Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Using third-party aggregators, part of InDesign CS6: EPUB Kindle and iPad.
When you're applying for an iTunes Connect account--what I was showing in the last video-- there is a little link at the bottom one of the first pages that says, hey, you don't have to establish an account directly with us, you can use one of our approved Aggregators. And if you just look up iTunes Connect approved Aggregators or iBookstore Aggregator, you'll end up with this page. It lists links to different companies and says what they offer. What is an Aggregator? An Aggregator is a company that takes a huge headache off of these eBook resellers, off of Amazon and Kobo and Apple and so on.
Because they make sure that all of the eBooks that they submit on behalf of their client authors and small publishers already fit all the specs required by that e-seller. They take care of all the metadata, and then they do all the financial reporting back to their clients--that's us--and they do all the tech support back to their clients. So there little man and they do a great service, you might consider using an Aggregator. But I want to tell you about a couple things to watch out for when you are investigating Aggregator services. Like for example, let's take a look at one of them Smashwords which I have already opened up.
Smashwords is well-known in the eBook production circles. Their main clientele are authors who write in Microsoft Word. That link brings you right to how to Publish and Distribute Ebooks to the Apple iBookstore. It's quick, easy, and Free. And instead of earning 70% of your money, which is what Apple would give you, you earn 60%, so in other words, Smashwords is keeping 10%. But if you come down here, Apple iBookstore Publishing Checklist, look under Format. You have to follow their Style Guide, and your book has to be uploaded as a Microsoft Word DOC file. You cannot upload PDF or EPUB or MOBI as your source file.
So not all these aggregators are ones that you want to use. And out of all these aggregators, I have heard mixed reviews. Let me tell about two aggregators who are not paying me to endorse them, but I'm only mentioning them because they have been around for a while, and I personally know people who have used them and they are happy with their services. One of them is called the BookBaby. The BookBaby service works like this. You sign on, you upload your EPUB file, that's only 99$ if you do that, they charge you more if you upload a Word file or something, and then they sell your eBooks worldwide, and you get paid 100% they don't keep a cut.
They have a really great place to keep track of your cells called their Accounting Dashboard that you can log into. You can download these reports to your Excel file if you want. They distribute your eBooks to all of these resellers. So the big ones like Apple and Amazon and NOOK and also the Reader Store for the Sony Reader, Kobo all these places. Another good one that I have heard about recently is called PigeonLab, PigeonLab offers one servers, they distribute your eBook that's it. You need to ensure that the EPUB and MOBI File that you upload to them is good to go and according to publisher specs.
They are based in San Francisco, and they distribute to these resellers, and in fact, if you go to the FAQ--I thought this is interesting that if you scroll down it shows what countries my book be available in and the nice little cheat sheet showing you know where the Kindle store distributes to, where the Apple iBookstore distributes to. So I have this page bookmarked just for reference. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that they are a little bit more expensive than BookBaby. It's $99 per book, it look like they have just reduce their price.
And if you need ISBN, they will give you one. You don't get a discount if you have your own. On top of that, they keep 10% of net sales. So that's after the retailer's fees. You sell your book for $10, Apple gives you $7, they take 70 cents from there, so you get $6.30. Covers sales reporting, book information changes, uploading new files, there are no yearly subscription fees and so on. Like BookBaby, the good things I have heard about PigeonLabs is that they know what they're doing and they are humans on the other end of the phone if you have a question.
So time is of the essence, and you don't want to bother with creating your own individual accounts, set up an account with a trusted aggregator and let them take care of the nitty-gritty details while you lean back and collect the money.
- Understanding the differences between ebook formats
- Best practices for InDesign file preparation
- Managing the content flow with Layout order and the Articles panel
- Using free InDesign scripts to automate EPUB productions
- Optimizing images, charts, and tables
- Opening and examining EPUB files
- Editing important CSS and HTML tags
- Including drop caps, pull quotes, and text wraps
- Enriching your EPUBs with video and embedded fonts
- Acquiring an ISBN for ebooks
- Converting EPUBs to Kindle format (MOBI and KF8)
- Distributing ebooks with resellers and aggregators