Tales Update: “The Game Piece” for the Sony Reader
HW1: The Game Piece by Barb, our past first release in T·N·D·S, is now available through the Sony ReaderStore. It is also available through Inktera, Versent Books, and Diesel, though the latter reroutes ebook purchases to the Kobo ebook store. New vendor links for this title have been added at NobleDead.org
If you have not tried some of these (pseudo) independent bookstores, have a peek at your leisure. It never hurts to browse, and the old joy of stumbling upon a new corner bookstore is something missing from the online world.
All of this was accomplished through the use of an aggregator; something we have been opposed to in the past for (among other reasons) the lack of a direct contract between vendor and publisher (namely, us). An ebook aggregator is the only way to achieve access to certain vendors lacking a direct epublishing portal. Whether we continue this experiment through Smashwords has yet to be determined, as there are problems — for us and our readers…
Time Lag on Future (Past) Releases
Time from an ebook’s verification at Smashwords to its appearance in the Sony ReaderStore was 6 weeks. With any new release in T·N·D·S, it is our policy to announce such only when it is (will be) available at all vendors within a 72 hour window.
This is not possible with the Sony ReaderStore, though it has nothing to do with Smashwords. The test title appeared at all other selected downstream markets within 72 hours after Smashwords verification.
New titles published there and authorized for distribution are taken in by Sony in bulk. It appears Sony processes them once per calendar (or fiscal) month. Timing a new release to include Sony would require holding a title at all other vendors until it appears there.
For us and our readers, waiting on Sony is not viable. Our (vast) majority of readers use vendors with whom we currently maintain a direct contract and publishing account. New titles made available through direct portals appear on the vendor’s “shelves” within 12 hours (48 at maximum).
NOTE: This does not include Apple, which took 3+ days when we first started working them them over a year ago. Over the last year, that window increased to 13 days in some cases. With poor sales through this vendor that never improved, this is part of why we terminated distributing directly through Apple’s portal.
Time, Cost, and Our Readers
After talking with other professional authors involved in e-self-publishing, as well Smashwords personnel, Sony accounts for less than 5% of a title’s sales per month vs. Amazon, B&N, and Kobo combined. In some cases, 1% or less, and that is on par with sales at iTunes / iBookStore for titles in general distribution vs. ones released exclusively to that vendor.
We also considered use of Smashwords as an easier way to distribute into iTunes / iBookStore vs. Apple’s cumbersome proprietary software. In our past direct portal distribution to Apple, it took three times as long as putting up the same title at all other selected vendors combined.
We are presently in the intense time of each year when we produce the manuscript for the next entry in the Noble Dead Saga. That takes priority over all else. This period will also be for waiting and watching to see if effort (mostly by J.C.) is viable to make “tales” available through the Sony ReaderStore and elsewhere.
Plans to release further T·N·D·S titles downstream through Smashwords are on hold until further notice. At present, we are still considering how to fit in another “tale” before the end of the year. We will get back to you on these issues as soon as we have something new to report.