Tag Archives: normal family

One Small Publisher’s Experiences with the Espresso Book Machine from On-Demand Books

The following blog post first appeared on the Teleread Website:

As a small publisher of literary fiction, I am very grateful to have a retail resource like Espresso On-Demand Books.

Publerati will have three titles available through the Espresso Book Machine Network this spring, and although there are a number of unique challenges to marketing and selling books this way in the current retail climate, I remain optimistic that this, or something similar to follow, will be an important part of future print book distribution. The three available titles are Normal Family by Don Trowden, Dancing in the Kitchen by Susan Sterling, and Thanksgiving by Ellen Cooney.

The first thing one has to accept is the eventual disappearance of most standalone bookstores.  Ouch.  I know, that hurts, and as a former bookseller myself I wish it were not so, but all the trends of the past ten years in book and other retailing (e.g., music, software, photos, DVD movies, florists, post offices) point to this reality.

In a future world where only the bestsellers and illustrated books are preprinted and sold mostly not through bookstores but in mass market channels like Target, supermarkets, and Amazon, how will the rest of the industry’s titles make it into print? How many standalone classes of retail trade can you think of in this day and age of the “huge general store”?  Why should books be any different and deserve their own dedicated space in the era of the store-within-store?

I wonder how Big Publishing will distribute the needed quantities of preprinted books when Barnes & Noble is gone. B&N is already barely surviving due to selling more non-book items, while quietly closing underperforming stores, so this trend is established. These trends don’t just simply turn around and change direction suddenly because we hope they will. The only way B&N might survive is to become a general store themselves, with less merchandising space given to lower margin books. Which is what they have been doing and so have indie bookstores. For years.

My experience with On-Demand Books has been excellent.  I received the necessary advance training to learn how to format and upload our titles correctly. Because the machines are so groundbreaking and mostly under-utilized in these early days, the operators at the various locations have been open to hearing from me as a small publisher and working together on store signings and promotions. There is no way I would get similar attention from the current physical book channels.

As a publisher, this changes how books are discovered in a similar way to ebooks.  I don’t have the opportunity for “stumble-and-find” retail book browsing, which I know is very important.  So I have to direct market to my own list of ebook purchasers and opt-in newsletter subscribers  the news that they can now go anywhere in the world where an Espresso Book Machine exists and request a printed copy.

I believe in the digital-first, print-second approach for the future of most entertainment content. Pay less for a digital copy and then only buy a print edition if you want to own it. You know…hold it. Sleep with it. MP3, vinyl. Whatever you’re into.

For Publerati, having all our literary fiction titles available through the most popular ebook channels and then also in print at retail via Espresso On-Demand,  constitutes a new business model I can believe in for the future. And one great benefit of this new efficiency is we can pay our authors the bulk of the royalties while also donating to literacy charities like Worldreader.

— Caleb Mason

Publerati 100% Publisher Donation Program for the Holidays

I’m pleased to announce that once again this holiday season Publerati will donate 100% of our publisher proceeds to the Worldreader Organization for sales made of our two holiday-themed titles: Thanksgiving by Ellen Cooney and Normal Family by Don Trowden.

Last year we offered an incentive to readers and were able to send $500 to the Worldreader Organization, which was doubled though a matching program then in effect.  As a small publisher, we realize our impact is unlikely to be huge, but remain committed to encouraging people at the grassroots level to read new fiction from excellent authors and to do so in part knowing they are helping spread literacy.

The novel Thanksgiving follows one family of progressive women across 350 years in the same home in New England.  In a series of beautifully written November vignettes, we come to see the common threads that bind the generations together as American history unfolds behind the scenes.  From the author of the Mountaintop School for Dogs.

Normal Family also involves one family, but is set over a single year of outlandish holidays within an eccentric family in decline. The first in a planned trilogy, this novel features a witty voice where humor masks pain as the family is forever transformed over four consecutive holidays.

Publerati will donate the entirety of our publisher’s share to the Worldreader Organization for these two titles sold between October 29 and December 25, 2014.  Worldreader is proving how increased access to ebooks in remote regions of the world is changing the lives of students and teachers.

Please consider the other terrific titles on our small list in supporting all our authors. We donate no less than 15% of our publisher proceeds to Worldreader on an ongoing basis and each title has been carefully selected and edited to provide a range of styles. Our ebooks are priced at $4.99 and are available through most popular resellers, and some are also available as print-on-demand paperbacks through the Espresso Book Network.

Please share this with family and friends to help us make the largest possible difference.  Let’s try and at least double the amount we donated to Worldreader from last year. Happy holidays and remember…Good Works.

Summer Tidbits from Publerati…

Here are a few items of interest to avid book readers:

1)  Ellen Cooney, author of the Publerati novel Thanksgiving, has a wonderful new novel coming on August 5th titled The Mountaintop School for Dogs, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Ask for it when you are browsing your neighborhood bookstore.  And please read Thanksgiving if you haven’t already, available in all ebook formats and as an on-demand paperback  from the Espresso Book Machine (locations worldwide).

2) Jane Smiley has a new novel called Some Luck, which I plan to read soon, although I am deep into our slush pile and behind on my own reading and editing at the moment following a bout with Lyme Disease.

3)  The Publerati novel Normal Family by Don Trowden was brilliantly excerpted in a recent Ohio newspaper review. It is always great when a reviewer takes the time to share some of the better language found in a novel. One we especially like is when the drunk grandfather, who has just been pulled from the river after submerging the rest of the family on a perilous fishing outing going nowhere, refuses Coast Guard help and marches off in his soaked woolens. He is 6’8″ and a Falstaffian character who was once a famous author and explorer. The young protagonist sees this as: “Grandpa swerved up the lawn like Frankenstein in search of unsuspecting villagers.” This novel contains many similar examples of original and amusing language.

— Caleb