Ebook sales are leveling off and yesterday Bookbaby announced that it would begin producing Print On Demand ("POD") books. Her's the press release:
Self-published authors can now gain unprecedented worldwide book distribution for both eBooks and printed books in 100+ stores and catalogs.
So, what's wrong with Bookbaby? Lots!
- The screenshot up at the top says that "POD is the best thing to happen to self-publishing since the invention of the eBook." Lightning Source is the largest PODer and has been PODing since 1997. It's possible that other companies started earlier. While some people will claim that the ebook was invented in the 1940s, the market really took off in 2007 with the introduction of the Amazon Kindle. Bookbaby is either ignorant or deceptive in its claim.
- The company says: "All titles signed up for BookBaby printed book POD distribution must exclusively be distributed through BookBaby. Listing your printed book through multiple distribution networks will cause retailers not to carry your title." That policy is highly restrictive and the warning is a lie. Lots of authors have book distribution through both Lightning Source and CreateSpace, for example.
- The company says: "Depending on the retail price of your title, and the specs of the book, most titles will generate between 10% -30% royalties." It's easy to make much more money.
- The company says: "Your printed book will be available through the largest distribution network and retail sites." That sentence is inarticulate and probably a dishonest boast.
- The company says: "Get your ISBN # from BookBaby for only $29." Some competitors provide ISBNs for free!
- The company says: "BookBaby stands behind its products and services with the strongest guarantees in the publishing business." The guarantee is typical, not special.
- The company says: "we also deliver the highest-quality custom printed books." There is little or no difference among the books from various POD companies.
- The company says: "Never fear about overpaying for your printed books again. BookBaby now guarantees its prices are the lowest around." Actually, Bookbaby's prices are much, much, much higher than prices from such competitors as Lightning Source, CreateSpace or Lulu. It would be extremely hard to make money if you had to pay $89.79 to have one book printed and shipped.
(left) Bookbaby has been advertising a limited-time special deal for one copy of a book for $19. While $19 is better than $88.79, it's still much higher than CreateSpace ($4.45) or Lulu ($7.25). However, the Baby price includes a color interior which may or may not be important to you. Note: you have to prepare your interior and cover files with Bookbaby's own templates -- you can't use a template from another printer. This may mean lots of extra work just to compare Bookbaby with CreateSpace, for example.