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Beware of Ebook Distribution Promises

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of traditionally published or self-published books having an ebook format as well as business professionals considering self-publishing ebooks in order to support their professional endeavors (photographers, flower arrangers, clothes designers, etc.)
One issue of ebook conversion is that there are so many choices available for how to convert a manuscript into the major ebook formats (mobi for Kindle and epub for Nook, etc.). This includes doing the conversion yourself, which I discuss in an earlier Indie Times article.

Now I want to talk about making ebook conversion choices based on where the converter promises your books will be distributed.

Here’s my story:

I had been very happy with the conversions done by Chris O’Byrne of www.ebook-editor.com. Chris does the mobi format for Kindle and the epub for Nook and then uploads also to Smashwords, where both formats are available along with the pdf, etc. Eventually, as Chris explains on his website, via Smashwords the ebook is made available for the iPad on Apple’s online stores.

In my most recent ebook project — the first in a three-book series for teens and young adults, I was “dazzled” by the distribution promises of BookBaby, which calls itself: “The World’s Largest eBook Distribution Network for Indie Authors!”

The company’s distribution list includes Copia, a distributor I had identified as particularly good for an ebook series targeted at teens and young adults.

I signed up, paid about the same as I would have paid Chris … and have been very disappointed. For brevity’s sake I will skip the part about the actual conversion and go directly to the distribution.

After I approved the ebook of HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE, I asked how soon the ebook would be available on the various promised distribution sites. Here is the email reply I received (underlined words my own for emphasis):

Given that each retailer operates on a different schedule and can vary by a few days either way, you can use this as a general reference guide for time to distribution:

Amazon Kindle: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 2-4 business days from when we deliver to them.

iBookstore: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 2-3 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Barnes & Noble: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 2-4 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Sony: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 3-4 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Kobo: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 2-3 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Copia: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 3-4 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Gardners: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 3-4 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Baker & Taylor: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 2-3 weeks from when we deliver to them.

eBookPie: Your eBook will be up for sale in approximately 2-3 weeks from when we deliver to them.

Not the greatest schedule for ebooks (no physical books are being shipped), especially when Kindle can post a new ebook in 2-4 business DAYS and all the other sites take WEEKS.

Checking on April 15, I found that my ebook was indeed now available on Sony and Kobo but not on Copia.

Now it is one month later and I checked Copia again. NADA.

I turned to Twitter to ask the question of @BookBaby as to why my ebook is not available on Copia. And here is the tweet reply I got:

Copia’s current development effort is delaying our books from going live. They haven’t given us a timeframe for remedy.

The moral of this ebook conversion story?

As an indie author, try to ascertain when choosing an ebook converter that you will get in a timely manner what is promised. Otherwise, a different alternative may be better even if you will not get everything you would like.

Note for ebook conversion companies: Be careful what you promote on your website. How good is “the largest ebook distribution network” if it takes months for an ebook to be distributed on those sites?

And for ebook stores: What are you doing that it takes weeks to publish a listing for an ebook?

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and @ZimblerMiller on Pinterest) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the WBENC certified online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com  She is also the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks – see her author Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/phylliszimblermillerauthor

Posted by on May 17, 2012. Filed under Books,Business,Phyllis Zimbler Miller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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