Will my book come out as an ebook?
To find specific information, you can press the buttons (PC) "Control" and "f" and (Mac) “Command/Apple” and “f”. This opens a text box in the top right of your screen. Type in what you are looking for specifically ie., "enter an activity", this will help you find the text that you are looking for.
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.
Sales of your ebook will be shown separately on your Financials page, though they will 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?
Not directly. Given that there is a 50% royalty, and you can choose a price, and we are increasingly doing initial promotions or keeping the price down till sales get moving at a £0.99/$1.99 level, we deduct a conversion cost from the royalties payable. This is either-
“Basic” – straight text, no special text styling or formatting. £0.30/$0.50 per page; (not many of these).
“Basic Plus” – has some special text styling/formatting and/or tabular data (however little). £0.50/$0.80 per page; (the large majority).
“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. Also the occasional title that gets completely ripped apart in the PDF file and has to be reconstructed. Includes academic texts with linked endnotes. £0.90/$1.40 per page.
We use a design house for the ebook conversion, they decide which of these cost levels apply, we pass that on in the royalties Financial page. It is added when the conversion work is done. This is a once-only cost. 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.
WHAT WILL BE THE PRICE OF MY EBOOK?
Our standard pricing, irrespective of page extent, is;
$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).
Please post your request your choice of ebook price on the Author Forum in the Editorial section with detail title ISBN and new eISBN. We can not 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 far 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).
On all new titles, as of August 2013, we run a price promotion for the last two weeks of the month following publication. The price is 0.99 across all currencies. The purpose is to help kick start initial sales/word of mouth. You will be reminded of this when the book is published. It's an opportunity, along with us, to link the book and highlight the price on your website, blog, emails, FB pages etc. The ebook price promotion is for a limited two week period, we cannot change the price shown on the website. For promotional purposes it is advisable to link to Amazon as they guarantee to start the promotion on the day we state. Copy the URL for your book page at Amazon showing the price reduction and paste it into your blog or other social media activities.
As a long-term set price, we can not get down to the $0.99/$1.99 kind of level (or not until the sales are really substantial, when we can discuss it). That doesn't cover the costs we're charged on for the distributor's cost and the cost of uploading the files to the different retail databases. And it does not necessarily help - there is an association in people's minds between low price and inferior quality, see for instance why $1.99 is a bad price.
The sweet spot for ebook pricing, balancing sales against margin, is generally reckoned to be in the $4-$8 range; http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/the-ebook-pricing-sweet-spot/.
1. Please note that the retail trade are not keen on these low priced titles as it affects the percentage of sales that are generated through the trade. Some retail accounts and trade distributors may penalise ebooks priced this way, or refuse to offer them at all. We can not get into discussions about which, and what effect that might have, it's too variable.
2. Many titles, particularly in non-fiction, have a fairly clearly defined market. People buy them because they want to know more about that subject, not for an impulse read. In other markets (fiction, for example) cheap ebooks tend to do better and help spread word of mouth. So do not assume that making your ebook cheap is exactly as useful in on market as in another.
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. If you have a Kindle or ereader that doesn’t support this file type you can download Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) for free and it will convert it to the correct file for you.
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 can not 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 - its 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 3rd 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, its 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. Its 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?
No. Industry opinion is moving overwhelmingly against it. See May 2012 article, the death of DRM.
Three Truths That Publishers Should Try To Understand About Readers