Some days I despair.
It’s not enough that there are more “services” than I ever want to keep track of that are ever-so-eager to help “writers” get “published” with an “eBook.”
Now Borders just went an added their own service to … what? Fend off Barnes & Noble’s weirdly-named PubIt! service?
There is only one thing worse than doing a Me-Too.
It’s doing that Me-Too badly.
And Borders has just managed to do that, with Borders Get Published.
This is, like Kobo, a Borders branding over a service they did not create.
Behind the Borders brand is BookBrewer.
Here are some details, from the BookBrewer FAQ:
Q: How much does it cost to send an book to retailers?
Our basic $89.99 package is the easiest way to go. We’ll prepare a clean, non-watermarked version of your book, assign it an ISBN (a $125 value!), and submit it for sale to participating eBook stores. You will be asked to set a price for your book for each retailer (minimum $2.99, maximum $9.99), and for each book sold you will be paid 40-45% of the sale price, depending on the rules for each Retailer. BookBrewer will keep 25% of each sale. Note: author royalties are subject to change based on each Retailer’s pricing rules and fees.
Boldfaced emphasis in the original.
Let me point out this bit:
… and for each book sold you will be paid 40-45% of the sale price, depending on the rules for each Retailer. BookBrewer will keep 25% of each sale.
OK, let me cut them some slack here because this isn’t a contract, it’s a FAQ. But this is unclear. What are they taking 25% of? Of the actual sale price, of the 40-45%?
Let me just give you what I think the regular math here would be, with simple round numbers, ignoring the finer details that would otherwise be distracting:
$ 3.00 to eBookstore
$ 7.00 to your account
$ 2.50 to BookBrewer (25% of $10!)
$ 4.50 to you
That’s them bleeding you for 25% on each and every sale. And who knows for how long? I’m not clicking through to the EULA.
Aside from that, you pay $89.99 up front and wind up giving them ownership of your metadata — because I don’t think they’re going to hand over that ISBN they assign without a battle.
And what do you get for this price and cut?
Here are their own words:
Check Out These Great Examples
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
So, because I am mean, I did.
I downloaded three Samples from the Kindle Store. Note that one of the three below are different than seen above. They apparently rotate examples.
This is what they looked like (via Kindle for PC):
Every single one of them is block paragraphs with blank space between!
It’s as if the entire history of book design has been wiped away and replaced with the formatting of business research reports!
And notice the second snap from the FDR book: that’s actually three pages in one without a break! Copyright page, dedication page, and epigraph page.
None of the three samples above had a Table of Contents in them. I can’t tell if that reflects the actual books. I’ve been given contradictory information about whether or not Kindle Samples are standalones or actual bits from a book. Some Samples have Table of Contents, others not. But if this BookBrewer system is not creating a linked Table of Contents, what good is it?
In fact, since it’s spitting out block paragraphs with space between them, it’s not any good at all for a start.
Is there really any writer out there who wants a book to look like a research report?
But wait. It all gets even worse. What if, you dumb sucker, you just want them to give you an ePub file you can do with as you please? The price goes sky-high:
Q: Can I get a full DRM-free version of my eBook without sending it to Retailers?
Yes. You can pay a higher $199.99 fee to get the full ePub file. You can then send that file to anyone you choose, post it online, or upload it to eBook retailers on your own.
$199.00 for an ePub file?!!?
Listen: This is Bleed the Sucker now.
Going with pay-for services such as these are just a sucker’s game.
You lose control of proper book formatting, you lose control of your ISBN and metadata ownership, and you’re forever giving someone else a cut of your money for work you could have done yourself.
If you’re so keen to part with your money for formatting, at least hire someone who creates things that look like books. Go to Moriah Jovan.