So far ebook stores have always taken a commission, varying between 30 and 70%. Now there's a newcomer in the publishing marketplace and it could be a real game changer: a zero-commission bookstore. It has a nice name: Bookstore Without Borders, reminiscent of the famous humanitarian aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières.
Curious? To find out how it works, see Novel Rocket's excellent post, click here.
To visit the bookstore click here.
This is how the opening page looks like (my screen shot):
The site is very new, so it has not yet achieved any meaningful ranking on Alexa. The available book list is still short but it's growing fast and BWB has established a presence on Goodreads since July 2013 (here) and people in the blogosphere have started to take note, for example Anastasia Pollack (here). The founders are really dynamic: Sara Mills, mother of six, is a freelance editor, book reviewer and author of two books; Lynda Baxter, with a strong background in the art world, is a web designer and SEO marketing expert; Scott Thompson with a long experience in the digital pre-press and printing industry, has developed a content management system that has made the BWB site both agile and functional.
Wondering about their business model? It's simple: for $99 you get a one time forever page on their site where you can upload up to 12 books. If you need more space, buy it, that's all there is to it. And of course, they offer a range of support services that you pay for. Go take a tour, and here's to their success!
To conclude on a more general note: the rise of small e-bookstores suggests that the future may not be all Amazon or other big digital department stores. There may be space for the small guy to set up his store next to the big guys like Amazon, just like in the last century when you had small boutiques in the vicinity of Saks 5th Avenue or Macy's...
If the analogy holds, it also suggests that the small e-book stores of the future, to succeed against the giant distributors, will need to set themselves up with a clear "personality" or brand upfront. You'd have, for example, an ebook store devoted to "All the Best in Romance", another focused on "Top Thrillers" etc. And that implies having the in-house capacity to identify the best books...
In my view that would really help readers to find their next good read. By the same token, it would help writers in resolving their biggest nightmare, the so-called "book discovery" problem, which is a polite way of saying that you fear your book has sunk out of sight in the tsunami of published books!
What's your opinion? Do small e-book stores have a future?