In a move that will make it even easier for writers to self-publish, Borders is launching Borders—Get Published Powered by BookBrewer, an online service that will allow writers with blogs, websites or any kind of written content to easily convert it into an e-book that can be sold through Borders.com or other online book retailers. The BookBrewer service will convert the content into an e-book that can be read on virtually any device. The BookBrewer service will launch on October 25.
BookBrewer is a startup firm that has developed software that allows anyone to publish across a variety of mobile device platforms. Using the new service, a writer can upload content from a blog or website; or copy and paste a text file into BookBrewer’s online form and then edit or rearrange the document into final form. The BookBrewer service will convert the content into an ePub file that can be converted into an e-book supported by a wide range of devices.
Borders will offer two basic levels of service for the Get Published program: an $89.99 basic package that gives the user a ISBN and makes the e-book available to all major e-book retailers; and a $199.99 advance package, which gives the user the full e-Pub file for their own use. Authors can set their own prices within the guidelines set by the retailers and royalties are based on sales as well as the guidelines of the retailers selling the e-book.
Mike Edwards, CEO of Borders, Inc. said that using the program, “authors can quickly and easily load, format and publish content, which will then be available for sale within a few days on Borders.com and other major eBook outlets. We’re excited to give new writers and bloggers an opportunity to reach an expanded audience as they make their foray into digital.”
The agreement with BookBrewer moves Borders into the self-publishing space, but with a different spin than its competitors. Barnes & Noble's newly launched PubIt! for example, lets authors post an existing e-book to its site for free and splits royalties, while Borders is charging a fee to help authors create an e-book. While its difficult to see how Borders can compete with free e-book conversion, a spokesperson for Borders said the BookBrewer program offers more value and more self-publishing tools.
“We are charging $89.99 because we provide the ISBN," the spokesperson said, "and we essentially do everything from giving the author the tools to load, format and package the books within the BookBrewer system to publishing it in major eBook stores for them.” And the spokesperson said that the service targets bloggers because, "bloggers are specifically mentioned because the service was created in such a way that it makes it easy for them to feed their content right from their site and arrange it into book chapters using the publishing tools."
In addition, Borders claims the $199 package will offer more experienced self-publishers more flexibiiity to negotiate deals with retailers. Unlike the basic package, Borders does not automatically distribute the advanced BookBrewer package. The spokesperson explained, “We do not distribute with this package. If the authors chose to list on Borders.com, they would negotiate royalties directly with us. By way of comparison, with the B&N service, they convert the info into an ePub file, but the author doesn’t get it--it goes straight into their store. This is a key differentiator."
"There are no royalties associated with this [advanced] package," the spokesperson said. "You can sell via eBook retailers on your own or on your site if you are a blogger. So if you're a more serious publisher and think you will sell thousands of copies, paying a higher fee up front in exchange for making thousands more will make sense to you."