Thursday, December 07, 2006

iUniverse Expands Its Universe

Back on November 2, I did a post titled "Not All Publishers Are Created Equal." In it, while talking about self-publishing, I said:

There is no marketing system for self-pubbed books. The vast majority sell less than 100 copies. Yes, you can list them on e-Bay or Amazon, but you still need a mechanism to drive traffic to your book.

Well, the November 29th edition of The Book Standard reports:

Indigo Books & Music, the Canadian retail book chain, will now feature books by self-published Canadian authors. Through an agreement with iUniverse, the U.S.-based self-publishing company, Indigo will prominently feature some books for 60 days, “longer if the book keeps selling,” the company said . . . They will be featured in Indigo Books & Music, Coles and Chapters stores.

In order to qualify to be "featured," a writer must purchase iUniverse's Premier Plus package and be given the iUniverse "Publisher’s Choice label," which the company describes as meeting qualities of a professionally published book and meet key cover design standards. In other words, the writer forks over $1,200 for this Premier Plus package.

Understand, the writer STILL has to pay for the copies to place in the bookstores. I'm willing to bet there's a minimum number of copies iUniverse demands the writer pay for.

iUniverse already has a similar deal with Barnes and Noble in the U.S. I should mention that B&N bought a 49% stake in iUniverse back in 1999 so that deal is a case of one arm scratching the other.

Still, these arrangements give iUniverse a significant boost in its marketing efforts to writers seeking publication. AND it does drive traffic toward the writer's book. It will be interesting to see whether that Publisher's Choice label does indicate a vetting of books for quality in writing or whether it only refers to book where the author paid the extra $1,200 for an attractively packaged book.

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