Continuing to expand services that enable broader trade book distribution, Blurb, the POD self-publishing platform, announced a global print distribution partnership with Ingram. In addition to teaming with Ingram, Blurb is offering new trim-size, new wholesale discounts, and lower-priced print production costs. Blurb is also introducing a new service—initially offered free to Blurb users—that will output text into a reflowable e-book file for Amazon’s Kindle devices.

Blurb CEO Eileen Gittins says the new Blurb services are aimed at “people who make books for people they know and for people they don’t yet know.” The services are specifically designed to attract book retailers. Blurb offers users the ability to create a well-designed book online and receive it in about week. The service initially targeted people looking to easily create personal print and digital books just for family or friends. But over the last year the service has been aggressively expanding its programs to allow Blurb users to create professional books to be sold into the trade book market.

Blurb will now offer its users global distribution to Ingram’s 39,000 worldwide retail accounts, in addition to being able to sell directly through Blurb debuted distribution by Amazon earlier this year. Now, looking to grow its trade book distribution, Blurb has added new trim sizes for books—5x8, 6x9, 8x10—and lower production costs to authors. While Blurb makes creating a book online easy, Gittins acknowledged that Blurb POD titles are a bit expensive for conventional book retail. Blurb will now offer a "standard" and "economy" category for paper/printing costs: an economy black & white 24-page book will cost the author $2.99 (2 cents/page); standard costs $3.99 (6 cents/page) for a similar size book with better paper for a wider range of color and deeper blacks.

Accompanying its new trim sizes and lower paper/printing costs, Blurb is now offering three tiers of wholesale discounts for book retailers. Blurb users can now offer their titles to retailers at either 25%, 36% (aimed at online retailers), or 55% (aimed at physical retailers) wholesale discounts. Gittins emphasized that the 36% discount “is the sweet spot for online retailers. We think it will attract Blurb authors, who are a tech savvy group, typically with strong social networks looking to make online sales. Blurb does a big business globally so online is the way to go.” She also noted that the 55% discount in conjunction with listing in Ingram’s catalog will allow Blurb authors to encourage their local physical bookstores to stock their titles.

Blurb is also offering its users the ability to easily convert a word doc into a .mobi file for readable on Kindle devices. The service is in Beta and is free for now, though Gittins said they will eventually charge for it. “We’re just looking for feedback,” she said. Blurb is also planning to relaunch its website sometime in October, Gittins said, adding new functionality including online calculators that Blurb authors can use to figure which trim sizes and discounts offer the best profit margins for their books.

“Authors, like artists, want two things: Control over their product and process, and fair compensation for their work,” Gittins said. “The elements are now all in place for independent authors to design, market and sell their digital and print books—at a healthy margin—via global distribution to booksellers both online and at retail. It’s a happy day for both Blurb authors and Blurb employees too; delivering this extensive a range of offerings is a big deal for everyone.”