'Publisher Friendly' e-Book Retailer Offers Agency, Reseller Models
The formation of a new multinational "publisher friendly" e-book retailer specializing in business e-books was announced at BookExpo America on Tuesday. The e-tailer, Bluebottlebooks.com, began as an initiative of the Business Publishers Roundtable at the last Frankfurt Book Fair. The effort is coordinated by the ICA (International Cultural Awards), who retained technology firm Qbend as development and operations partner.
Titles will be available in English, Spanish, French and German and ePub, PDF and mobipocket formats. Payment can be made in USD, EUR and GBP. The retail site will operate primarily on the agency model with 30 percent commission, but will accommodate publishers using the reseller model or agency models with different rates of commission. In all cases, the publisher decides the retail price and is paid within a month, according to Bluebottlebooks.com.
The platform is set up to provide customer information directly to publishers once given buyer authorization, allowing them to track customer buying habits and gauge the strengths and market penetration of each book. Bluebottlebooks will send the contact and purchase information of customers who opt-in to publishers on a monthly basis, as well as quarterly sales data, including total sales and market share by criteria such as business category, language and country of buyer.
For customers, the platform offers customized suggestions based on purchasing history and areas of interest, as well as reading clubs and social media functionality.
At a press conference announcing the new service, Marcelino Elosua of LID Publishing said the platform is tailored to the specific needs of business book publishers and their audiences.
"In the book business the new competitive advantage will not be—like in the old world of physical books—the capacity of distribution, but will be in digital partnerships," he said. "For the publishers it's very important to keep their relationships with their customers, to know who their customers are. This is an e-tailer that will give that information to the publisher as long as the customer [allows]."
When asked if this was a reaction to the increasing sway of a few very powerful online vendors, including those, such as Amazon, which are moving aggressively into the publishing space, Qbend's VP of Marketing Sriram Ramakrishnan said, "You bet."
Bluebottlebooks.com will launch July 4.