I found a curious email sent to my business email account, which is different from my author email account, about a new self-publishing ebook platform called eBookPlus. Their business model: Free ebooks with advertising at the start of every chapter.
My initial reaction was: FREE eBooks + Advertisements = SPAM!
The email, however, didn’t land in my spam filter, being sent out by a professional marketing company with a clear reputation to skate by any spam filter.
I started looking into eBookPlus and liked what I saw. This tag line in particular drew my attention:
Did you know that free ebooks are accessed a hundred times more often than ebooks priced at 99 cents?
My business model is SHORT ebooks (i.e., short stories and essays) aimed at the impulsive buyer looking for a short-term reading fix under a buck. From my sales numbers over the last six months, my FREE ebooks are flying off the virtual bookshelves. Not in the hundreds, but in the thousands.
Being a new ebook retailer, eBookPlus is looking for users and content to beta test their platform. The classic chicken-and-egg problem for startups: you can’t attract new users without content, or attract new content without users. You need both to avoid having an empty platform.
There are four account types when you sign up, each with a different focus.
- The reader account doesn’t have much to read at the moment except for a one-page sample ebook that demonstrates the web interface, which looks like a lite version of the Amazon cloud reader.
- The author account allows you to upload your ebook in various formats (i.e., EPUB, DocX, PDF and HTML).
- The advertiser account is for those who want to advertise their stuff while readers are reading your ebooks.
- The artist/book professional account are for illustrators, photographers, translators, audiobook narrator, editors and designers who want to offer their services to ebooks made available by authors.
When eBookPlus is ready to open the floodgates, readers will get a notification email that the FREE ebooks are available and where to download the mobile apps.
Being able to find a translator to translate my short stories into a foreign language might be the most useful part of eBookPlus. You hire a translator to translate the ebook and another translator to check the translation, splitting future ad revenues or paying a flat fee. I hope this service will allow the translated ebook for publication elsewhere besides eBookPlus.
I’m going to upload all my FREE ebooks to see how this works. I might upload my PAID ebooks later, which are available at an advertiser-supported discount or full price at a 70% royalty rate. When the ebooks are available on eBookPlus, I’ll be adding another sales link to the ebook pages on my author website.
This is becoming a new trend where I make my work available to help establish a new market for everyone else, like Plan B Magazine from a few weeks ago. The more choices readers and indie authors have, the more everyone benefits.