First, times are a changin’ as we all have seen. This can be good for writers, this can be bad for writers, this can mean we’re swearing off any book with cove-copy that starts with “after a microbiology lab accident went terribly wrong . . .”
What are some of the things indie writers have seen? Well, print is having trouble, both Print on Demand (PoD) and tradpub, because paper supplies as well as shipping are so off kilter. With most book stores closed, it means that browsing is mostly on line now.
Early on in the pandemic, both indie authors and publishers saw the benefit in direct-to-reader sales. Larger retailers became overtaxed with the influx of orders and shipping has been taking longer than the two days Amazon has spoiled us to expect. Why not sell directly to your fans?
There are plenty of great ways to sell directly to readers.
- Shopify and other services can plug into your social media.
- Ingram has a great direct to consumer tool called Aer.io that is very easy to use.
- There has been a lot of buzz around Bookshop.org, an online bookshop run by the American Booksellers Association.
Why the buzz about Bookshop.org?
10% of all proceeds from Bookshop.org sales are put in a pot and given to independent bookstores. With those stores closed now, this is a wonderful way to support your indie bookstore. They have raised $1.1 million dollars already! The real perk about Bookshop.org is that you can set up your own affiliate shop. [end quote]
Justine says that authors will have more power now, because our product is more valuable. I’m not holding my breath on that one, because NYC is still a (mental) world of its own, and the Big Five have a serious interest in seeing writers as commodities to be squeezed for value, not partners. But I’m a pessimist.
In other news, if you sell e-books to British readers, the VAT is no more. It’s been at 20%, which crimps sales and as it turns out, did not bring in the benefits anticipated. Print books were exempt, and now e-books and magazines are considered the same as print for taxation. My sales to the UK have gone up since the VAT ended, although it could well be coincidence and not people deciding to buy now that the price has dropped. It could also be psychology as well, “The tax is gone, let’s celebrate.” I will be going through Amazon and removing the VAT price increase that I’d put into my UK prices. Thus far, per the article, audiobooks are not included in that VAT relief, at least not yet.