Borders, You Should Be Ashamed

So I read the announcement about Borders partnering with Bookbrewer a while back and have been saving my commentary on it for a day when I didn’t have anything else I wanted to talk about.

The short version, I think Borders should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

Now if they had rolled out BookBrewer as true competition for Amazon’s Digital Text Platform or even Barnes and Nobles currently issue-ridden Pubit!, I’d have been jumping for joy.  Another outlet for my ebooks as an indie author.

But that’s not what they did.  You see unlike DTP and Pubit, BookBrewer is not free.

It sounds all good:

Using BookBrewer technology. Borders new “Get Published” service allows you to either copy and paste content from a manuscript in Word or PDF, or import content from your blog. We give you the tools to edit your content, add images and arrange it into chapters. Click a few buttons, and congratulations… you’re an eBook author!

There no obligation to purchase anything, and no charge to register and build your book. So what are you waiting for?

But here’s the clincher:

When you’re ready to publish to Borders, Kobo Books, Amazon.com, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble, simply purchase one of our self-publishing packages. We’ll assign an ISBN to your book and distribute it to the online booksellers… and YOU retain all rights to your hard work. (Emphasis mine)

I’m sorry, what? Are you suddenly a vanity press?  They aren’t even doing the layout for you, which would at least be providing a service of some kind.

And here they are all proud that they are offering a way into Kobo, Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.  Why on EARTH would anybody PAY THEM to do this when they can get into all of those places for FREE, either directly or via Smashwords, and be able to keep a higher chunk of royalties?

As far as I’m concerned, it’s out there to prey on uninformed indie authors who haven’t done their research.  And maybe some people would say that those authors deserve it for not doing the research, but I still think it’s deplorable.

So if you’re new to the indie publishing thing, here’s what you need to know about this in a nutshell:

  • To get on Amazon, you go through their Digital Text Platform.  For free.
  • To get on Barnes and Noble, you go through their Pubit! system.  For free.
  • To get into Kobo, iBooks, AND Diesel E-books and Sony, you go through Smashwords.  For free.

Don’t waste your money on BookBrewer.  Save it for a professionally designed book cover.

7 thoughts on “Borders, You Should Be Ashamed

  1. Wow, seriously? “Self-publishing packages”. If they were just charging a small listing fee, I’d be fine with it. Even E-bay has a listing fee. And I’m pretty sure at some point PubIt and DTP will have some kind of reasonable per-book listing fee. Either a one-time fee, or annual. But publishing packages cross the line, IMO.

  2. There are lot of new authors who won’t know better, just like I didn’t know better than to use Xlibris for my first novel. 🙁 I agree…they should be ashamed.

  3. The fact is that Amazon and now Barnes & Noble are taking advantage of the opportunity to work with -AND- make money from great indie author like Zoe, HP Mallory, Amanda Hocking… Each of them has to have made a lot more money for those companies than what Borders is charging for their “service.” Hell, most the the indies I hang with probably have.

    Borders has taken their time getting their ebook store at all, going through Kobo to do it–and then not listing the indie reads that Kobo has via Smashwords–even though BordersAU has them. We all keep hearing about how the book business is suffering, bookstores are closing, etc, but when you see stuff like this, businesses seeming to purposely ignore what’s going on and what’s working in their own industry, it’s really hard to feel sorry for these people. Wouldn’t mind hearing their side of why they think this is cool, in a way that’s not insulting to our intelligence.

    • Sorry, another comment because I forgot to click the notify follow-up box!

    • Borders went through Kobo? I didn’t realize that my books were on Borders AU until I just now looked, LOL. I don’t know why Borders can’t be smart and do this the same way B&N and Amazon are doing it. They would definitely make money. As it is now, the authors that are doing well, like the ones you mentioned, are just going to laugh at Borders and say “No, thanks!”. And that’s Borders’ loss.

      • What I know is that Borders US ebook store is powered by Kobo, that my book is at Borders AU, and I didn’t put it there myself. The rest is just my assumption.

        And yeah. Even if they were asking a hefty fee to get into their store, it would be obnoxious and dumb, but less insulting than the program K mentioned which just seems smarmy.

  4. Well, there’s a line in the book Everything is Miscellaneous. The solution to the problem of too much information is more information. That sums this up pretty well.

    Those of us in the know might not use the Borders’ service. But not everyone’s in the know.

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