEN WILL MY EBOOK BE PUBLISHED?
We give the ebook the same publication date as the print edition. But we cannot control the exact timing of availability. Because the ebook goes for conversion after the files are finished, the details come later. Also, as some conversions end up being problematic and costly they may take a little longer.
We aim to distribute the ebook at about the same time as the print edition. We cannot give you an exact date, different distributors take varying times to load the ebooks into their system. It will not show on sites like Amazon before then (unlike the print book) as they only display the information when the book is available in ebook format. Note: Amazon do not release the file until the publication, although it is available for pre-order.
One quirk of our distributors' databases, is it does not work the other way around; if you want the ebook published early, the print book will be given the same date.
For backlist titles that you ask us to convert it takes around one month for the conversion, and a further month to make it available to retail.
If you have a backlist title and we have not already converted it to an ebook, we convert them for free if sales have reached 1,000 copies over the previous 12 months. Otherwise, please expect a price in the region of £100/$200 (it depends on the complexity of the text design). If you would like to go ahead with an ebook conversion please post your request on the author forum (editorial and production/ebooks) or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get a quote to you. Once payment has been received we will add your title to the next month’s batch of conversion titles.
If your title is published in November 2010 or later, the publication date will match the physical version. If it is a backlist title, the publication date will match the date of the ‘ebook file loaded’ stage on the editorial and production page.
WHERE WILL MY EBOOK BE SOLD?
In the USA NBN distributes ebook titles to all the main ebook retailers including the list below. Currently Amazon is outstripping the competition, but all bases are being covered. Google Books in both USA and UK supply independent bookstores. In the UK, Google Books, also supplies to ‘The Hive’. This is Gardners Books' retail site, they are mainly known as a trade distributor. ‘The Hive’ aims to credit a percentage of the sale to the nearest independent bookstore of the orderer.
All ebook sales (worldwide) are listed in the US sales column on the Financials page because they are run through our US distributor, NBN. You can check on relative US/UK sales on Kindle (not on other ereaders) on the Novelrank programme (more in Amazon/online retail). The retailers to which NBN distribute are listed below and here, some of these are selective, so not every title goes into every account:
A Book Company, LLC; All Romance eBooks; Amazon (SITB and Kindle); Apple; AudioBooks.com; Anobii; B&N (Nook & Search Inside); B&T BLIO; Bilbary through Ingram; Book Masters; Books on Board; Booksense/IndieBound (ABA); Campus eBooks A/S; Chegg; Cokesbury; Computer Manuals Ltd; Cyber Read; Diesel eBooks; Digital Pulp Publishing; Direct eBooks; eBook Mall; eBook Pie, Inc; Ebooks.com; eBookshop; Ebrary; eChapter One; Entourage Systems, Inc.; Fictionwise; Follettt/CafeScribe; Google Play; Highbridge Audio; Interead Ltd.; Lybrary.com; MBS; MyiLibrary; NetLibrary; Overdrive; Payloadz, Inc.; Powells
Publisher Services, Inc.; Questia; Sentient 6/MedUsa, LLC; Shortcovers; Sony; Scribd; Wizpac, Ltd.
UK and Europe
ACCO; AKADEMIBOKHANDELN BOKUS AB; ALMA ARTEX LTD; AMAZON; ASIA BOOKS; ATHENAEUM; BOEKHANDEL; BESTSELLERS UK; BILLINGSKA BOKHANDELN; BLACKWELLS; BOEKHANDEL DEGHELDERE; BOOKS4SPAIN LTD; BUSCALIBROS; CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL BOOK CENTRE; CAPITAL IDEAS REATIL LTD; CDON; CENTRO LOGISTICO PORTO EDITORIA; CHORLEYWOOD BOOKSHOP; CLIQ ; Dawson; DIRECT BV; CONNECT 2 BEAUTY; DE DRUKKERU; DE NORSKE BOKKLUBBENE AS; ECLECTOR LTD; EDIX RETAIL LTD; EGURUS LTD; ELIBRIS/SILVA CONSULTING UK; ENHANCE; EUROBOOKS; FIREWORK BOOKS; FISHPOND; FOYLES; GOES HERE LTD; HELIKON PLC; HIVE; INFOTRADING; INTERSOFT BOOKS; JOHN SMITH & SON LTD; KALAHARI; KENT BOOK CO LTD; KITAP YURDU; KNV BARSORTIMENT; LAIE; LIBRARYBOX; LIBREKA; LIBRESCO; LIBRIS. NO; LIKEABOOK; LITRES; LOVEREADING.CO.UK; MAPSTOP/GLOBAL MAPPING LTD; MARUZEN; MIBOOK.DK; MIKE'S FAMOUS BOOKSTALL; MONDADORI INIZIATIVE; OLD HALL BOOKSHOP; ORELL FUESSLI BUCHHANDLUNGS AG; OVERDRIVE; PENGUIN SPAINS; PENNINN/IB PRESS; PREMS LIBREXIM SRL; RAHVA RAAMAT LTD; RIID00; SAXO.COM; SELEXYZ BOEKHANDELS; SF BOKHANDELN AB; SMARTEBOOK.COM CO LTD; SOL Y SOMBRA BOOKS SL; SPARKLE DIRECT LTD; ST PETERSBURG DOM KNIGI; STOCKMANN / AKATEEMINEN; TESCO; FC INTERNATIONAL; THE BEST YOU CAN BE; THE ENGLISH BOOKSHOP; TITE LIVE BELGIQUE; TXTR GMBH; UNIVERSITY BOOKSELLER; UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK BOOKSHOP; WATERSTONES; ILOVEBOOKS
NBN fusion do NOT yet distribute ebooks to Google Books, JHP distribute directly (2014).
Some ebook outlets are pickier than others. Apple iTunes will reject any book with notes or references that are not linked, this element will add to the conversion costs, approx £0.10/$0.17 per page for one-directional notes. Our sales through Apple are marginal. We will assume you prefer not to have the cost deducted from royalties and are happy not to have the book available there, if your book has notes, unless you say otherwise.
Other reasons why Apple will reject titles
· spaces in the .xhtml file names
· too small a front cover
· pictures with too many pixels
· prices on the cover
· any charts/tables/images that are scanned in
· too much interactivity
Further overseas, it's a complicated picture. Check out for instance this post: