Monday, January 28, 2013

AuthorsBookShop is gone. I'm not surprised.

I wrote the following in July of 2010.

>> says:
  • is an online bookstore dedicated to selling self-published, independently published and small-press published books. We have created a home for indie books that is friendly, helpful and profitable for authors and small presses. It is also a great place for book buyers who want to feel good about where their books are coming from.
  • In addition to selling independent books, is a clearinghouse of information on self-publishing. Visit our Publishing Resource Center and our Publishing Forum for info on getting your manuscript into print. We provide networking opportunities as well as tools and information that will help you along the tough road that leads to selling your first book, and then help you continue to succeed as a book-selling author.
  • Why are we doing this? Frankly, because we love books. And we love people who write books. And we love people who read books. The big booksellers have taken too much advantage of both writers and readers for too long. We have taken the power out of their hands and placed it squarely in yours.
  • We are the best place in the world for independent books! How can we say that? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Mostly, because we are here specifically for independent and self-published authors. And because it is our mission to serve you, you can feel confident that we will do it best. Sure, you can - and should - offer your books elsewhere online. They will carry your books despite the fact that you are independent. But we want to carry them because they are independent!<<
I sent the following to Brad Growchowski, president and founder. 

I don't understand how shoppers will know your company exists, or, if they know you exist, why they'd prefer you to Amazon, B&N, etc., and why an author would use you instead of the larger companies.

You say, "The big online bookstores take 50-60% of your cover price!" That's simply not true. They are perfectly willing to accept 20% (or less if a book is on sale).

To work with you as a publisher, I have to register for $20 (not necessary with other booksellers), pay about $8 to ship three books (not necessary with other booksellers) and give you 30% instead of 20%. If a book is POD'd by Lightning Source or CreateSpace, it gets drop-shipped directly to the reader, and as a publisher I don't pay for shipping.

Why would I or any author or publisher want to get involved with your company? You are certainly less visible than Amazon or B&N, have a much smaller selection, and are more expensive to work with.

Am I missing something here?

I never got an answer from Brad.

The site included a strange and sloppy list of participating publishers. 

Some companies, such as Lulu, Outskirts Press and PublishAmerica are listed multiple times, and with variations in their names that could have been easily corrected.

I really doubt that AuthorHouse and the others I mentioned submitted titles to the service It's more likely that individual authors got involved.

I strongly doubt that mainstream publishers Prentice Hall and Random House submitted books.

Brad's Facebook page implies that the company is still in business, but when I tried to check on the company today, I found the online equivalent of a tombstone.

I know how hard it is to operate a business. I genuinely feel sorry for authors who were hurt by the demise of AuthorsBookShop.

However, I find it hard to sympathize with a business that's based on a dubious concept and has sloppy execution.

There's a lesson in this. Maybe several.

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